REVIEW: dw eleven - 13 raises the bar once again
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]