AURUM Restaurant, meaning GOLD in Latin, opened its doors in November 2019 overlooking Sandton from the 7th floor of South Africa and Africa’s tallest new building, The Leonardo. The restaurant is the brainchild of esteemed chef and culinary consultant, Paulo Santo, in collaboration with the Legacy Group and its chairman, Bart Dorrestein. True to its name, AURUM delivers understated prestige with an excellent return on investment. “AURUM represents luxury, but not in an intimidating, pretentious or ostentatious manner. Just as gold is timeless in its appeal, we too wish to exist beyond time as a successful, renowned business serving a cosmopolitan African city; the City of Gold,” says Paulo Santo, MD and Senior Partner of AURUM.
AURUM’s kitchen is headed up by Paulo’s former chef colleagues at Cube Tasting Kitchen; Darren O’Donovan (Head Chef) and Lisa de Beer (Sous Chef and Sommelier). The menu features Contemporary European cuisine with a touch of local flair and has been inspired by Darren and Lisa’s travels around Europe and the types of food they like to eat. AURUM has two seasonal menus per year; Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, with the majority of its ingredients being locally sourced. By day, AURUM presents the Light menu, Solis, comprising of an a la carte breakfast, brunch, and lunch offering. By night, AURUM takes on a sense of luxury manifested by the Dark menu, Luna, for dinner. Signature dishes include the Cured Springbok, Slow Braised Pork Belly and ‘Afternoon Tea’, a dessert inspired by the memory of dunking Ouma rusks into tea, showcasing flavours of rooibos, buttermilk and Clemengold. “A meal at AURUM will aim to engage our patrons on an emotional level. We want to create experiences, share memories, build strong relationships and gain the trust of our patrons through our product and service offering. AURUM stands to take an Old-world approach to service with a modern, New-world approach to cuisine,” says Paulo.
Drinks: The Wine
AURUM’s wine list was compiled by Lisa and features 99 of both South Africa and the globe’s finest wines, many of which will also be available by the glass. The wine list has been designed in such a way as to convey the best on offer from around the world, without being pretentious and inaccessible. The list will enable guests to be exploratory but also offer them their familiar favourites from the Cape Winelands. In the Wine Library, there is a smaller list on offer that boasts special vintages, limited releases and some different, more ‘edgy’ options for the adventurous.
The cocktail list has been designed by specialist mixologist, Alex Farnell, and features fun, trendy and edgy drinks with the right amount of traditional sophistication. Expect to find some of the world’s finest spirits brought to life in exquisite cocktails and signature mixes.
There is an impressive selection of after-dinner options such as Grappa, Cognac and fine whiskies, as well as a fully stocked bar of premium spirits. AURUM offers some of the world’s finest and rarest, as well as a selection of local craft spirit makers.
AURUM restaurant forms the heart of the lifestyle hub of The Leonardo building and overlooks its sunlit pool terrace. Designed by Varoom Interiors, it features interior seating for 160pax and exterior seating for 80pax, two private dining facilities and a wine library. The interiors were designed around three frameworks: the seventh-floor artwork themed around the element of Air; the transparent, exposed architecture with visible columns and beams; and Johannesburg, being both The City of Gold and the largest urban forest in the world. From the main artwork installation representing a golden flow of air, the gold and green paint hues, the clever selection of custom designed furniture combining natural leathers and timbers and the subtle touches of gold throughout the restaurant design – all designed and curated around the above-mentioned frameworks. The interior seating of the restaurant features booth tables to offer a sense of intimacy and privacy, whilst the spacious main bar offers patrons a suitable holding space whilst they await their guests or preferred table. The restaurant setup during the day is downplayed, yet elegant, with an emphasis on the space itself and its beautiful architecture. Table settings at night are upgraded to lush cotton tablecloths and napery to create a softer, more romantic mood, together with gold and onyx green through thoughtful lighting arrangements. The pool terrace highlights the preferred pastime of most South Africans; looking beautiful under the African sun, sipping on a cold, refreshing beverage and creating lasting memories. The sun loungers and terrace daybeds offer patrons to AURUM the luxury of a poolside tanning spot, coupled with world-class service; a welcome reprieve from the concrete jungle around us. The Wine Library sits on the mezzanine level and overlooks the restaurant floor. The space has a warm, rich, masculine feel and is designed to feel much like a cigar lounge. Patrons are invited to come and relax at any time in the evening to enjoy a special glass of something from the sommelier’s selection. The bottles are displayed in temperature accurate wine coolers and the seating boasts luxuriously upholstered armchairs. All the furniture in AURUM has been locally manufactured and custom made for the restaurant. From the lighting, to the artwork, to the furniture - the designer really aspired to a ‘local is lekker’ mindset. “Our goal was to create a timeless interior that would merge the sophistication of fine dining with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. A place where everyone that visits, feels like they belong,” says Vanessa Preston of Varoom Interiors.
AURUM in The Leonardo
Even though AURUM is so central to the building, it is entirely independent from the hotel brand and a golden oasis for visitors and residents of Joburg alike. In addition to the main restaurant, AURUM will service the entire Food & Beverage offering at The Leonardo through its subsidiary brands, namely: • Leo’s Lounge: An elegant gin bar and deli kitchen located in the lobby of Level 2 • The Leonardo Conference Centre: A 300pax state-of-the-art facility, managed by Legacy, on Level 2 • OCTO Bar: The pool terrace bar, offering a unique signature cocktail offering, supported by a signature wood-fired menu from the OCTO kitchen. This will feature personally inspired pizzas, flatbreads, tapas, and fine charcuterie and cheese. • Alto234: The Leonardo roof-top champagne bar once opened, will complement its signature champagne and cocktail offering with delicious, luxury canapes to savour whilst enjoying the breath-taking view from the top of Africa. • The Leonardo Suites Rental Pool: Bespoke room service to rental apartments daily from 06h00 to 00h00.