Blaque opened in Rosebank, and moved to Bryanston in late-2019. While the restaurant has been around for some time, we recently had a chance to reacquaint ourselves when we were invited to a wine pairing dinner with A2B Winery, to mark the launch of a new label by reality TV star Nonku Williams.
A devoted wine lover, Sizo’s wine menu champions boutique South African wines and he goes to great lengths to get hold of special bottles that have a story to tell. Such as the small-lot Aslina wines made by the award-winning Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black female winemaker.
Sizo's natural charisma and years spent working as a private chef in the kitchens of the country’s rich and powerful (he even did a stint as Cyril Ramaphosa’s personal chef), plus his heartfelt passion for supporting other small businesses, make him a consummate host.
His cooking show Rustic Chakula (watch it on YouTube) also made him a name to know with its celebration of African cuisine. And on the menu you'll find South African dishes that he gets rave reviews for.
While Blaque is an old-school bistro open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with classics on the menu, the reason to go is for comforting local cuisine, traditional meals such as oxtail with dumplings, chicken dishes, tripe (mogodu), ox liver and pork trotters. The local specials here are a thing of legend.
At the wine pairing we attended all of the wines were perfectly explained and their qualities broken down for us at the table by sommelier Bodibe Sebolai from Bodibe Wines.
The dinner started with Blaque's signature mussels served in a classic lightly spiced garlic sauce. This went down perfectly with A2B's Sauvignon Blanc. Next up was a prettily plated salmon risotto paired with A2B's fresh and light Chenin Blanc. Our favourite dish of the evening was Blaque's hearty lamb curry with mash and Sizo's signature tripe. Served with Merlot it's a classic example of the richly flavoured traditional dishes that are so popular here.
They say wine doesn't only pair well with food but also with a good book and the wine launch also coincided with the launch of historian Zikhona Valela's first book Now You Know How Mapetla Died, which details the story of black consciousness martyr Mapetla Mohapi.
While the restaurant's setting is somewhat incongruous (it shares a building with the Naturally Yours Health Centre, just around the corner from The Campus office complex), the warmth of the hosts, the flavour of the dishes, the interesting wines and the spirit of collaboration and welcome that has successfully charged this restaurant for many years, make this quiet corner of Bryanston worth seeking out. Food and wine pairings are planned quarterly.
*Our reviewer was invited by the restaurant. The views expressed in this review are her own.