Johannesburg used to do posh dining quite well. Even, at times, brilliantly. The Three Ships in the Carlton Centre was the zenith of the city’s fine dining moment, and the closure of the Linger Longer in Sandton was somehow its death-knell.
The few restaurants and hotels attempting to wave this flag over the last decade or so (with a few exceptions) have been at best not-absolutely-terrible. From farcical retro-European and clumsy molecular mimicry to disrespectful Afro-disney fusion, it’s all gone depressingly wrong.
Do not despair though: if you’re looking for a place which fits the haute bill (and at the same time honours rather than insults African food), then Belgian-Burundian chef Coco Reinarhz’s newest venture, Epicure, in Sandton-Morningside is your place.
Hidden inside a swanky – but bland from the outside - apartment building, down the drag from Benmore Shopping Centre, the space is a great surprise. Epicure is super-glamorous. A lavish bar and sumptuous but not OTT dining room, decked out in blue and gold, lead onto an expansive covered outside area set in a walled garden (there’s lots of grass for running, and children are very welcome – it’s glam but not uptight or formal). Sitting outside you have the distinct feeling that you’re somewhere else entirely.