Another restaurant opened up in Melville - but it’s like no other. It’s a tiny, exquisite slice of a place and it is fine dining – degustation et al. It’s called La Petite Maison and that may sound French. You’ll be surprised.
Chef Tyeya Ngxola is South African, Michelin-restaurant trained. Chef Tim Stewart is South African, Michelin-restaurant trained. They met in Italy while training in an ancient castle. This restaurant with the French name is the resultant restaurant with the South African ingredients, the French-method cooking.
Their menu is a map of South Africa, each one of the five dinner courses inspired by a different South African place. It’s a delicious gastronomic journey across our beautiful country. The current seasonal dinner menu’s journey begins in the Kalahari of the Northern Cape with a dish inspired by what the local Khoi San people do - and ends in Ficksburg with a gasp at the beauty of what these two chefs have created from semi-bitter Guanaja chocolate and the berries of cherry country. The weekday lunch menu currently features a platter of South Africa-produced charcuterie, paired with a special glass of wine.
Having been open in the ‘soft’ practising way since late January, the two owner-chefs opened for real, to vast acclaim in March.
Both owners contribute to their wine cellar stocked with the very unusual, all from South Africa. Most of the labels are relatively unheard of, with tiny production lines: exciting, excellent wines you need to taste to believe.
The décor is deeply romantic, maybe a little French, in dark greys and blues, with a glowing yellow velvet sofa that usually gets taken first. The restaurant only seats 21 guests downstairs and six at another counter alongside the kitchen.