Situated on the top floor of the TRUMPET building, designed by architect Pierre Swanepoel of StudioMAS, in the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank, Marble restaurant is breathtakingly beautiful at first glance. But once you take a closer look and the finer details begin to reveal themselves, it becomes clear that this is a passion-filled project. Marble offers a dramatic dining experience centred around the open-fire grill, with award-winning chef David Higgs stoking the flames.
The brainchild of businessman Gary Kyriacou and his interior design stylist wife, Irene, it incorporates everything the couple love about their travels overseas. Irene jokes that it was a self-serving project because she was looking for “a place to go where I could dress up, put on a great pair of heels, have dinner and feel like it was a special evening; somewhere I could just enjoy and people-watch”.
They approached their branding company Grid to help tell the story of Marble and collaborated with Reddeco Interiors and four talented artisans: ceramicist Mervyn Gers; designer and artist Damien Grivas; photographic artist KrisJan Rossouw and ceramic artist Peter Mthombeni. The result is an exquisite contrast of polished European flair and raw, organic beauty.
“There are elements that are quite hard and masculine: leather, wood, metal, the fire and the grill; the chefs with their tattoos turning the meat – all juxtaposed with the pretty cornices above. I love the striking dissimilarities,” says Irene.
All the furniture, artworks and design elements were custom-made or sourced locally, except for the Grillworks, Persian rugs and Italian marble.
Cocktail hour: The luxurious yet comfortable bar has Persian carpets underfoot and an eye-catching brass filigree panelling – you can make out the ox ribcages and heads, which are repeated in the cornices above – created by designer and artist Damien Grivas. He also designed and manufactured the cement wall façade at the open kitchen and the hand-woven macrame screen, which acts as a divider between the private dining rooms and the main restaurant. The bar stools were custom made by Guideline, while the marble for the bar counter was sourced from Italy through Union Tiles.
Bar none: The floor-to-ceiling glass cellar acts as a divider between the main restaurant and the bar yet allows for a seamless flow from one area to the other. The cork standing lamps, which were fired to achieve the right colour, were created by Laurie Wiid van Heerden of Wiid Design, while the deconstructed couches are from Casamento and the leather tub chairs are from Guideline.
Plate up: All the crockery was handmade by Mervyn Gers. The plates have a raw organic beauty yet are rimmed with brass. David helped to choose the crockery and colours as he knew what would work best with the menu. The blackened octopus with crushed paprika potato, candied lemon and squid ink dressing is already a firm favourite, as is the burnt strawberries, pistachio crème, ash meringue and kataiffi dessert.
Labour of love: The impressive Grillworks, which take centre stage at Marble, was imported from Michigan in the USA. People love to sit at the chef’s table and watch the kitchen theatrics. The ceramic tiles were handmade, hand-painted and hand-fired, one by one, by Gers. It took him about six months to complete the project.
Pleased to meat you: The reception area’s dramatic sophisticated marble backdrop is offset beautifully by the warmth of the organic-shaped wooden end-grains.
Line up: The individual lamps from Anatomy Design are reminiscent of an old-school library and work well with the clean lines of the chairs by Argo. It’s the perfect place to lunch alone and enjoy the view. Also a hot spot for visitors from the nearby Mesh Club.
Glow getter: Sunset is the best time to enjoy the magnificent views out towards Magaliesberg and Northcliff.
Opposites attract: Bold masculine lines contrast with feminine detailing. When the sun sets, the tiles behind the grill turn a brilliant fiery shade. “It’s a magical time at Marble,” says Irene.
Food art: Ode to the Free Range Chicken by the late artist David Brown was gifted to Marble by TRUMPET developer Anton Taljaard and sits proudly at the chef’s table by the grill.
Ceramic gallery: Ceramic artist Peter Mthombeni’s dolos (the knuckle bone of the ox) feature wall, with the 8m macramé screen made by designer and artist Grivas in the background.