{The Grootbos Chronicles} The Food Review



Welcome drinks : grapefruit, orange and lime with ginger ale

This past weekend we were utterly delighted, spoilt and pampered at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. After an exciting email arrived inviting us, we were literally counting down the days until our trip. Situated just after Stanford, we took a leisurely drive up the gorgeous route and arrived at the most gorgeous, quiet retreat.

The experience was overwhelming, to say the least, and I won’t be able to do it justice in just one post – I’m starting with the food (of course) and will slowly share all aspects of our experience at Grootbos.

Soon after arriving, we were offered breakfast (at the leisurely hour of 11h00) - which is a two part affair : a cold selection of cereal, cheeses, cold meats, fruit and pastries, followed by your choice of hot breakfast. Ranging from the classic bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and sausages to pancakes, French toast or flapjacks – and hot oats for the truly dedicated.
  
Enjoyed leisurely on the deck, or inside with a roaring fire if the weather demands it, it is the perfect start to the day. It was the quietness that we normally experience in the early hours of the morning, before the world awakes – except at Grootbos, the hooters or traffic never appear. Instead you’re greeted with birds chirping, and the occasional Hummingbird watching you as you sip your latte (I was thrilled at my first Hummingbird sighting). 


Lunch is described as “light” – that is, if you can call a three-course lunch light. With a selection of salads, fresh bread rolls, line fish goujons as the starter, it’s then a chalkboard menu of the hot dishes of the day – ranging from sweet and sour pork with green-flecked couscous, spicy cabonara, salmon wraps and pickled cucumber salad – it really is a comprehensive affair. Dessert on day one was the most delicate vanilla-flecked pannacotta topped with fresh figs – sadly I got so stuck in to Luke’s portion, I didn’t take a photograph of it. However, it has now set the bar high as far as pannacottas go for me.

While lunch is predominantly focused at the guests on the reserve, the restaurant is also open to members of the public, should space allow. Best to phone first and make a reservation.

Smoked salmon and avocado wrap with pickled cucumber salad
Spicy cabonara
Dinner was a treat in the form of a 6-course menu. Delicious and wholesome, while still remaining elegant and stylish. On our night there, we enjoyed:

Savoury scone with Beetroot Puree
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Ostrich Terrine with Berry Compote
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Hot and Sour Tom Yum Soup
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MIxed Fruit and Rosemary Sorbet
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Grilled Lamb Loin with Battered Zucchini and Celery Puree
Bouillabaisse
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Amarula Brulee with Vanilla Shortbread
Assiette of Chocolate
Selection of Cheese with Homemade Compote and Fresh Fruit

Savoury scone with beetroot puree
Grilled Lamb Loin with Battered Zucchini and Celery Puree
Amarula Brulee with Vanilla Shortbread
Assiette of Chocolate
Selection of Cheese with Homemade Compote and Fresh Fruit
There were so many highlights, but to share a few : the ostrich terrine – slow cooked, ‘pulled’ ostrich neck with a sweet and tart berry sauce, a smooth-as-can-be sorbet with just the right amount of rosemary, the lamb with a silky smooth celery puree (which was a first for me) – admittedly we completely over-indulged when it came to pudding. I could not choose between the three delights on offer, so we sampled all three – potentially the best decision of the night! Everything was a triumph.

Grootbos’ Growing the Future project is on the reserve (I will tell you more about that in a separate post) and it was wonderful seeing the chickens that provided the eggs for the restaurant, the expansive vegetable garden and the happy, sleepy pigs. Next time I'm bringing my wellington boots and collecting eggs in the morning!

A little peek at the vegetable garden
Happy egg-laying chickens
In keeping with its 5* standards, Grootbos provides food worthy of the experience, while keeping the balance between wholesome and elegant. No fear of super pretentious dishes, but you are assured of food you will look forward to, and leave you well-satisfied afterwards.

Note : We enjoyed our visit as guests of Grootbos - all views, images and thoughts are my own.


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