NCW – Opening soon
We recently got a peek at what promises to be one of Joburg’s more inspired venues. Opening later this year the NCW venue and restaurant marries art and food in a home on the outskirts of Melville which used to house a book publisher.
Complete with pressed ceilings and wide corridors, the owner and trained chef ‘Ence Willemse’ gutted this old girl to restore her to her former glory. It was a yearlong project to peel back the layers. The renovation is striking and effective whilst still being wonderfully sympathetic to her charms.
Ence has earned his foodie stripes with placements at Overture, Jardine & local darling Roots at the Forum Homini. One gets the sense that his journey is somehow just beginning, though, in this fabulous little place he has carved out. His team have the exuberance of youth and the naivety and passion of a team about to embark on their journey, a group of like-minded creatives making their mark in our city.
In a landscape of many soulless venues, offering beige meeting spaces and cookie cutter wedding packages complete with horse and carriage, like some sort of Disney inspired nightmare. The grown up quirk and tranquillity of this space make it simultaneously sophisticated and warm.
The NCW will offer fluid conference facilities, meeting spaces, cocktail parties, an exhibition and pop-up space and a boutique restaurant with an ever changing menu.
The menus are a work in progress, the kitchen is abuzz with ice cream machines churning, and a hum of excitement, the smells from the open theatre-style kitchen s had us all intrigued and hoping for an invitation to be guinea pigs for the afternoon.
It wasn’t long before our wish came true and the ever attentive Ence had his team ferrying tasters of magic out to us. A beautiful glass contained a study of pear textures and delicate Prosciutto ham. Then spoons filled with a popping candy surprise which we were instructed to eat, to ignite the palate before cooling, creamy vibrant basil ice cream could be devoured. The scoops of pistachio-hued green were nestled on a biscuit crumb and topped with meringue shards.
It is clear to see the food will be playful, modern and thoughtful. The concept for the function menu’s is to design food to compliment the art and artist’s vision and message. Similarly, the seasons, the city and a license to play outside of the box will influence the restaurant’s menu.
The NCW is unapologetically chic in a classic with quirky touches way. We are excited to watch them grow. Certain views onto the courtyard make you feel that you could be on a wine farm in the Cape. A glass of crisp Chardonnay in hand, this is truly a lovely place to be. It can tempting to keep some of Jozi’s treasures to oneself but we know that the NCW is set to become an institution, so instead, we’ll opt to brag about her and hopefully inspire you to enjoy this curated, fun space.
46 Main Road, Melville
011 482 1998
PHOTOS BY DILLON DU PLESSIS