It’s been a decade since the beautiful Maslow hotel in Sandton opened its doors to welcome guests to what remains a tranquil garden environment in the midst of the country’s biggest financial district.
As part of its 10-year celebrations, the hotel’s dining options for the Lacuna Bistro, Bar and room service have enjoyed a refresh, with Executive Chef Omar Menhouk and his kitchen teams working for months to refine new dishes.
While familiar favourites like the Durban chicken curry and meat platter remain to please regular guests, Menhouk has tapped into his Algerian heritage, the countries he has worked in across the African continent and the influence of global cuisine such as French and Italian to create a menu with international flair.
“South Africans are spoilt for choice when they eat out – chefs here are encouraged to be able to cook everything so that you can deliver to every taste,” Menhouk said.
“We have something for every member of the family, from our new children’s menu to vegan and vegetarian options, a full steak house offering, seafood and tapas.” While one international guest ate the Moroccan lamb shank tagine every night for a week during his stay, the menu also caters for those spoiling themselves within the confines of a budget, with wallet-friendly pastas and salads, and burgers during the day.
The dishes are crammed with fresh vegetables and herbs, with an emphasis on healthier eating, Menhouk explained. Think herbed quinoa and chickpea salad with a lemon-tahini dressing, marinated Algerian-style king prawns served with steamed rice, tomato relish and a garlic, herb, and mint sauce or a Mediterranean vegetable stew with chickpeas, eggplant, yellow, green bell pepper, onions, butternut, zucchinis, tomato, beans, and herbs.
A selection of six cuts of meat are cooked on a specially imported Josper oven that gives a unique flavour by cooking over charcoal embers. “We have introduced four new sauces – béarnaise, harissa, chimichurri and Café du Paris which are a refreshing modern take for those tired of the standard mushroom, pepper and red wine jus.”
Try the crispy Lebanese Chicken, marinated in seven herbs and cooked in the Josper, served with slaw and new potatoes, or a pasta dish such as creamy fricassee of gnocchi and penne or fettuccine with a choice of sauces from Pomodoro, creamy garlic, ragu bolognese and parmesan Reggiano.
If you’re someone who enjoys sharing, try the trio of Maslow desserts, selected daily by the chef, or tuck into an almost-flourless chocolate cake, baklava with pistachio nut filling, or – Chef Menhouk’s favourite – a scoop of artisan ice-cream especially flown in from Cape Town in a range of flavours including Ferro Roche and ginger shortbread.
The menu has several dishes that can be made without animal products and Menhouk advised guests to inform their waiter on arrival.
“Together with my four sous chefs, I will be taking note of our guest feedback and aligning the menu to what we are hearing from the dining room floor.”
The Lacuna Bar menu has also had an overhaul, while retaining the best-sellers so popular with guests who come to watch a sports game. The options include falafel, hummus, spicy vegetable or meat samosas, sweet and sticky sesame chicken wings, jalapeño rissoles and a Mediterranean meze for two. There are also sandwiches, sliders and ribs.
The four-star hotel offers conference and meeting facilities, and is a popular wedding and baby shower destination, boasting an on-site spa and swimming pool set in manicured gardens.
For the full dining and cocktail menus, visit the website – click here.