The story behind Saint
“Essentially, it’s all about the energy that a beautiful room and simple food brings. It’s not poncy and hushed. Instead, it’s expressive and simple and so are the surroundings, the music and the people. But, it’s a big place and it fills with energy, both in the kitchen and on the floor,” Chef David Higgs.
Saint is the spectacular new restaurant by Chef David Higgs and Gary Kyriacou, owners
of Marble. It is based on the concept of “Pazzo Italiano” – loosely, crazy fun Italian and it opened in August 2018. It has quickly become the go-to pizza and Champagne
destination for Sandton’s trendy, up-and-coming business crowd.
After opening Marble, the team realised that Sandton held captive a great niche market for the idea. Beyond the food – because everyone eats and loves pizza – it was the right place for the vibe. In a city with energy, integration and positivity; Saint provides a much-needed out-of-work experience.
As with Marble, the scale of the space at Saint brings people together in an environment that delivers an experience – drinks in the bar, a meal in the restaurant and an opportunity to share time with friends, family and colleagues. Although the environment is more relaxed than Marble, the high level of service, impeccable design and casual food offerings still deliver an elevated experience with the same sense of welcoming on arrival.
The theme of ‘Pazzo Italiano’ embraces local, African, Italian and European cultures – representative of the cultural melting pot that is South Africa. Interior designer, Irene Kyriacou has created a space that is welcoming, sophisticated, fun and a contemporary-combination of modern and renaissance.
The design incorporates and juxtapositions cultures – a strong Italian influence, a play on the renaissance, and elements of mid-Century, contemporary and the mythological.
“When it comes to Neapolitan-style pizza, it’s not very popular in Johannesburg, and that’s where the idea was birthed. Our pizza and pasta are light (we’ve taken the cream out of the pasta). They’re Italian but lighter and easier to eat. The pizza also has less topping – just three to four toppings per pizza,” Chef David Higgs,
In preparation for the opening of Saint, Head Chef Matt van Niekerk and Chef de Partie Tyler Clayton visited Milan, Italy, and worked alongside pizza-masters Gino Sorbillo and Gennaro Rapido, of Lievito Madre Sorbillo, in Duomo Milan to learn the art of authentic Neopolitan pizza making.
Lievito Madre Sorbillo is a family-run restaurant, like many other authentic eateries in the city, and started rolling-out dough in1935 and pizza-making is a career. For Matt and Tyler, arriving at Gennaro’s Milan restaurant on a Monday morning was a welcome reward after a long journey from South Africa.
A quintessential Italian – passionate and talking with his hands – Gennaro welcomed the team into his restaurant with a hug and served them their first introduction to real Italian pizza. A freshly hand-made margarita from Gino’s wood-fired oven on a Monday morning. It set the tone for their adventure and left a lasting impression. Slightly crunchy, slightly chewy, fresh and with a 50/50 balance of Buffalo Mozzarella and tomato. Finished with fresh herbs. Filled with passion.
Saint’s pizza embodies this authenticity – imported flour, handmade local Buffalo Mozzarella and the freshest ingredients. Each pizza features a maximum of three to four toppings – unlike other local offerings. Standard and consistency are key – if every pizza isn’t the right size, right shape, has too much sauce and there isn’t a simplicity and balance of flavour; it doesn’t make the serve.
Toppings include fresh mozzarella; sirloin, caramelized onion and pumpkin seed pesto; cured meats with fresh tomato and taleggio cheese; and ‘the big nacho’ with spicy jerked chicken, avocado, sour cream and cumin.
There’s also a few pizza bianca (without tomato) options including spinach, crème fraiche, parmesan and fried egg; mushroom truffle, preserved lemon, gorgonzola and asparagus; and salami, black olive, white anchovy, basil and mozzarella.
For those that don’t enjoy a good pizza, other dishes include rigatoni with either lamb or short rib; saffron risotto with Osso bucco and gremolata; lamb shank and polenta, Octopus casserole with chorizo, bean, kale and garlic; and wood-fired beets with mustard greens and beetroot pesto. For Dessert, there is Affogato, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, gelato and biscotti, and milkshakes.
Saint’s has a focus on MCC and Champagne, but also lighter red and white wines to match the food offering.
Champagne brands such as Veuve Cliquot, Moët & Chandon and Tattinger – some limited edition and rare vintage – will feature alongside a range of local MCCs. There is also a Champagne trolley which serves bubbles by the glass, tableside.
The wine list will feature easy-drinking and well-priced red and white wines. Saint’s wine cellar, headed by Sommelier, Wikus Human; will evolve over time and grow into something special. He intends to keep it fresh and interesting.
The bar also features a Johnnie Walker Blue Label Perfect Serve collaboration and a cocktail list with a range of drinks named after Italian Renaissance figures. Two of Marble’s top-selling cocktails – the Italian Rose and the Bianco Charrara – also appear in the selection. A small bar snack menu is available to accompany drinks.
Shop UR 18, MARC Building, corner Maude Street & Rivonia Road, Sandton
Tel: 010 594 5888
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 12:00 – 22:00
Facebook: @saint.jhb Instagram: @saint_jhb www.saint.restaurant