Cuisine meets creativity at Sandton’s Kashew Restaurant

Located in Newmark Hotels and Reserves, Sandton-based The Catalyst Hotel opened its doors to the public just six months ago, with its own eatery, Kashew Restaurant, already dubbed a noteworthy dining destination.

Led by Chef Justin Maharaj, Kashew Restaurant not only invites the outdoors with large windows and wide, open spaces; it also lends itself to an ever-changing gallery, recently brought to life in partnership with upstART Galleries.

UpstART Galleries is the result of a joint initiative of White Hall Venture Capital Company (WHVCC) and expert art curators, who source emerging visual arts from local artists.

Director Jaclyn Ellert said: “UpstART Galleries is fortunate to partner with Kashew Restaurant to showcase emerging talent. The restaurant provides the perfect environment for our gallery to gain exposure in a trendy and popular space.”

She says the passion of their team and the excitement and enthusiasm of the performers created something remarkable and that what was initially a review project has proven that where there is passion, there is potential. UpstART Galleries currently supports multiple artists on a monthly basis and provides financial and business guidance, as well as exposure of their works at The Catalyst Hotel’s Kashew Restaurant.

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At the official launch of Kashew Restaurant, both the reception area and the restaurant walls were decorated with beautiful local artwork that wowed guests. The decor and design of the hotel and restaurant is elegant yet simplistic, bringing out works of art like this.

You can expect works by artists such as Jibril Linjoum Achu, who hails from Cameroon and sold his first painting at the tender age of seven, and paintings by artist Teboho Makoatsa, who says, “I use a personal expression of solid characters and living imagery to to express the beauty and innocence of everyday life in South Africa.”

You’ll also find works by the talented Treatwell Mnisi, who says he “applies impressionist characters to a surface to create an image”.

Place settings at the official launch of Kashew Restaurant
Place settings at the official launch of Kashew Restaurant. Image: Renate Engelbrecht

The general manager of the Catalyst Hotel, Robert Chifunyise, says, “The art is truly one of our big attractions at Kashew Restaurant,” and if you look at the art while indulging in a Kung Pow Salmon Poke Bowl, you’ll understand why . Here, diners can savor spectacular cuts while feasting on Chef Justin’s sophisticated-yet-homely menu items, including favorites such as the 28-Day Aged Sirloin with roasted marrow bones, brandy sauce, and hand-cut fries.

Small plate of poke bowls at Kashew Restaurant
Poke bowls with small plates at Kashew Restaurant. Image: Renate Engelbrecht

Chef Justin says that every dish has a story and a memory attached to it, almost like art. He says all dishes have traveled and evolved with his personal cooking style to become what they are today — and what you’ll find on Kashew’s menu.

Ultimately, cooking is also an art form and chef Justin likes to experiment with new dishes. That’s why diners can occasionally expect specials from the all-day main menu, which currently features a brand new dish called the Pan-fried Mozambique Prawn Pasta, which features rich tomato-chili linguine, lime, fresh dill, Parmesan and arugula.

The latest addition to the Kashew Restaurant menu
The latest addition to the Kashew Restaurant menu. Image: Renate Engelbrecht

Chef Justin is also currently working on a new conference offering and set menus for what he and Robert call “Intimate Conferencing” at the Catalyst Hotel. They plan to provide businesses with a remarkable conference experience, as they can boast of being “a fine restaurant, with a real focus on food, rather than just being a hotel offering food and conferences.”

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