The Dunkeld West Shopping Centre is a very unassuming centre, so you’ll be excused for not knowing that one of Joburg’s finest restaurants, one that made it onto the World’s 50 Best Restaurants on Diner’s Club’s regional list, is secreted behind by the parking lot. Now, please don’t let that turn you off – by no means will you be plonked at a table with views of cars trying to get into parking bays.
At the helm is one of SA’s best chefs, Marthinus Ferreira. You might recognise him as one of the original judges on Ultimate Braai Master, a cooking reality show with fellow chefs and co-judges Justin Bonello and Bertus Basson.
Marthinus’s love of food is evident in his menu, described as ‘experimental cuisine’ with interesting twists on familiar dishes. The menu is updated regularly, showcasing seasonal ingredients and sustainable produce that’s sourced locally.
Now be warned, this is not the type of place you go for a one-dish dinner. Nope. This is a languid, multi-course affair, complete with impeccable wine and a cognac to finish it off (if that’s your thing). And for the plant lovers out there, DW Eleven-13 also offers a four-course vegetarian menu.
When we were there, standout dishes included the seared salmon raita with curry espuma, apricot gel, apple, crispy salmon skin, tuile de pain (translated verbatim: tile bread) and salmon roe; and the smoked potato dumplings with fondue sauce, braised cabbage, raisin gel, walnuts, celery-roasted quail, poached quail egg, mushroom purée and sherry velouté (white sauce). If you’re a venison fan, and it’s still on the menu when you go there, try the dukkah-spiced impala with pear atchar, parsnip purée, charred leeks and cinnamon jus.
For dessert, we could choose between apple crumble with caramelised apples, spiced crumble, green apple sorbet, custard sphere and candied pistachio; the hay ice cream with beer caramel, pear purée, phyllo shard, bee pollen and hay ash; the sweet potato cake served with maple ice cream, sweet potato mousse, orange gel, caramelised walnuts and spiced brandy syrup or the 24-month-aged Van Gaalen Gouda with pralines, hazelnuts, espresso custard and pickled onions.
You’re guaranteed outstanding food and service, so save DW Eleven-13 for a special occasion when you can relish the evening and linger.