Steyn City is massive. At 2000 acres, you could fit four Monacos within its borders, or 2½ of New York’s Central Park. Described as the largest parkland residence in South Africa, the first phase of development is nearing completion, and a mix of residential offerings have already been snapped up. Keeping Steyn City’s residents and guests fed and watered are two distinct restaurants, with a third on the way: The Deli, Nineteen (XIX) and a still-in-development Italian restaurant at the Equestrian Centre’s Clubhouse.
Nineteen (XIX) at Steyn City
At the heart of Steyn City, overlooking the Nicklaus-designed golf course, is the Clubhouse, with Nineteen (XIX) as its signature restaurant. Here, Executive Chef Werner Snoek and his team serve the 80-seater restaurant with a range of meals, from bar snacks and business lunches, to cocktails and fine dining. The restaurant is managed by the Saxon Hotel (Douw Steyn, Steyn City’s visionary, is also the owner of Johannesburg’s award-winning hotel). Chef Werner joined The Saxon 2 ½ years ago and transferred across to Steyn City in January 2017.
Classically trained in French cuisine, Werner enjoys taking old school classics and combining them with Eastern, African and European influences and textures, while modernising components to keep up with current trends. “Our menu also features dishes with South African flair, so that we can offer our international guests a uniquely local experience.”
On how he developed the menu, he says that the dishes are “inspired by guest feedback, experimentation and innovation, and international trends play a big part in my menus. Everyone in the kitchen has an idea, and bringing these ideas together keeps things interesting not only for our guests, but also for my team as they get the chance to exercise their creativity and learn new skills.”
Local produce is important to the restaurant – cheese is either from the Cape Winelands, or from Belnori, which is just outside of Johannesburg; seafood used is from SASSI’s green and orange lists; beef is sourced from the Free State; and fruits and vegetables are delivered daily, although Chef Werner is busy scouting out a space in Steyn City for a vegetable garden. Wastage is kept to a minimum, with ingredients integrated across dishes.
On our visit to the restaurant with Hello Joburg magazine as part of their Hello Recommends event, we enjoyed a five-course menu that included Red lentil ragout with crispy chicken wontons; Grilled Norwegian salmon with butternut and beetroot crème, tender stem broccoli and buckwheat noodles; Beef fillet mignon with char-grilled aubergine and King Oyster mushroom; and a decadent aerated chocolate dessert with a delicate pannacotta.
The restaurant itself takes full advantage of the surrounding views with huge picture windows and arches creating focal points. Though the ceiling is high, the restaurant never feels cavernous. The interiors are warm and inviting, with stone, glass, wood and steel used throughout, and the restaurant is divided into different dining and lounge spaces.
Relaxed neighbourhood eatery The Deli is located by communal areas the Oasis Pool and Mandela Park, named after former President Nelson Mandela who visited the site at a ground breaking ceremony in 2007 and equipped with an incredible play area. The Deli has become the perfect meeting spot for residents and is stocked with convenient essentials as well as gourmet treats. Racks of freshly-baked quiches and pastries are perfect for a bite over a cup of coffee during the week, and breakfasts and light lunches are served during the day. Over the weekend the location turns into a flame station where residents can select accompaniments and their favourite cuts of steak to be braai’d.
About Steyn City
Skilful landscaping has turned what was once a quarry into kilometres of rambling parkland residence. A million trees, plants and shrubs have been planted since Steyn City first began development in 2007 (with more coming from an on-site nursery) and man-made creeks with water supplied by a grey water system, criss-cross the landscape. Huge amounts of bird species have been brought back to the area, drawn by the natural surrounds, and springboks have been introduced to the area.
Currently, only 9% of the potential residential space has been developed as part of the first phase. There are very few restrictions on the houses built in Steyn City, just a suggested neutral palette and an emphasis on other residents’ privacy. Properties are not walled in, unless there’s a dog on the property in which case the clearvufencing is restricted to a metre high, but trees have been planted in such a way as to ensure a resident’s privacy once they grow to full height.
Steyn City’s idea is that once you park your car at home on Friday afternoon, you won’t have to get inside it again until Monday morning. With a medical suite and a Melrose Arch-style shopping precinct in the works, as well as an already-developed school and equestrian centre, that’s entirely possible! Walking and cycling paths wind through the huge property, passing numerous play areas for children, outside gyms for adults, and artworks that look as though they’ve risen straight from the earth. Steyn City’s in-house ceramic sculptor Charles Gotthard mentors local artists, to conceptualise and assist with the land art that is dotted across the parklands and they add exceptional character and interest to the property.
Since Steyn City first broke ground in 2007, over 13 000 people have been employed in temporary and permanent jobs, investing in skills development. 400 people are currently employed on the landscaping crew and 23 are working on the hospitality side, with special focus on hiring from neighbouring communities such as Diepsloot as part of Steyn City’s drive to reduce unemployment in their region.