Shifting Gears in Parktown

You’ll find Est Est Alea, the most recent brainchild of renowned chef Dario De Angeli, in Johannesburg’s Parktown North. An evolution of the infamous Cube Tasting Kitchen, Est Est Alea has been almost a year in the making. Delicate, eye-catching and meticulously prepared, the dishes served at this eatery are art on a plate. The space is modern and stylish, gifting diners an opportunity to leave everything behind for a few hours to focus solely on a restaurant experience like no other.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Chef Dario relocated to Johannesburg as a teenager. With no formal training, he worked at a coffee shop in Hillbrow and worked his way from the ground up. Before Chef Dario was creating master-plates, he was chopping onions and preparing enormous quantities of chicken livers. However, the down-to-earth and humble chef by no means minimizes these “monotonous tasks.” Menial repetition is where chefs learn to walk the line between precision and speed, there is no shortcut to experience,” he adds.

Chef Dario Angeli, who owned and ran Cube Tasting Kitchen for the past eight years, is a perfectionist to the core. He decided it was time to up the ante and push some boundaries. Thus, began the evolution into what is now known as Est Est Alea. The name is Latin and translates to “It is still cube” – an idea born out of the constant evolution taking place in the fine dining sector. The new name also elucidates to the fact that the new restaurant is in no way erasing the Cube Tasting Kitchen, but rather evolving it. Although still run by De Angeli, who continues in his position as head chef, the space as a whole has undergone a complete transformation from its name to the interior aesthetic within the restaurant. The menu has undergone a complete change, no longer offering a la carte options, only tasting menus. Guests have a choice between the full and half tasting menus.

Although the space has been transformed and a new menu is on offer, Est Est Alea has still aimed to keep the essence of its previous inhabitant, Cube Tasting Kitchen. Although a tasting kitchen, the restaurant has reverted back to real, classic cooking. Dishes play with taste, texture and flavour. “Some of the flavour combinations will be classic, but it is still Cube, so mostly, they will be wacky,” explains De Angeli. When discussing his goal for the new restaurant, the chef points to what he can offer diners. De Angeli strives to provide his guests with best of everything. “Let them leave their problems at the door, and most importantly make them feel cared for.”

Although the restaurant no longer offers full-portion meals served alone, they have a bar menu which offers diners small plates in a tapas-style fashion. Options include octopus marinated in wasabi snow and nori dust, Chinese-inspired croquettes and mushrooms with Soba noodles and fermented tofu. With regards to the tasting menus, both options start with the Cloud Bread served with smoked cucumber salsa and cream cheese mousse. Another dish featuring on both menus is the Tomato H20, which has hints of gazpacho, liquid cheese and pancetta. The Springbok is also included in both the full and half tasting menus and is served with nuts, pomegranate berry film, jus and red pepper taffy. Exclusive to the full menu is the pork belly served with mushroom stock, ravioli and crackling. Additionally, the full tasting menu offers a confit salmon which is served with lemon pudding and a citrus condiment on the side. To finish things off with something sweet, desserts include a hazelnut paste served with a hazelnut sponge as well as what De Angeli has titled “Strawberries and Cream Through Texture” – an intricate dish comprised of nougat, berries, mousse, gel, cotton candy, meringue, Chantilly and pastilles.

“Est Est Alea represents more than just physical renovation; it is the evolution of a journey in search of dining perfection,” explains De Angeli. “It is a place where the art of fine dining is personalised and celebrated, and where the building of a relationship between the chefs and diners is encouraged.”

“Est Est Alea represents more than just physical renovation; it is the evolution of a journey in search of dining perfection,” explains De Angeli. “It is a place where the art of fine dining is personalised and celebrated, and where the building of a relationship between the chefs and diners is encouraged.”

To request a reservation, please email bookings@estestalea.co.za or contact them on +27 82 422 8158.

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