Chef Coco and Épicure
An epicure is a person who takes particular delight in fine food and drink, here we were calling ourselves foodies, we should’ve called ourselves Epics. Spot on as this definition is properly suited to describe Chef Coco and his elegant restaurant Épicure. This new restaurant opened right in the heart of Sandton. Luckily Chef Coco, formerly from Sel et Poivre, stayed in South Africa to share his African journey through food with all of us epicureans.
You walk into a very intriguing Afro-chic décor setting, with rich fabrics in a wide range of textures, woven into each other to create vivid geometric designs. It is lit more than well enough to see your food and other people around the table, but the tables and pillars are arranged in such a way that you are not too close to anyone else, which makes the evening more romantic and private. They even have a walk-in wine hallway, if you will, where you can go to choose your wine for the evening. This area is enclosed with glass to separate the smoking from the non-smoking areas.
Épicure is definitely a step outside of your comfort zone as most dishes are odd sounding, to say the least, but the flavours are all that matter, and this place really did pack a punch.
As we sat down we were given this little bowl with a tiny chicken leg in a chilli relish that would have you singing Africa from Toto, we kid you not.
For our starter, we were greeted by Moroccan-style duck samosas with dry fruit chutney. The only bad part about this dish is that we had to fight over the last piece because these little pieces of heaven are why we got into this business.
Next up is what made us fall in love with the place. The first main was the Flic and Flac Magic, which was truly magical. It is a Vadouvan-spiced sea bass with black rice and tamarind, and if we had no self-discipline we would’ve drank the tamarind just like that. Not only was the sea bass perfectly cooked, it paired so well with the rice to make it our dish of the evening.
Our next main was the Dukkah Delight, an Egyptian dukkah-spiced rib eye with bulgur wheat and roasted baba ganoush. What a mouthful indeed. This was a dish on the richer side but also, just as tasty as the sea bass.
We cannot forget about dessert, now can we? This was quite an interesting and an all-over-the-place plate. This dessert brought together three different countries, Zanzibar, the DRC and Senegal. Épicure sure is out there with there dishes but this one takes the cake. This dish contained vermicelli, a type of pasta, with rum and raisin ice-cream, peanut butter and bissap ice-cream on top of sweet fritters, and caramelized ripe plantain. Phew, that was a plateful indeed and certainly containing something you will enjoy.
The waiters were attentive but it would have been nice if they understood the story and ingredients behind every dish. Épicure is all about the African food journey and contains a lot of new flavours to a lot of people. It is something small but would make us appreciate the dishes even more if we knew where and how they were born.
On the point of value, phew *wipes the sweat off forehead*! It is quite expensive to dine here. Also, don’t be fooled into going into the wine closet and picking a wine without asking the price. It would have been nice to be able to afford more evenings here to experience their entire menu.
TTT’s rating out of 5: Food – 4.5 | Service – 4 | Atmosphere – 5 | Value – 4
Epicure gets a ‘Fist Bump‘ from Two Tasty Tummies
You go Chef Coco!