Sometimes, some of the best things in life aren’t made to last. Perhaps it’s the transience of a situation that makes it all the more special — the knowledge that the moment is fleeting, a once-off experience only to revisit in your fondest memories.
When it comes to these kinds of experiences, the new Glory private dining experience at Riva Townhouse is certainly one for the books — at least for a short while.
Following a successful pop-up at Brik Café in September, Glory’s latest residency is all about indulging in the delicious Asian flavours Nick Scott executes so brilliantly in a beautiful setting.
The luxury boutique B&B in Riverclub, Sandton, is a perfect oasis for the Glory team to call home for the next few weeks. If you arrive a little early for service you can while away in the garden next to the pool, the sound of water restoring the rest and peace we so often relinquish during a busy work week.
From the hand-picked art pieces, plush sofas and melt-into-me cushions to the candle-lit dinner tables catering to all group sizes — it’s a setting that invites you to relax.
But it’s the food that is the real star of the show. Updated and changed weekly, Scott prefers to keep the menu a surprise, dishing out a few details of main ingredients as the small plates arrive at your table.
And even if you do know that the first course is a seasonal pickles rice-paper roll, you won’t be guessing Scott’s recipe any time soon. The cacophony of flavours — some bold, some subtle — is enough to leave you speechless, savouring every bite and leaving even the most seasoned palate piecing together a most interesting flavour profile.
Moving on to the second course, Scott’s only description as he placed a small plate with baby taco shells before me was “sashimi and cerviche”, two words that made my heart melt and the contents of which made my taste buds sing — a sensation that revived itself with the bao and prawn tempura that followed.
If Scott asks you if you’re ready for dessert or have the capacity to sample one last savoury dish, opt for the latter. The four courses, plus dessert course of a lovely pear miso tarte tatin, make for a satisfying dinner but it would be a crime to miss out on the sour chilli mussels in a turmeric and lemongrass coconut broth. When I awoke the next morning, I could still taste its lingering flavour.
What is perhaps the most surprising is the source of the fresh produce being used in each dish coming from the kitchen. As Scott explains, the menu is not seasonal or regional; all the ingredients he has used to design his pan-Asian tasting menu are produced using an aquaponics farming model that he first tried out during Glory’s residency at Brik.
It is a sustainable, bio-diverse way of farming fish and plants together, which accounts for the exclusively pescatarian and vegetarian menu.
WHERE: Riva Townhouse, Riverclub, Sandton, Johannesburg.
WHEN: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6pm-9pm, until end October.
PRICE: Five-course set menu R350 (with the option of an additional plate of seared trout fillet or steamed mussels for R160).
TO BOOK: Booking is essential as seating is limited to 30 people per evening. Phone or WhatsApp 063-766-1238.