Luxury, Quality, Gold

Expect modern European dining at Aurum.

Where: The Leonardo Building, Maude Street, Sandton

What: Modern European dining

The Name: Aurum is the Latin word for gold, so you’ll find many a gilt touch in this new space. Of course, this also refers to both Joburg’s “City of Gold” moniker and the precious metal’s association with luxury and quality — elements the restaurant is set to embody.

The Space: A magnificent, three-storey setup with towering concrete columns, reminiscent of European train stations, spanning the expanse of the restaurant. In contrast to these industrial elements, gold, marble, and wood bring a classic elegance. The mezzanine level holds a wine library (think wine stacked in place of books) with big leather chairs in which to sit back, congratulate yourself on getting there, and enjoy a glass of Aurum’s finest.

The grand service bar will provide cocktails, with wine being a key pillar in the experience. The grand service bar will provide cocktails, with wine being a key pillar in the experience. Image: Supplied The Chefs: A powerhouse trio: Paulo Santo, Darren O’Donovan, and Lisa De Beer. The three met early on in their respective careers and reunite here, after years on their own projects. Santo opened and was executive chef at Bryanston’s trendy Gemelli restaurant, while O’Donovan and De Beer took off to Europe, embarking on a food tour of epic proportions and seeking stimuli for an — at the time — unknown new venture along the way.

The Food: A modern interpretation of European cuisine, the food is contemporary and refined. There’s a keen desire to pay homage to spectacular ingredients while carefully toeing the line between the restraint of modern cooking and offering an experience that excites and intrigues the diner. The chefs describe their offering as food that they enjoy both cooking and eating. The restaurant will feature both a day menu and an evening menu, allowing for two subtly different dining experiences.

The Drinks: The grand service bar is the spot where you’re likely to start your Aurum visit. Wine is a key pillar of the experience. Chef De Beer’s micro-list (99 bottles of wine) will feature a carefully curated selection of local and international labels. The idea is that there’ll be wines that are educational and interesting, as well as old favourites if you’d rather enjoy something familiar.

When: Aurum is expected to open in late 2019.