DECO EATS

David Higgs’ new Sand­ton restau­rant Saint is a sin­fully in­tox­i­cat­ing blend of so­phis­ti­cated decor, down-to-earth food and a dash of spec­ta­cle

Elle Decoration (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Text & pro­duc­tion FIONA DAVERN Pho­to­graphs ANNALIZE NEL

Dis­cover David Higgs’ new Jo­han­nes­burg restau­rant Saint

Saint is no ev­ery­day eatery. Hostesses are clothed in David Tlale cre­ations, cus­tom Ste­fano Fer­rara pizza ovens fire up the kitchen and im­ages from the Sis­tine Chapel, among oth­ers, are mapped via 4-D pro­jec­tion onto a vaulted ceil­ing. This drama ex­tends to the re­strooms, where basins take the form of sup­pli­cant hands sculpted by Damien Gri­vas.

Chef and restau­ra­teur David Higgs and his busi­ness part­ner Gary Kyr­i­a­cou found the in­spi­ra­tion for Saint in a Man­hat­tan hotspot in New York City. ‘When Alexan­der Wang walked in with a troop of mod­els and started or­der­ing pizza and Cham­pagne, we knew this was a com­bi­na­tion we wanted to bring home with us,’ says Higgs. ‘Es­sen­tially, Saint’s all about the en­ergy that a beau­ti­ful room and sim­ple food bring. It’s not pon­cey and hushed – it’s ex­pres­sive and unas­sum­ing.’

In­te­rior de­signer Irene Kyr­i­a­cou worked closely with Red­deco de­sign stu­dio to create a space with a dis­tinct Ital­ian in­flu­ence that in­cor­po­rates a play on the Re­nais­sance, and Mid-Cen­tury Mod­ern and mytho­log­i­cal el­e­ments. ‘The chal­lenge was find­ing the per­fect bal­ance when merg­ing such strong styles,’ she says. ‘I wanted to in­clude ref­er­ences that told a story. The best way for­ward was to go large, with pieces like the de­con­structed-sculp­ture bar pan­els.’

Sur­rounded by ho­tels, banks, law firms and the JSE, Saint caters for peo­ple on the move. In­cluded on the menu are light pasta, risotto and gnoc­chi dishes, as well as grills, sal­ads and desserts. The wood-fired Grill­works adds a smoky flavour and crisp tex­ture to veg­eta­bles, fish and meats be­fore they’re added to other dishes like pas­tas. But the main fo­cus is the Neapoli­tan pizza, cour­tesy of Head Chef Matt van Niek­erk and Chef de Par­tie Tyler Clay­ton, who went to Mi­lan, Italy, to learn from pizza mas­ters Gen­naro Rapido and

Gino Sor­billo. ‘Stan­dard and con­sis­tency are key,’ says Higgs. ‘If a pizza isn’t the right size and shape, has too much sauce or there isn’t a sim­plic­ity and bal­ance of flavour, it doesn’t make the serve.

‘I re­ally want to push the team to be cre­ative,’ he adds, ‘so you’ll also see mains like oc­to­pus casse­role with chorizo, bean, kale and gar­lic.’ The hap­pi­est part of his day? ‘See­ing the con­fi­dence of the young chefs grow­ing. And tast­ing the first pizza of the day.’

The MARC Build­ing, 129 Rivo­nia Rd, Sand­ton 010 594 5888 saint.restau­rant @sain­t_jhb

BU­RATTA WITH SAL­S­IC­CIA AND OR­ANGE Serves 2

• 100g bu­ratta ball • 100g sal­s­ic­cia • salt and pep­per, to taste • ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil • 3 or­ange seg­ments • 5g pump­kin seeds • pinch co­rian­der seeds • pars­ley • or­ange zest, to taste

Re­move bu­ratta from fridge an hour be­fore serv­ing. Crisp the sal­s­ic­cia in a pan with a touch of olive oil and sea­son with salt and pep­per. Place the bu­ratta on a plate for serv­ing and top with the hot sausage and oil. Ar­range the or­ange seg­ments, sprin­kle with pump­kin seeds and dust with salt, black pep­per, co­rian­der seeds and pars­ley. Fin­ish with fresh or­ange zest, to taste.

Es­sen­tially, Saint’s all about the en­ergy that a beau­ti­ful room and sim­ple food bring. It’s not pon­cey and hushed – it’s ex­pres­sive and unas­sum­ing

this spread A be­spoke, hand­wo­ven ta­pes­try hangs be­hind the re­cep­tion desk at Saint. Fea­tur­ing a cen­taur, African an­gel and cu­pid, this mytho­log­i­cal piece was de­signed by Sarita Im­mel­man at Grid. ‘It rep­re­sentsSaint per­fectly,’ says in­te­rior de­signer Irene Kyr­i­a­cou. ‘It has a bit of ev­ery­thing… whim­si­cal won­der, lo­cal flavour and in­ter­na­tional flair.’

this spread (from left) Chef and co-owner David Higgs in the bar, where the chairs are by Thabiso Mjo of Mash T De­sign Stu­dio and the de­con­structed sculp­ture be­hind the bar is by Damian Gri­vas; the 1 000m2 restau­rant seats ap­prox­i­mately 230 peo­ple and fea­tures a vaulted ceil­ing where mov­ing art is cre­ated by four 4-D pro­jec­tors. The ce­ramic façades on the pass are by Rial­heim and mir­ror the tiled roofs of old Italy; pendants by Flos il­lu­mi­nate the blush­ing shades of the ce­ment wall tiles by Wolk­berg. ‘The soft ter­ra­cotta tiles are the el­e­ment I used to guide me when se­lect­ing the other decor pieces,’ says Kyr­i­a­cou, who worked with a num­ber of fur­ni­ture de­sign­ers, in­clud­ing David Kry­nauw and Guide­line.

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