Epitomising understated chic Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff is a sedate Shangri-la boasting some of the best views over Johannesburg's tree landscape. With a new chef at the helm (Sep 2017) and a clever remake of its former fine dining restaurant View into two eating hotspots you can now expect a much more exciting dining experience.
Where View once sprawled across two sections of the restaurant split by the attractive bar space, there is now the more intimate fine dining venue View adjoining Pre View, a more 'casual' cocktail and tapas small plates bar.
For those who have visited previously you will find that your trip up the vertiginous hill is still by golf cart, or, via the modern glass elevator edifice installed by Four Seasons. The British colonial horsey décor, a trademark of the former Westcliff Hotel, is long gone and now the setting is more Bond film than Jilly Cooper novel.
The interior is all contemporary restraint, a shot of acid yellow upholstery amid the inky tones that were designed to conjure the evening cityscape. The new chef is Durban-born Farrell Hirsch who, prior to joining Four Seasons, worked in international kitchens before serving up dishes at world top-rated restaurant, The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale Roberts in Cape Town, as well as cheffing at the renowned Singita Group of luxury lodges.
Hirsch's food takes inspiration from Asian cuisine and you have the option of five or seven set courses with a wine pairing for the fine dining menu. His flavours are fresh, robust and yet comforting. His steamed bread rolls to start the meal are a brilliant take on the popular steamed bun or Chinese bao, but don't fill up on them as he has plenty more tricks including a delicious Karoo lamb dish and excellent fish and seafood dishes. His dishes use a variety of seasonal ingredients, and in many cases favour local flavours with plenty of herbs and vegetables grown at the hotel. Of course everything is elegantly plated. A young chef – under 40 years old – Hirsch has an impish way about him and has brought a fresh take to View. You could tell by the size of the knife he brought to slash the red ribbon to mark the restaurant's relaunch.
Service is polished and the dress code is smart casual. The awe-inspiring views come standard. In fine weather book a table on the terrace. Bookings are essential for View, while Pre View encourages walk-ins.