Tshepo Lebese has been running the kitchen at the renowned Browns of Rivonia, a top Sandton restaurant, for almost a year.
After hardworking stints in London and Brazil, he has returned to create a sensational new menu for the 24-year-old restaurant, set in a lush tropical garden.
“I have updated the food to an upmarket bistro style. My food is diverse with an element of different cultures,” he says.
Tshepo’s wide menu selection is reminiscent of a five-star safari experience. It offers dishes that make use of the best of local cooking methods as well as local ingredients.
For starters, we recommend the calamari steak, perfectly tender and served with a fresh vegetable salsa. For the main course, you have to sample Browns “potjie-cooked ostrich”, which consists of succulent ostrich wrapped in phyllo pastry with an ostrich stew served on a bed of mash. A perfect choice for those with an appetite, the flavours of this dish are subtle and well integrated.
For those that prefer a more traditional red meat experience, their beef fillet, tender and chargrilled to perfection, is served with a vegetable casserole and golden roasted potatoes, drizzled with a sun-dried tomato demi-glaze.
Eric’s Prawns is a must-have dish for all seafood lovers, consisting of Whole Prawns simmered in their own version of Naçionale sauce, rounded off with a dash of Parmigiano, served with rice and stir fried vegetables.
Tshepo Lebese fondly remembers his time in London, where, starting at the bottom wrung on the ladder, he was washing dishes and peeling potatoes, which doesn’t seem to him as if it was that long ago. After studying at Tshwane College, this Pretoria-born chef headed to the UK, where he received his hospitality training at Michelin-starred hotels and worked with celebrity Chef Christophe Navarre and Chef Adam Simmonds. He also spent three years cooking on a cruise ship with Italian, French, Asian and Indian chefs.
The menu may have been rejuvenated, but Browns of Rivonia has maintained its farmhouse style decor and as always, provides impeccable service.
Lebese’s ever-evolving menu is paired with an extensive wine list. Both local and international wines are offered, and as we all know, Browns has four wine cellars in which 33000 bottles of wine are stored.
Once a month Brown’s of Rivonia invites 50 guests to a wine evening at which they are served scrumptious four-course meals. Earlier in September, patrons indulged in La Motte vintages wine served with Asian seafood and goat cheese terrine as their starter; the main course was a selection of rabbit and duck followed by a cheese parcel.
The perfect ending to the meal was the delicious and ever popular Crepe Suzette. Browns firmly believe that cheese is the ideal prelude to dessert and a full fromagerie is housed in the wine cellar.
Lebese says he never planned to be a chef, but always knew he wanted to use his hands to be creative. His plans to travel the world landed him the title of “the chef who has seen the seven seas“.