Qunu Grill, The Saxon Hotel
‘Qunu, named after the birthplace of Nelson Mandela’
Fine dining foodies looking for a taste of the ultimate luxury in Johannesburg will undoubtedly have David Higgs’ Five Hundred at The Saxon on their wish lists. However, there is another indulgent restaurant at the hotel that should not be overlooked – Qunu is a special spot for divine steaks and classic menu items with a twist.
Qunu, named after the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, has plush, modern African décor in hues of black, white and red. Understated, but atmospheric, you can enjoy live, light jazz music at the restaurant while you tuck into the fine food and wine.
While the menu is not extensive, the options are enticing and quite diverse, with French and Asian flavours coming through in some of the dishes.
For starters, my dining partner enjoyed the Vietnamese-style prawn and vegetable spring rolls – a fresh, light and zesty combination of flavours.
I settled for the foie gras and duck liver pâté terrine, served with thick slices of toasted brioche, grilled peaches and a balsamic-peach reduction. A fantastic combination of tastes and textures, the tart sweetness of the peaches elevated the silky, rich pâté wonderfully.
The meat served at Qunu is free range and is sourced from Greenfields Farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. With this in mind, I chose the 250g rib-eye steak, which was served with creamed mashed potatoes, a mushroom sauce and topped with chunky, crispy onion rings.
The steak was cooked to perfection – a little charred on the outside and succulent, melt-in-the-mouth on the inside. The combination of the crunchy onion rings, perfectly cooked steak and mushroom sauce was divine – quite possibly the best steak I’ve had in Johannesburg.
My partner chose the roasted pork belly, served with curried watermelon, beetroot and sweet potato. The pork belly was deliciously crisp and the earthy flavours of the beetroot and sweet potato complemented the dish well. The curried watermelon was an interesting addition, adding vibrant sweetness to the dish.
With just a touch of space left for dessert, we opted for the classic Crêpe Suzette to share. An elegant, nostalgic dessert, served with a touch of culinary theatre, as the orange, lemon and cognac were flambéed at our table. The crêpes were thin and light and the sauce was absolutely moreish.
Not to be compared with the multiple-course, fine dining gastronomy of Five Hundred, Qunu is still a wonderful place for an elegant, special evening out where you can soak up the luxury of The Saxon in understated style.
A wonderful place for an elegant, special evening out