Chef David Higgs, well-known for his award-winning stints at Rust en Vrede and The Saxon Hotel, has teamed up with Gary Kyriacou to open the first life fire cooking restaurant in Joburg. Higgs will be bringing this international trend to Rosebank – the restaurant is to be called Marble, and it will open in the Rosebank Art Mile (Roam) in May 2016.

The restaurant is described as a celebration of quintessential South African fare and cooking on fire. “Marble will embody South Africans’ love of cooking with fire, a quality that makes our food culture different from the rest of the world,” explains Higgs. “I’ve long been fascinated by what makes South African fare unique, and I believe it’s down to us being meat and flame enthusiasts – the timeworn ritual of cooking on wood fires, and gathering with friends. That’s what Marble will celebrate – and not just meat, but all types of ingredients cooked on coals – including fish, poultry, vegetables and breads.”

While Cape Town has a higher number of fine dining restaurants and celebrity chefs, Joburg’s diners are looking for an experience – a night out somewhere sophisticated, unintimidating and affordable. Higgs has been in Johannesburg since 2011, and with The Saxon since 2012, “It’s been an incredible journey,” says Higgs. “I was open to a new adventure and a chance meeting with Gary proved to be exactly the opportunity I was looking for. The timing couldn’t have been better.”Higgs’ business partner in the venture Gary Kyriacou has over 20 years of experience in a variety of retail and hospitality spaces, including being involved  in the hospitality programme for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. “I have wanted to open something like Marble for a long time. However, I needed someone with a real passion for food to bring it to life. Once David was on board that the idea really started to take shape,” Kyriacou explains.

Marble will seat 250 guests, providing a view over both the Joburg skyline and of the intense live-fire cooking. Downstairs, there will be a butchery where guests  can take home some of the cuts of meat from the Marble menu. Future plans for the venture include openings of Marble in Dubai, London or New York. “We really believe the concept of Marble has international appeal, but we want to get it right here first,” says Kyriacou.

“Joburg is hungry for something different, and we look forward to providing this in May 2016,” Higgs concludes.

Keep an eye on for more news on the restaurant.