Lacuna Bistro is no ordinary restaurant; it’s a sophisticated urban bistro overlooking a tranquil garden and featuring a trendy and regularly-evolving menu, designed by one of Johannesburg’s most acclaimed executive chefs, Justin Jonah. Doing more than pulling proverbial rabbits out of hats, Chef Justin has revamped Lacuna Bistro’s menu into something he describes as “decadent, signature and unforgettable”. All the dishes – even those that have been retained from the previous menu due to their popularity with guests – have been updated to reflect elements of Jonah’s individual style. One of the new, from-scratch creations is the Salmononvski, an inspiring composition of salmon, asparagus, cauliflower and lime.
Says Jonah of his inspiration for the dish: “Salmon has a natural decadence and richness. It lends itself to beautiful platings and takes me back to the early days of my career, working near the ocean. It is also one of my wife’s favourite dishes. I love the crispness of the flesh after it has been sealed on a skillet and rested in thyme butter. I also love the way lime cuts into the buttery rich salmon.”
Another interesting addition to the menu is the Mac & Cheese Waffle. This is American-style, buttermilk deep-fried chicken served with macaroni and cheese. “But, we’ve done it with a special twist by turning the macaroni and cheese into a waffle and smothering the whole dish with smoked chicken gravy,” explains Jonah. “It’s just layers of flavour and texture. We all know that the best part of macaroni and cheese is the crispy cheesy crust but there never seems to be enough. By turning the mac and cheese into a waffle, there’s just more crispy cheesy crust to enjoy!”
When asked which dish he would strongly recommend, he says, “The Wham Bham Thank You Lamb. There’s a lot of energy and love put into this dish. It’s wholesome and authentic to its origins. We cook the lamb over coals, Asado-style for eight hours and then pull it onto freshly-made cumin flatbread with chimichurri. It’s simply scrumptious.”
While the menu burgeons with exciting new additions, he’s also kept a few of Lacuna Bistro’s characteristic favourites, such as the chicken livers, which American actress Tichina Arnold could not get enough of while she was staying at The Maslow Sandton during a film shoot recently. “Our chicken livers are a firm favourite with guests. They are still a feature on the new menu but I have added buttery polenta to the dish, included a Portuguese roll and refined the peri-peri sauce. It is that wipe-the-pan-clean with a piece of bread type of sauce,” says Jonah. On the bar menu, he has retained some welcome familiars like fish and chips, burgers, and the chicken mayo sandwich to make guests feel comfortably ‘at home’. But these, he says, have also been given the unique Lacuna touch.
“You just can’t go wrong with fish and chips. Ours is based on the good, old-fashioned English fish and chips with our touch of modernism. We have re-engineered all our favourites to make them signature dishes at The Maslow Sandton.”
The new Lacuna Bistro menu also reflects The Maslow’s special emphasis on using fresh, local and sustainable produce. The salmon in Jonah’s Salmononvski is sustainably farmed, aligned with the hotel’s sustainable seafood promise. In fact, all fish and seafood on the menu are sourced from sustainable suppliers approved by the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI). “Many of the herbs, edible flowers and micro-shoots used in our dishes are grown right here, in The Maslow’s rooftop garden,” smiles Jonah.
Lacuna features various interconnected spaces, integrated with the outdoors. Enjoy sushi at the bar, a business lunch indoors, or afternoon sundowners on the veranda – the choice is yours. Lacuna Bistro is open daily for breakfast between 06h30 and 11h00, for lunch from 12h00 to 16h00 and for dinner between 18h00 and 22h30.
For more information or to book, contact Lacuna Bistro on firstname.lastname@example.org or 010 226 4652