Last June, whilst on holiday in Europe, I made the spontaneous decision to fly from Munich via Dusseldorf to Nice, for a lunch. The lunch at JAN Restaurant was the highlight of my eating career to date. Today JAN Restaurant,
and its owner Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, made culinary history in our country, in receiving its first Michelin star, the first such honour to go to a South African chef-owned restaurant.
The Michelin inspectors had eaten at JAN Restaurant just a week prior to my visit, and Chef Jan-Hendrik must have had an inkling of what was to come, as the feedback to him after their lunch had been ‘impeccable‘, he told me.
JAN Restaurant opened with 28 seats in 2013 near the port of Nice, in a renovated motorcycle outlet, with a stylish interior decor, including chandeliers from the Metro in Paris, and chairs made especially in Paris. Just eight months after opening, they were awarded two knives and two forks in the 2015 Michelin Guide. The accolades followed quickly, including a Condé Nast Traveler World’s 15 Best Restaurant, and inclusion in the Gault et Millau guide.
JAN Restaurant serves a fusion of Jan-Hendrik’s South African food roots going back to Middleburg (e.g. mosbolletjies, biltong dust, Malva pudding) with the freshest herbs, vegetables, and fruit available to him from around the corner in Nice, a shop Jan-Hendrik introduced me to after the lunch. Front of house staff are French, while the chefs in the kitchen with him are both from Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch, namely Kevin Grobler (whom I met at JAN last year) and Rutger Eysvogel, a more recent addition.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here