Words: Catherine Black | Images: david batzofin photography

These days, the suburb of Linden is a key ingredient of Joburg’s foodie scene. Van Der Linde is its newest addition – a fine-dining restaurant that’s a collaboration between Cecil Barry and Trio chef Amori Burger. Taking the place of the old Linden bottle store and named after one of the suburb’s founders, a turn-of-the-previous-century fruit farmer, the restaurant also features a gin/juice bar, a bakery and a wine shop. We spoke to Cecil to find out more.

How did you move from owning a production company to owning a restaurant?

I started in the television industry about 25 years ago as a freelance cameraman and moved to producing travel and lifestyle content for various broadcasters through my production company, Red Pepper. Inspired by life’s experiences and by travelling, I felt that it would be fabulous to have access to a restaurant venue that naturally also lends itself to this kind of storytelling… a “story on a plate”.

What lessons can you take from your production career?

The culinary industry is not that much different from the media industry in that it involves the same key ingredients: creative, passionate people who are generous with their time, energy and talent, and who enjoy experimenting with sights, smells, tastes and presentation.

What is the restaurant’s overarching concept?

Our wrap-around glass veranda and high-res screens displaying beautiful images from around the world aim to transport you to an exotic location. Botany is also a key theme. We feature an abundance of plants, and we’re constantly expanding our collection. Over time we hope this will transform into an indoor forest. We also opted for an open kitchen that’s visible to the public and that enables our guests to experience the restaurant’s kitchen at work.

What are some of your signature dishes?

Our “build your own breakfast” concept lets you construct a designer brekkie from options like free-range eggs, a selection of freshly baked breads, sausages, chicken livers, streaky bacon, relish, halloumi, smoked salmon and more. For lunch, I love the chicken Caesar salad with real white anchovies, and the rib-eye steak. My absolute favourite is the country chicken roast. It’s a simple dish that’s essentially a whole chicken carved up for two people and served with sautéed vegetables and herb gravy. For dinner, two signature dishes are the mushroom and truffle ravioli served with Grana Padano, and the lamb gnocchi served with lamb shoulder ragout and gremolata.

Van Der Linde
010 594 5443
vdl.restaurant