The way the burly gentleman opens the huge steel door is nothing short of dramatic. The Marabi Club has a special and unique allure to it. Stepping inside feels like going back in time, in a very beautiful way! The entire space is designed in such a way that virtually every surface has an aged feel to it and all the art pieces adorning the walls are either dated, in black and white or both! It instantly made me feel nostalgic, nostalgic for a place and time I have never lived in, think Sophiatown maybe, with its rich artistic expression. I digress.
As you walk in you are welcomed by the impressively stocked bar to your right. I obviously had to do a quick stop there for a single dram before proceeding to my table. The restaurant itself is fairly sizeable with its most prominent feature being the live band playing soothing jazz tunes on one end of the room. Sicelo, the friendly and well-dressed manager let me know that the music was not a one day special, diners are treated to live jazz music on weekday evenings and weekend afternoons. Marabi feels like a real throwback until you start dining. Their menu is refreshingly different. They don’t serve big or main meals at Marabi, no. Everything comes in entree portions, the menu has about 6 to 8 options of small servings, and diners are encouraged to select at least 4 of these. You select your 4 all at once, by literally pencilling on the menu, and then these are rolled out one after the other all the way through to dessert, whilst you are serenaded by beautiful sounds all the while! Truly beautiful to say the least!
So I kick started my adventure of a dinner with a Seabass Cerviche, on the back of that I had a Crispy Calamari dish, served with ham, cauliflower and fresh cream source. At this point the only thing I would have changed would be the size of the portions! For my third dish, I tried out the Marabi Mussels, I was really anxious about this as I really love mussels, suffice to say the Marabi Mussels dish which is made with a bit of Carling Black Label Beer and sour cream did not disappoint, at all! To cap a totally incredible culinary adventure I had the Layered Pana Cota for dessert, made of layers of both white and dark chocolate with small grape fruit slices for a contrast in flavour and aesthetic appeal, utterly divine!
The place has soul, both in culinary terms and musically. The service I received was faultless. Imagine a feeling of familiarity in a place you have never been before.