Have you ever had to choose a favourite restaurant or place to dine, and you soon realise that it is an impossible task. Who out there can honestly have just one? It is almost as difficult as picking bridesmaids, a best pair of heels, or a favourite 80’s dance move. We then decided that we could not pick just one, so take a look at some of our all time most beloved places to dine at in South Africa.
Granny Mouse Country House
Granny Mouse Country House and Spa is in the magnificent Caversham Valley in Balgowan and surrounded by gardens overlooking conservancy areas on the Lion’s River. Granny Mouse offers two stunning restaurants each unique and different.
Granny Mouse Bistro
The menu at the Bistro is a simple yet delicious restaurant menu that reflects the gentle midlands meander surroundings, yet caters for more casual dining. This is a lovely area where children can join their parents for a meal at the lovely country house.
Using local produce, the dishes are fresh and well thought out. For a more casual meal, their scrumptious burger is popular with locals. It comes with lashings of mushroom sauce with hints of truffle; the smell alone makes you want to tuck in. The evening menu allows you to choose either a starter portion or main portion for every dish, which encourages diners to experiment. The menu changes regularly, but you will find the likes of salted calamari served with homemade aioli, local lamb and duck and, of course, a great selection of Midlands cheese.
Fine Dining at Eaves
Granny Mouse is always seeking out the best ways to re-create, re-invent and re-energise.
The Eaves menu is an ever evolving work in progress, focusing as much as possible on the finest seasonal ingredients available. Adding to the flamboyant fare, Chef has paired an enticing, flavour packed Gourmet adventure for guests to experience the real tastes of Eaves. Pairing wine and fine cuisine Granny Mouse has entered another realm with its seasonal Degustation Menu, recommendations including:
Baked Brie in Phyllo Pastry, Apricot Almond Chutney, Preserved Figs, perfectly paired with Nougatine Boplaas Ruby Port. Try the Sesame Tempura Prawns Rice Pilaf, Spinach, Thai Coconut Puree, paired with Klein Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc – 2012.
Whilst for something more meaty, Lamb Loin, Rack and Sausage Bean and Zucchini Tomato Stew, Spicy Olive Tapenade, Fondant Potato, complimented by the De Grendel Shiraz – 2011.
All ended off quite decadently with Chocolate Fondant Orange Sorbet, Jelly, Orange Crème.
The menu is varied and imaginative, drawing on contemporary South African tastes with a dash of Europe. The colonial eclectic décor with wing-back chairs will make you want to stay for hours. You may also want to sip a cognac in the cigar lounge after dinner.
Ten Bompas design hotel is the perfect Home from Home in Africa, situated in the upmarket neighbourhood of Dunkeld, Johannesburg.
Winehouse, the beautiful boutique hotel’s restaurant, seats 50 people. The name of the restaurant was inspired by a painting of Amy Winehouse by Joanna Flatau, a Polish artist living in Paris. Reflecting the heady combination of French flair, good times, great food and wine, the painting embodies the laid-back energy backdrop of this restaurant.
Guests are served in Winehouse with its warming fireplace in winter, or on the terrace or gardens beside the pool for al fresco dining through the spring and summer months. Fresh seasonal produce for the restaurant is sourced from the hotel’s own organically grown vegetable gardens and the contemporary European-inspired menu with a strong French influence, is sure to appeal to the discerning diner!
For starters, the Joostenberg Duck – cured and roasted, with Soba Noodles, Red Miso Broth and Chimichurri, is sure to delight the palate. When it comes to mains, the Sea Bass, with White Bean Purée, Chorizo, and Olive, served with Bouillabaisse Sauce is a fine recommendation. All the main courses are served with a side service of Hasselback Potatoes & Green salad.
Wine continues to be a feature of Ten Bompas and guests are welcome to browse through the double-volume, glass-fronted wine cellar overlooking the swimming pool, and select wine to accompany a meal. The cellar contains several thousand bottles of South African vintages and a large collection of auction wine purchased each year at the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction in Stellenbosch.
Clico Boutique Hotel
The Clico Boutique Hotel is perfectly situated in the surprisingly tranquil and leafy suburb of Rosebank in Johannesburg
Offering a modern interpretation of old-fashioned South African fare, the food at Clico Boutique Hotel is thoughtfully prepared and stays within a traditional and safe space.
Fine Dining at Clico
Think Springbok Loin with Red Wine jus, Butternut soup with Almonds, seared Salmon with Couscous, and Chocolate Fondant with Berries. The menu changes almost daily, offering seasonal variety and new menu items for their numerous loyal patrons. Weekday lunches offer a small à la carte menu, while for evenings and weekend lunches a five-course tasting menu with or without wine pairings is available. These tasting menus offer good value for money and generous portions.
