When the team from Marble – chef David Higgs, Gary and Irene Kyriacou – say they are opening a pizza joint in Sandton, you should know that their idea of an Italian restaurant is being conjured from some otherworldly realm that doesn't include gingham tablecloths, Parmesan that tastes like the plastic wrap it came in, and menus spattered with Napolitano sauce. Hence Saint Pazzo ("Mad") Italiano.
Instead Saint is more Victoria’s Secret Angel than Mother Theresa, a knockout super-sexy space, packed with atmosphere, with wait staff dressed by South African David Tlale whose designs have graced New York Fashion Week’s catwalks, a DJ booth and a sound and lighting system that could rival Hi Club in Ibiza. It’s also a celebration of local design with ceramics by Rialheim, glassware by Ngwenya glass and furniture by David Krynauw, among others.
This is where you go when you favour Champagne with your pizza.
As the @JoburgFoodie so appropriately put it, “Calling Saint a pizzeria would be the equivalent of calling … the Tour de France a cycle around town.”
Located in the Marc building, Sandton’s newest celebration of all things bling and super shiny (also referred to by one local architect as what happens when a pineapple mates with a toilet bowl because of it’s unusual shape and façade texture), Saint appears to be the place to see and be seen this summer.
A sister restaurant to Marble known for its live fire grill, this ‘mad Italian’ seats more than 200 and is a stone’s throw (or rather a flying Champagne cork) away from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the city’s financial capital.
Bring an appetite and a budget to match. The pizzas here, fresh from the gold mosaic pizza ovens, take inspiration from Milan’s pizza-masters with some of the chefs having spent time specially in the kitchen of Gennaro’s where dough has been rolling out since 1935. Italian flour and handmade Buffalo mozzarella are paired with toppings that include; sirloin, caramelised onion and pumpkin seed pesto; and, cured meats with fresh tomato and taleggio cheese. There’s also options for pizza bianca (without tomato) that include spinach, crème fraiche, parmesan and fried egg; and mushroom truffle, preserved lemon, gorgonzola and asparagus.
The menu is set to change regularly, and there’s talk that Chef Dave Higgs will be pushing the Saint team to constantly innovate and earn that title of “mad” Italian. Also on offer are gnocchi and risotto dishes and plenty of dishes prepared from Higgs’ favourite kitchen equipment, a live fire grill, that gives a smokey flavor and a crispness to everything from vegetables to meats. Enjoy rigatoni with lamb or short rib; lamb shank and polenta, saffron risotto with osso bucco and gremolata; and wood-fired beets with mustard greens and beetroot pesto.
Don’t miss out on the bar, backed by incredible and fun (we won’t spoil the surprise) sculptural work beautifully designed by Damian Grivas who also created the bar at Marble. The showstopper award goes to the large dome in the main seating area, onto which are projected Italian frescoes and other works of art. For the best view, stay seated and wait for the Champagne Trolley to do the rounds.