I’ve frequented the 7th Sense Restaurant before, but this visit was unlike any other as the restaurant recently underwent a contemporary facelift. A charming waiter guided me to a corner table with a breathtaking aerial view of Kabulonga, undoubtedly the best seat in the house as the purple blossoms of the jacaranda trees were in full bloom and I gazed over them while I waited for my waiter to return.
As I absorbed the ambience, I couldn’t miss the restaurant’s recent enhancements. The vibrant chartreuse and ultramarine colour scheme, coupled with lush greenery, paid homage to the fresh ingredients in their new menu.
The new menu, crafted by Executive Chef Reuben Daniels, presents a diverse range of dishes within each course, catering to even the most discerning palate. It prioritises simplicity, emphasising rich flavours and infusing a local twist into the restaurant’s modern classics. Each dish’s essence shines through with thoughtfully selected, minimal ingredients.
Executive Chef Reuben Daniels, hailing from Cape Town, began his culinary journey at eight, lighting his grandmother’s stove with chopped wood. He absorbed her culinary wisdom, preparing his first boerewors meal at age 13 under her guidance. For Chef Reuben, food is more than sustenance; it’s a cherished family tradition and a source of bonding. As he puts it, “Every gathering unveils tales of yesteryears and births new stories for the next.”
Chef Reuben’s quest for culinary excellence led him to Johannesburg, a city he initially perceived as driven by materialism, lacking depth and soul. However, it was in Johannesburg that he met his wife, who became a significant source of inspiration throughout his career. They have spent many late nights researching recipes, experimenting with ingredients, and exploring the culinary world, often transforming their living room into a hub of cookbooks and culinary experiments.
My culinary journey commenced with warm, fluffy sesame bread rolls that filled the air with the comforting scent of freshly baked bread as I tore them apart. These springy rolls delighted both body and soul, served alongside artisanal sides: rape pesto, homemade tomato preserve, and slow-cooked impwa ketchup. The pesto’s herbs balanced the richness of the parmesan cheese, and the impwa ketchup’s pungency harmonised with the tangy sweetness of the spiced tomato preserve, tantalising my taste buds for the starter.
I found my happy place when a generous portion of sweet and spicy chicken wings arrived. These crispy yet juicy wings were infused with timeless Asian flavours like soy sauce, miso, and sesame. They sat atop fresh greens and were adorned with creamy butternut puree, offering a soothing contrast to the spice.
The food at 7th Sense combines local authenticity with finesse, exemplified by the succulent beef fillet and truffle-infused mashed potatoes in the main course. It’s served with steamed vegetables and a creative twist on a local staple: nshima fries. These nshima fries feature a parmesan cheese crust and are deep-fried to perfection, yielding a golden-brown, crispy exterior and a rich, savoury flavour. The truffle-infused mash offers a sophisticated take on the classic recipe with its deep, earthy flavour.
The in-house sommelier recommended Bonfire Hill’s Extreme Vineyards Red to complement my meal. The notes of red summer fruits, warm Indian spice and toasty oak emphasised the rich flavours of the expertly seared steak.
Dessert arrived in the form of a decadent chocolate terrine topped with strawberry compote and crumbled chocolate brownie. Creamy vanilla ice cream and toasted pistachio nuts completed the ensemble. The sommelier suggested pairing this sweet indulgence with Rickety Bridge Noble Late Harvest 2022, boasting aromatic hints of apricot and peach.
My visit to 7th Sense was a memorable culinary adventure, blending innovation and local authenticity to create a dining experience that resonated with both heart and palate. Chef Reuben’s vision of simplicity and emphasis on quality ingredients shines through every meticulously prepared dish, making this the beginning of many more visits.
COME ONE, COME ALL
The 7th Sense Restaurant is open to guests, 7 days a week, from 7am to 10pm, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A WORLD OF FLAVOUR
The restaurant hosts several intimate, themed dining experiences, the favourite being the Brazilian Churrasco, an all-you-can-eat dining experience with table-side service and a chance to interact with the Chef’s brigade.
EXCLUSIVE WINE LIST
7th Sense Restaurant offers a heightened fine dining experience with in-house sommelier Kagiso Monageng. They curate fine wines from various regions, including Spain, France, South Africa and Italy. Their current collection is expected to exceed 100 by the end of 2023. In 2024, patrons can expect to be delighted by carefully selected wines from smaller vineyards focusing on their craft. The restaurant offers an intimate chef and sommelier food and wine pairing experience; these packages are tailor-made.
COOKING FOR THE CONTINENT
Chef Reuben’s passion has made him a household name among several dignitaries, including the King of Malawi and the former President of Congo-Brazzaville. On his journey to Executive Chef at 7th Sense, he has cooked alongside iconic celebrity chefs Reuben Riffel, Richard Carstens and Ralph van Pletzen.
Images Courtesy of 7th Sense Restaurant