Dining at the Clico boutique hotel is smart, casual and homely all at the same time – this space feels like you are dining at a friend’s house. It’s also a great space for a private party or small event. Their regular themed lunches and dinners, like Christmas in July and special wine pairing evenings, keep locals returning for more.
We highly recommend the succulent pan fried Springbok Loin served with a tasty Parsley Risotto, Al Dente Seasonal Vegetables and their delectable Red Wine jus, paired with Villiera Merlot; a firm favourite. You can also try their perfectly Grilled Beef Fillet with Pomme Fondant and Glazed Root Vegetables, served with a rich Black Pepper sauce, which when paired with a Saxonburg Cabernet Sauvignon, completes a scrumptious meal.
Summerfields Rose Retreat & Spa
Summerfields Rose Retreat & Spa is a place of tranquillity, a place to relax and shake off the city blues, the ideal place for a romantic getaway. Summerfields is situated just outside Hazyview, Mpumalanga and just 10 kilometers from the Phabeni gate to the famous Kruger National Park and is within a short driving distance to Sabie, Graskop, White River and many of the Lowveld’s beauty spots.
Dining at The Summerfields Kitchen
Dining at Summerfields is a gastronomic experience, and you will be surprised to find out that this is not the kind of food that you might expect of this area, as it falls more classically into a fine dining category.
The menu is small and specific and determined by the produce on the day. It changes rapidly, depending on what is freshly available in their beautiful extended vegetable and fruit gardens.
On the day, you may find yourself sampling their Smoked Tomato Soup or Textures of Tomatoes, dehydrated, pickled and poached with a Basil Dressing and Buffalo Mozzarella, followed by a light Fennel-infused Risotto with Tomato and Beetroot served with a crisp Fennel Foam, or Line fish, Sous Vide Fennel, Salt and Pepper Squid, Parsnip Tortellini or a comfy Karoo Lamb Loin with Celeriac, Parsnip Purée, Couscous, Anchovy and Roast Garlic jus.
Desserts include sweet treats like a Hazelnut Chocolate Soufflé and Madagascan Vanilla Bean ice cream, or a Macadamia Chocolate Bar with Praline Shards, Butterscotch and Strawberry ice cream.
There’s a romantic air, with white linen tablecloths, silver candlesticks and a flourish of subtly scented roses from the Summerfield estate to add that delicate touch. Diners are seated inside and out, overlooking a vegetable garden, and the sounds of wild animals in the distance to remind you that the Kruger National Park is around the corner.
Browns of Rivonia
Once a rambling old farmhouse, Browns is a Johannesburg landmark. Situated in the heart of Rivonia, the restaurant boasts one of the finest wine cellars in the country as well as offering total tranquillity in its private gardens.
Browns of Rivonia
Browns of Rivonia opens onto a charming terrace overlooking a secluded garden and shimmering koi pond. Food lovers and connoisseurs alike especially book for Monday nights where a visiting winemaker presents a fine selection of wines. Guests get to hear amusing anecdotes by passionate winemakers, making the evenings entertaining and inspiring.
The stunning wine cellar, holding up to 30 000 bottles of select South African and International wines, includes French Champagne labels, labels from Bordeaux and Burgundy as well as labels from the Rhone, Italy, Spain, Chile, Australia and California.
Scrumptious starters include Venison Carpaccio; which is shavings of Venison Carpaccio topped with succulent Button Mushrooms and Goat’s Feta Salad, complimented by a light Pistachio Dressing. Their delicious Duck & Black Cherry Spring roll, is a blend of Duck and Black Cherries, wrapped in a crispy fried Spring Roll, served with Bean Sprout and Watermelon Salad; another must try starter.
One of their signature ‘must try main meals’ is Eric’s Prawns. These Whole Prawns simmered in their unique version of Naçionale sauce, rounded off with a dash of Parmigiano, served with rice and stir fried vegetables, is delectable. For those who yearn for a more meaty meal, order their Braised Lamb Shank, slowly braised for five hours in a Red Wine and Rosemary sauce, served with a Brown Lentil Ragout and Seasonal Steamed Vegetables.
End off your meal with a rich Dark Chocolate Torte, resting on crushed Pecan Nuts, and finished with Forest Berry Compote. Their Amarula Tiramisu is also another favourite, as this classic Italian dessert is incorporated with African Amarula Liquor and Finger Biscuits, served with fresh Raspberry Coulis.
As you can see, choosing just one beloved place to dine is next to impossible with all of these unique and varied dining experiences throughout South Africa.