The Marshall in Faircity’s Mapungubwe Hotel combines retro, cosmopolitan glamour with the funkiness of a downtown gastropub. It’s very chic and funky, like a diner with a few luxurious finishes.
We couldn’t decide between starters, and I really wanted to take as many pictures as possible, so I had Tempura Prawns with a Miso Mayonnaise, which was a generous portion of prawns coated in decidedly crispy batter, while my husband ordered the Calamari with a Lemon & Lime Mayonnaise. Interestingly, I found the Miso Mayonnaise too salty for my palate, but it did develop in complexity with a subtle paprika undertone, yet my husband loved it. I, on the other hand, loved his Lemon & Lime Mayonnaise, so we happily swopped dipping sauces.
The lemon & lime mayonnaise just hit all the spots for me so I made a point of introducing myself to Chef Deon Anderson, who happily shared his recipe with me. I have often tried to create a lemon mayonnaise dipping, with unimpressive results, but Chef Deon advised me that it was the limes that gave the sauce the flavour that I was after, and the lemons amped up the acidity. It truly is a match made in heaven. The limes also add a touch of sweetness to create a radiant flavour profile that complements fish perfectly.
We also ordered a third starter of Jalapeno Poppers to share. They were easily the hottest Jalapeno Poppers I’ve ever had, but were tempered with a generous filling of three different cheeses to temper the heat, and deep-fried in a crispy batter. Jalapeno Poppers are a culinary curiosity for me because I don’t enjoy spicy foods, but I do that textual contrast between the melted cheese, crispy batter, and the texture of the deep-fried pepper.
For mains, my husband ordered the prawns and chips while I opted for the rack of lamb. The rack of lamb, and I don’t want to oversell it like a fine-dining experience, but it was the best lamb that I’ve ever had. It was charred and caramelized on the outside, but then when you cut through the meat it was deliciously pink on the inside – and I know how my radio listeners know how squeamish I get about blood on my plate, but the lamb was so well rested it was a beautiful vibrant shade of pink in the middle, with a slightly charred and caramelized crust on the outside. It was just a marriage of the best of both worlds, and I think that when I return to The Marshall, I’ll order it medium rare. Really delicious.
Portions are generous – and ordering a third starter really nipped my appetite, so I could barely steal a chip and a prawn off my husband’s plate, but he said they rivaled the best prawns he’s every had. That was sufficient praise for me.
I was never going to manage dessert, but I really wanted to try their Swiss Carrot Cake and the Chocolate Mousse Cake, I we ordered those as takeaways for a later. The Swiss carrot cake was more luxurious than the traditional carrot cake as it had a lot more nuts and they used mascarpone cream instead of cream cheese. The chocolate mousse cake was a decadent treat that made the perfect midnight snack.
I really wanted to pop downstairs to The Vault to enjoy a cocktail. I don’t know how much we had to drink that night, but it was quite substantial and I was feeling a bit guilty, but weren’t driving, and The Vault was waiting downstairs. We bolted downstairs to grab a cocktail each in in the name of journalistic integrity, and so that we could photograph them. I ordered a very zesty Mojito (my favourite), a very colourful Cosmopolitan with a kick to match, while my husband opted for a whiskey and sours.
The Vault is an interesting space with the original safety deposit boxes, metallic finished, and dramatic chandeliers, that create an underground New York cocktail experience. A great spot to drop in before going out for the evening, or a nightcap to round-off a great evening.
I think it’s worth a trip to The Marshall just to enjoy a great dining experience in the Jozi CBD.