Chef David Higgs and local entrepreneur Gary Kyriacou first joined forces to bring Marble restaurant to Johannesburg, and the partnership is set to bear more fruit this August when Saint Pazzo Italiano opens its doors in Sandton.
“With over 80 000 young professionals working in Sandton, our feeling is that there could be more restaurants and bars to cater for that market,” explains Kyriacou. “Saint will be a great space for Sandton’s trendy, up-and-coming business crowd, and will serve dishes for people on the move – quick to prepare, but tasty and good to look at.”
The restaurant’s name translates to Mad Italian, and the menu will offer not only pizza and pasta, but also a range of dishes cooked on woks and an open fire. “It’s not an Italian restaurant but there will be a definite Italian feel,” says Chef David Higgs.
Higgs and Kyriacou gained the original inspiration for Saint’s concept during their visit to New York in early 2016 – as part of their planning and research for Marble. The duo believes the concept is well-suited for the Sandton market – a fast-moving hub with a huge amount of energy flowing through it.
Saint will be located in the newly-developed MARC Building on the corner of Maude Street and Rivonia Road – the site of the old Village Walk. The area has long been a hub in Sandton and provides a direct corridor from the Gautrain through to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and some of Sandton’s busiest offices and hotels.
The 1000m² restaurant will seat approximately 230, have a large bar, and a balcony seating area overlooking Rivonia Road.
“We’re in the same centre as some other well-known restaurants,” says Kyriacou. “The location will provide a node for people to gather and enjoy the different offerings.”
“It’s going to be very different – in terms of the food, offering and décor,” says Higgs, on the relationship between Saint Pazzo Italiano and Marble. “However, it will still have our same high standards for quality and consistency, and we hope it will have a similar energy and vibe.”
“The food will be Italian, but twisted,” he goes on to explain. “So yes, there will be pizza from our two massive pizza ovens from Italy, and there will be pasta; but there are also going to be lots of things in-between. We’ve got two woks stations and a Grillworks (inspired by Marble) for some crispy elements.”
The theme of Saint Pazzo Italiano will extend from the plates to the interior design. Once again, Irene Kyriacou will project manage the design and décor. Irene recently travelled to London, Amsterdam and attended the MAISON&OBJET PARIS Trade Show in order to gain inspiration for the new venture.
“The décor will be playful, a combination of old and new, juxta positioned textures and vibrant colour,” she explains. “Items will be recognizable, but slightly twisted to be more contemporary, cheekier but also sophisticated. Guests will be able to relate to everything – from the walls, to the table coverings, chairs and plates – but we are taking the classics and
translating them into something unique. Giving it our own spin.”
“Sandton embodies a similar energy to New York, as a city that never sleeps,” Kyriacou adds. “There’s so much happening in Sandton every day – cars, cranes, people – the city needs somewhere versatile. Saint will serve up light lunches at a business pace and be an option for after-work drinks at the bar.”
“We want to add to the vibrancy of Johannesburg as a working city. We want to be adventurous – and see how far we can take it,” Higgs concludes.