Luke Dale Roberts is undoubtedly our favourite South African Chef! Ok, I exaggerate, he is mine and I think he comes a close second for Charmaine, after David Higgs that is. Nevertheless imagine our excitement when we heard that there was going to be a Pot Luck Club Pop Up restaurant right here in Johannesburg.
We like to keep things realistic so we weren’t expecting an LDRS menu. I’ll get to the food just now but we have to start with this incredible venue. Having spent all our lives in the City we hadn’t ventured into this part of town, granted it does look a bit dodgy compared to the more populated Maboneng and Braamfontein spots.
We were greeted by a few bulky but very friendly bouncers who escorted us to the door behind which lay a hidden gem. Marabi club has a dark and sultry vibe setting a great scene for both dinner and jazz.
In keeping with the sharing concept, we ordered a number of dishes to ensure we were able to taste as much of the menu. Our favourites were the Pork Belly (this is a must try), Fish Crudo with Granadilla Tigers Milk and the Fish Sliders. Although I must say that I don’t really come to a Luke Dale Roberts’ restaurant for Fish Sliders. The Warm Duck Scallop and Orange Salad and Fish Tacos were underwhelming and average at best.
For dessert, we went for the adventurous option called Heaven Bacon, basically an almond tart with peanut butter ice cream and some popcorn. There was certainly no Bacon Heaven here as it was basically a garnish and the tart was very dense. We regretted not going for the churros.
Lastly, any meal is always enhanced by great service and this was clearly lacking. Our waiter seemed disinterested. His name should have been Wally as we played “Where is Wally?” the entire evening. We constantly had to look around for him to order another dish, get more water, another drink, the bill… and ended up waving down his fellow waiters for attention. To top it off, after we had paid and were waiting for our Uber, the Manager’s goodbye was long the lines of So, you’re done now, goodbye.
Our consolation was the sweet sounds of Jazz we got to enjoy throughout our meal.
Do we still love Luke Dale Roberts, yes? Does he need to up the game for this Pop-Up? Most definitely.
How do we rate it?
Ambience/Venue: 5 out of 5
Food: 2.5 out of 5
Service: 1 out of 5
Entertainment: 5 out of 5