Finally, we get to appreciate Reuben’s art in Sandton
Celebrity chef Reuben Riffel treks north to open his first eatery outside the Western Cape
Joburgers no longer need fret about the Western Cape monopolising all the best restaurants and chefs because Reuben Riffel finally has a restaurant in the city. The eatery at the Capital Moloko Hotel in Sandton opened on August 1.Many know Riffel as the season three judge on MasterChef South Africa. And unless you have been lucky enough to eat at one of his restaurants in the Western Cape, the closest you might have come to tasting his creations is salivating over them during the Robertson’s Masterclass adverts.
Reuben and his partner, Maryke, were looking for opportunities to grow their business in Johannesburg when the Capital Hotel group approached them to open a new restaurant – and Reuben’s Sandton was born.The Riffels promote their establishments as “down to earth (but) with a sophisticated culinary style that celebrates food”. The menus, which change with the seasons, are always rooted in SA, with Asian and Cape Malay influences. This can be seen in dishes such as the chilli salted squid, the Saldanha Bay mussels and the chicken curry.
And if you are impressed by a fusion of high and low cuisine in a single dish, the Parmesan-truffle fries are sublime.Although all the couples’ restaurants have the same menus, and even similar interior colour schemes, differences can be found in the décor.
“Franschhoek is my home town,” explains Reuben, “so, for example, there is a large portrait of my grandfather in the restaurant, whereas in Sandton we have added the Joburg skyline to the interior.”Being a restaurateur is never easy but, according to Maryke, the couple’s hard work, along with balancing clientele wants with fare that is worth the price, have been the secret ingredients to their success.
You would think that with Reuben’s Sandton having just opened, the celebrity chef would need some downtime before embarking on his next project, but not Riffel. He is planning to open a new restaurant in the next two months, although that will also be in the Western Cape, close to Franschhoek.