The faint sound of a piano hits your ear as you make your way towards the entrance at Maximillien. The wood panelled exterior goes some way in suggesting that this is not your average eatery.
And once you cross the threshold of the place, tucked beneath the Da Vinci Hotel in Sandton City, you’d be forgiving for thinking you had somehow been transported to a bistro in the heart of New York with the restaurant’s black and white checked entrance and impressive bar going some way to support the idea.
It’s a Friday night so it’s strange that the place isn’t filled to capacity but the pianist tickling the ivories does a great job to give the place some atmosphere and it seems hospitable enough.
We’re greeted by our waiter, Gift, who does a great job to get us settled, organise our first drinks and explain the evening’s specials which include a nod to the establishment’s butternut soup. “It’s awesome,” Gift explains.
It doesn’t take too long to study the menu, in a refreshing twist Maximillien limit their menu to only a couple of dishes unlike eateries today trying to cater for every taste and stretching themselves in the process.
After some deliberation I choose the spicy butter chicken, a decision that earns plaudits from Gift but also a warning that it comes with a kick. And he was spot on. It delivered the promised bite but was also one of the best butter chicken dishes I’ve had in Joburg. And it came with all the usual bells and whistles you’d expect.
But the real showstopper would come to the table when desert arrived. Having spied a chocolate dome on a neighbouring table earlier in the evening my curiosity had been piqued and there was little hesitation when it came to ordering the same.
What followed was nothing short of spectacular. The dish was in two parts, the first was the chocolate dome and whatever was hidden beneath. The second was a small jug of hot caramel sauce. When combined, the sauce melted the chocolate over a warm lava cake and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream underneath. Pure decadence.
Another great thing about dining at Maximillien is that our departure for the evening was slightly delayed given that we migrated to the adjoining Maxim Lounge after the bill had been settled. This space allows for those with a love for the finer things in life like cigars and good whisky to sit and indulge.
A very cool service they offer is the ability to purchase a bottle of your tipple and keep it in one of their glass display cases. Some of the owners boasted impressive collections which included Macallans, Glenfidditch and Johnnie Walker of varying label colours. Maxim Lounge will also give you a pair of cufflinks should you take up one of their spaces.
To head to Maximillien’s website click here.