After the highly successful pop-up restaurant, “Luke Dale-Roberts at the Saxon” reopened at the beginning of May to astounding success. A complete décor overhaul to reflect the food and dining experience Luke Dale Roberts of The Test Kitchen fame wanted to create in the Joburg setting, the restaurant has already become a firm favourite for local gourmet aficionados.
Luke says: “Luke Dale-Roberts at the Saxon” has been extremely well received, I'm so proud about what we've achieved in a relatively short time. It's an engaging, immersive experience and Joburgers are loving it – and the team and I are having a great time too!”
He works closely with head chef Candice Philip who heads up the team at the Saxon, and Luke is on site every few weeks to cook, experiment and refine dishes.
“The team at the Saxon is strong, and I'm looking forward to growing and evolving the menu with Candice,” Luke adds.
“We've already added a new appetiser list to the menu,” Luke says. Some of the highlights are shiitake jelly with smoked chestnuts, which perfectly echoes the autumn season. “Then I've done a chawanmushi with quail and sweetcorn. The delicate flavours of the ingredients are perfect for the Japanese egg custard dish,” he adds.
Diners can expect a nod to The Test Kitchen in Woodstock with Luke's signature concrete ball. But at “Luke Dale-Roberts at the Saxon” they'll experience heavenly wagyu beef grilled over coals in the ball right at the table, adding a bit of flair and drama to the dining experience. Another new addition to the menu is a delectable rice pudding and quince dessert, which the pastry chef and Luke recently refined.
In charge of the revamped look at Luke Dale-Roberts at the Saxon is Luke's wife, Sandalene. The new space has a wonderful feeling of richness yet still remains firmly rooted in its Joburg setting.
“I tried to create an Orient-Express feel of opulence,” Sandalene explains, “with wood-panelled walls, blue tones and lots of brass touches it reflects the grandeur that is fitting for a Joburg setting.” By using pandoma on the walls, there is a textured visual element and the purplish grey tone brings a sophisticated feeling to the space. “The dining area is also now light and bright, ensuring the dining experience is not too rigid” she adds.
Sandalene commissioned South African artist Shaune Rogatschnig to do 22 botanical drawings in oil and pen on paper, reflecting not only the stunning garden that the Saxon is known for, but again rooting the space in its South African setting, creating an authentic and slightly whimsical feel.
For Luke, the space has “a refined feeling, that's bright and open. The energy not only in the kitchen but in the dining space is vibrant.”
“Luke Dale-Roberts at the Saxon” is open for dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Bookings are essential. The seven-course tasting menu is currently priced at R1 330 for 7-courses (which includes two appetisers) or R2 100 with wine or tea pairing.
For reservations, call (011) 292 6000 or email to email@example.com.