Basalt interior.
Basalt interior.
Image: Dook

Chef Frederico Dias, a born and raised Joburg boy, returns to his home-town having worked in top restaurants around the world - from Lisbon to Mexico; including, most recently, a stint as head chef at Cape Town’s renowned The Pot Luck Club.

Situated in the original heritage house of Melrose’s trendy The Peech Boutique Hotel, the 38 seater eatery has been fitted in shades of grey with a bar, stretching the back of the space, inset with shards of black stones; it’s from these dark hues and mineral elements that Basalt gets its moniker - named after the dark volcanic rock - it evokes a sense of strength and distinction, masculine yet refined.

Dias has coined the food as global contemporary cuisine, “it’s inspired by my travels, my background and explorations” he says. This world-wide referencing sees him draw heavily on his current fascination with Mexican and Asian cuisine while paying homage to his Portuguese heritage and classic French training and technique, without limiting where he can go next, for Freddie ( as he’s casually known) it’s all about inspiration.

Tuna Tataki with habanero salsa, avocado purée, charred corn and red onion.
Tuna Tataki with habanero salsa, avocado purée, charred corn and red onion.
Image: Annalize Nel

Diners can expect the likes of pork belly, slow cooked for hours, marinated in a Mexican spice paste of burnt chillis and spices called Black Ricado, served with a gorgeous almond mole and charred white asparagus. The tuna tataki arrives with a gooseberry and habanera salsa, while the linefish, always fresh, is served with roasted cauliflower, coriander chutney, burnt curry leaf and lime butter. It’s light, simple. restrained cooking backed by seriously solid technique. There’s a definite focus on sourcing local produce and an awareness around ethical eating, once he’s found his feet, he hopes to start incorporating more plant based dishes to the menu too. However, the main focus is simply on serving “really amazing food”.

While Dias oversees the kitchen, Maître D, Lyle Scott will run the front of house operations - a worthy choice considering his prior work experience at top Joburg institutions. Together with James Peech, the owner of The Peech, the two hope to deliver a new and exciting offering to Joburg’s culinary landscape.

Basalt is open for dinner five nights a week (Tues to Sat). For reservations and more information contact The Peech Boutique Hotel on (011) 537 9797, email basalt@thepeech.co.za or visit www.thepeech.co.za

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