A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by my usual sushi spot to get takeaways on my way home from work. It was late in the evening, and the nearest open parking bay was quite a distance down from my sushi joint. For some reason, 11th Street in Parkmore is always busy and bustling. Anyway, I parked my car and took a stroll up towards the restaurant. On my way there, I passed a rather intimate looking place… Big glass doors, with couples drinking red wine and indulging in what looked like top notch food under candlelight behind them. I was a bit confused.
If you’ve ever dined on 11th Street, you’ll know that the places on this road aren’t exactly, ahem, glamorous… I gazed up at the signage above the doors. It read “Thomas Maxwell Bistro”. After picking up my sushi, I called up my boyfriend, Nik, and told him we were going to try a place called Thomas Maxwell for dinner that weekend. And we did.
That Saturday evening, we arrived at the bistro for dinner. I’d made a reservation a day in advance to ensure we’d get a table. As soon as I walked into Thomas Maxwell, a sense of calm and romance was triggered. The décor is super simple, but ever so beautiful. I loved the soft lighting, which made for a very relaxing ambience.
Our very warm and welcoming waiter seated us at a cosy little table near the back of the one dining room (there are two small-ish dining rooms; in total the restaurant seats 65 people). The table was gorgeously lit up by candles. Just what I wanted! Because we all look flawless under the golden glow of candlelight, you know?
We were handed a specials menu, the standard menu and a wine list. The kind of cuisine you can expect at Thomas Maxwell is contemporary French. The unique bistro is sure to satisfy you with an exceptionally well thought out and enticing menu that’s perfectly matched to their comprehensive wine list. Nik and I first ordered a bottle of Meerlust that arrived promptly.
One of the chefs then came over to our table to make a couple of recommendations and tell us about their specials. Deciding on a single dish was a tough call… He made everything sound so divine! I ended up going for their signature Mushroom and Wild Porcini Risotto (a rich black mushroom and wild porcini risotto complemented by fresh parmesan cheese and a touch of truffle oil). Nik ordered the Henwood’s Beef Pasta (strips of pepper fillet and chorizo tossed with penne pasta in a spicy Napolitana sauce, topped with wholegrain mustard cream). The food didn’t take long to reach our table, and it truly blew us away when it did! It was amazing! Our expectations were certainly surpassed. Beautifully presented, wonderfully flavourful generous portions… Both of our dishes were just amazing.
Although Nik and I were pretty full after finishing up our mains, we couldn’t resist ordering dessert. I ordered the Beignets (Thomas Maxwell’s take on French doughnuts, served with cinnamon sugar and dreamy chocolate dipping sauce), and he went for the Lemon Tart (three mini light and tangy lemon tarts topped with slices of fresh strawberry). The desserts were as gorgeous and delicious as our main meals. Every bite was memorable!
I’ll definitely go back to Thomas Maxwell again and again. In fact, I’ve been planning my next visit ever since perusing other tasty choices on their menu like Duck and Porcini Pietettes, Warthog Carpaccio and Prawn Pasta. Yum! Darlings, if you’re looking to wine and dine at a non-invasive yet vibrant French-inspired establishment, this is the place! Thomas Maxwell is really such a lovely surprise in the middle of Parkmore. And trust me – it’s worth every penny!
Address: 140 11th Street, Parkmore, Sandton, Johannesburg
Phone number: 011 784 1575
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/thomas-maxwell-bistro