08 March 2011 by Robyn Campbell

Cube Tasting Kitchen

Joburg’s usually second fiddle in the minds of foodies looking for an exceptional restaurant at which to dine. Cape Town, bless her tabletop mountain, has been hogging that mind space for years.

Don’t get me wrong, Jo’burg has some notable spots to nosh at - think Le Canard, the Linger Longer (who’s probably lingered the longest) and Le Soufflé - all run by veteran chefs, and all deserving of their formidable reputations.

Somehow, though, contemporary fine dining in its hurry to speed down the N1 south to the Mother City, and hook up with its mates and haute and fusion, seems to have passed by Jo’burg.

Well, dare I say that a small of army Jozi chefs are fighting back, immersion blenders and dehydrators to the fore, as they attempt to vanquish Jo’burg’s reputation as a steakhouse town.

Leading the pack is Cube Tasting Kitchen, in the trendy northern suburb of Parktown North.

Led by self-taught, multi-award winning chef Dario de Angeli, to call Cube a restaurant is to reduce this concept kitchen to a place where hungry people go to fill their bellies mindlessly.

I won’t bandy about tired terms like food art and molecular gastronomy. Suffice to say that a huge amount of thinking and passion has gone into this tiny, elegantly monochrome 27-seater establishment. Superb ingredients and culinary know-how goes without saying; and precision, detail, and technique are evident here - BIG TIME.

From the grate-your-own rock salt per table, and architectural mesh origami ‘plates’, to the amorphous cat scan images that adorn the walls, prepare to be absorbed, amused, and amazed by Cube’s intricate 23-course menu.

Do book a long-suffering baby sitter because your food odyssey begins around 19h00 and you won’t be home until after midnight. Moreover, Cube isn’t licensed so you’ll be advised ahead of time what wines to bring to pair with your meal.

From the thimble of a kitchen, Dario, and his brigade venture onto the floor to serve and introduce course after course personally to their diners.

The urge to pin Dario down and grill him (excuse the pun) about ingredients, flavours, and techniques, is almost overwhelming because everything - the textures, combination of flavours and presentation - is just so extraordinary.

Be warned though. Once you’ve eaten at Cube, other restaurants will seem rather dull by comparison because from the edible garden to the 18-hour sous vide pork belly, the food at Cube arouses the palate and the imagination - equally and deliciously.

Cube is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday. To make a reservation email:  cubetastingkitchen@gmail.com, or call on 082 422 8158.

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