Earlier this year, the iconic hotel reopened its doors as The Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, making this the first South African location for the international hotel group. With the reincarnation of Johannesburg’s grande dame came two new restaurants – View and Flames – that we set out to sample.
Meet executive chef Dirk Gieselmann
Both restaurants fall under the direction of executive chef Dirk Gieselmann, who worked as chef de cuisine alongside owner Marc Haeberlin at France’s famed Michelin-starred Auberge de l’Ill.
View is the more formal of the two restaurants, and just below it, with views no less extraordinary, is Flames, which offers an artisanal braai experience in an outdoor setting.
After a ride from the parking lot in specially purposed golf carts, a glass lift whisks you up to the restaurants. The views from up here have always been astonishing, but the new architecture makes you feel like you’re perched at the very edge of a cliff, with banks of trees, the zoo and the iconic Joburg skyline, all visible from your vantage point.
It was a typical windless, sunny Highveld day when we visited, so we settled under an umbrella and sipped on a glass of bubbly while perusing the menu. Flames had an extensive wine list, but the craft beers, such as Jack Black, Copperlake Breweries and Devil’s Peak, were what shone.
In terms of food, it was difficult to choose from dishes such as the Thai line fish and prawn soup with mussels, crispy Camembert salad with cranberry relish or ostrich sosatie skewers with foie gras, but in the end my partner and I both opted for the sirloin steaks. They were cooked to perfection and served with sides of creamy gnocchi and silky mashed potato.
The dark chocolate fondant with a white chocolate centre, hazlenut ice cream, salted caramel and praline cream was the highlight of the meal. We took our dessert plates down to the couches below by the pool, where we could savour each mouthful in an even more relaxed setting.
Flames makes the best possible use of one of the best locations – and some of the finest views – in Joburg. As for the food, it proved to us that one of South Africa’s staple eating occasions can be as sophisticated as you want it to be. We’ll definitely be going back.
Opening times (reservations required)
- Brunch, Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 3pm
- Lunch, Monday to Friday, noon to 2pm
- Dinner, Monday to Sunday, 6.30pm to 9.30pm
011 481 6190
Words: Belinda Mountain