One of the most luxurious fine dining experiences available is at a sumptuous five star establishment in Johannesburg, South Africa. The gourmet fare is prepared by chef David Higgs at Five Hundred, located at the famous Saxon Hotel
Chef David Higgs has been offering customers unbelievable food experiences for more than a decade, both in Johannesburg and in Cape Town. Now firmly ensconced as head chef at the sumptuous Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, David provides guests with food that is quite sublime and extremely creative. He’s renowned for being a unique culinary talent, and has become known as one of the top chefs in South Africa.
What sets David apart from his competitors is that he doesn’t sit on his laurels. He constantly ups his game. Fine dining is a hard act to follow, and keeping up with the standard, and the acclaim, is no easy task. David does this without missing a beat. In addition, he insists on pairing his dishes with some of the best wine in the country, which elevates the meal to a true experience of flavor and great taste.
Fine dining at the Saxon has become a must-do experience when you visit South Africa. Those in the know refuse to visit without sampling David’s creations. The ultimate experience? Enjoying food that is prepared by this top chef and his team while you watch in the private dining room. Like a well-rehearsed orchestra under a famous conductor, the kitchen staff prepare magnificent creations, each more beautiful, and delicious than the last. The sommelier ensures that each taste sensation is heightened by an equally superb wine. This is Wonderland – all that’s missing is the White Rabbit!
Five Hundred at the Saxon has become synonymous with fine dining at its best. The restaurant space used to be a suite where President Nelson Mandela retired to write his biography, A Long Walk to Freedom. Entrance is by private lift. Five Hundred only seats a lucky 30 guests and the view, if you’re not sitting in the private dining room which overlooks the kitchen, is of the Saxon’s magnificent lush gardens.
Of course, being pandered to by David Higgs in the private dining room is the ultimate treat. The man is self-effacing, friendly, humble and extremely knowledgeable about his trade. It’s been said that his offering is equal to, if not better than, what you’ll experience at a top fine dining establishment anywhere in the world.
Watch David and his staff of five meticulously concoct dishes fit for royalty in the kitchen and you can understand what all the fuss is about. He is a master of his trade, each course a gastronomic dream, art on a plate. With a choice of butters to sample with freshly baked bread, a choice of salts to season your food, and a choice of dishes that are so delicious they defy description, you’re in for a treat.
In the private dining room, David presents each dish to his guests with a full explanation of the ingredients and his choice of combination. A wine is carefully selected to accompany the dish – and for a while you’re in gastronomic heaven. When your plate is removed, you wait in anticipation for the next one, and the next.
There are six courses in all, each prepared with equal amounts of attention to detail and joy. Each is a taste sensation, each quite unique. There’s no doubt that the kitchen staff enjoy creating these magical combinations and the camaraderie between the team is palpable. These people love working together, enjoy creating magical concoctions under the tutelage of their creative master. No wonder the food tastes so good.
David changes the menu according to the seasons and what’s available. He has his own vegetable garden on the Saxon property, and guided tours are arranged where he takes guests to see his masterpiece, before letting them savor the ingredients in an array of exquisite creations but that’s another experience altogether. Suffice to say that when one lovingly grows the ingredients that go into one’s dishes, you can rest assured that you’re in for an unmatched culinary sensation.
For those who enjoy fine food paired with the world’s fairest wines, dining at David Higg’s Five Hundred is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Saxon Hotel is famous the world over for its sense of style, and this subtle luxury permeates the restaurant. At Five Hundred, there’s a sense of unhurried pleasure that is hard to imitate. Each course is a unique experience that needs to be savored slowly and fully. After the full experience, which can take up to four hours if you’re really in the mood, you leave with a sense of accomplishment and joy.
You’re fulfilled. Sated. Delightfully charmed. You descend the private lift and return to normality. At this little slice of heaven in the middle of Johannesburg, David has created a magical mystery tour for a gastronome that is almost surreal. Don’t despair – you can always return. After all, with dishes like David’s on the menu, heaven can wait.
Five Hundred is located at the Saxon Hotel, 36 Saxon Road, Sandhurst Johannesburg. www.thesaxon.co.za