Chicken, prune, lettuce, jus and gras. Picture: Supplied
Chicken, prune, lettuce, jus and gras. Picture: Supplied

REVIEW: dw eleven - 13 raises the bar once again

By Lebohang Mosia Time of article published Sep 10, 2019

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Since its inception in 2009, dw eleven – 13 has proudly offered experimental cuisine to fine diners in Johannesburg. 

High-profile restaurants often close their doors for good. It’s a big achievement when restaurants in Johannesburg, or any location, make it through a year or two – let alone 10. And that's exactly what dw eleven – 13 has done. 

From a comparatively modest start by fine dining standards – with just three chefs and a manager in 2009 – the restaurant now operates with eleven chefs, three managers, two sommeliers, a maître d' and seven waiters. 

Cured Linefish with curry pickle, mint, coriander, buttermilk raita, cucumber and tempura. Picture: Supplied

Their roast chicken and mash was a fan-favourite in 2009. Today, their offering has developed with a four-course menu and an eight-course tasting menu, with the dishes being paired with either wine, Japanese and Scotch whiskey or non-alcoholic cocktails. 

The menu has a beautiful selection of boutique wines - some international, some local and some very rare varietals. The whisky pairing features extraordinary finds from all corners of the globe - think Eigashima Shuzo White Wine Cask #61091. Delightful bursts of flavour await those opting for the non-alcoholic pairing, with cocktails and stimulating blends of exotic fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Gnocchi, spinach, seeds, raisins, capers and Karoo crumble paired with 2018 alheit vineyards 'cartology' (chenin blanc) or ancnoc 'peatheart' whisky or Tuscan fresco. Picture supplied.

A contemporary and unexpected twist on Cape Malay pickled fish is featured on both the four-course menu and the tasting menu - and it's the star of the show. This cured Linefish with curry pickle, mint, coriander, buttermilk raita, cucumber and tempura is a far cry from the traditional fried fish dish, but it still creates a heightened sense of nostalgia. 

In the name of true provenance, the Linefish is thoughtfully procured by dw eleven – 13 via the sustainable fresh fish app, Abalobi. It is prepared with buttermilk rather than yoghurt, due to its higher acid content. With tempura adding a textural element, the dish is finished with fresh herbs and a hot Cape Malay-style curried oil.  

Goats cheese with guava, peppers and honeycomb paired with a 2017 keermont 'fleurfontein’, 18-year-old glendronach 'allardice' or grapefruit passion. Picture: Supplied

You have the option of pairing this with a 2016 Leeuwenkuil (Marsanne), which  is a lovely white blend with fragrant aromas of white blossom and ginger, ripe tropical fruit and vanilla. 

The whisky pairing features Eigashima Shuzo White Wine Cask #61091, a unique blend of sherry, brandy, bourbon, wine, in American oak and even ex-shochu barrels. The non-alcoholic pairing features a cocktail of cucumber and lime. The freshness cools down the curry and complements the flavours.

Dulce with blackcurrant, feuillantine and meringue. Picture: Supplied

Throughout the last 10 years, dw eleven – 13 has remained consistently excellent. This can be measured in a number of ways: Time on several restaurant award lists, both locally and abroad; exceptional service delivery from the "family" that is the establishment's enthusiastic team; and loyal diners – some of whom have chosen the venue for their proposals, anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions each and every year for a decade.

To make a reservation, call 011 341 0663 or send an email to [email protected]

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