BACK ON TRACK
We too are breathing a sigh of relief as the restaurants and wineries can limp back to business with fewer restrictions, and we wish courageous, innovative chefs and their times renewed vigour and energy.
A leisurely lunch on the terrace of the Belmond Mount Nelson made me feel as if my world was relatively normal. It took me back to the halcyon days when connecting with a client was over a coffee or lunch. When one could truly connect, and not on Zoom.
BACK IN THE KITCHEN, BACK IN ACTION
Lockdown has obviously allowed executive chef Rudi Liebenberg and his team time to be innovative. They are clearly smiling at being back in action. Their new a la carte menu for lunch and dinner, served daily from 12h00 to 14h00 and 18h00 to 21h00, is beautifully presented, and the plant-based option sure to convert any hardened carnivore into a flexitarian. Interesting techniques, as explained by chef Rudi, using local ingredients, have resulted in a wide variety of intriguing dishes. Captivating canapés included a smoked carrot on blini with cashew cheese that you could be forgiven for thinking that you were dining out on smoked salmon. Snacks like the brinjal biltong too is sure to be a winner. The salad and sandwich page includes light dishes like a rice-paper vegetable wrap and a more substantial mushroom burger. There is something for everyone at palatable prices.
TECHNIQUE AND TASTE
I had no order envy when my friend ordered the catch of the day and my aubergine schnitzel bake with a tomato sauce and plant-based mozzarella, elevated with the addition of exotic mushrooms, was a served. A taste of a few sweet dishes, stimulated by the legendary high-tea offering wafting past us, fuelled a debate about which was the best. The chocolate brownie or the carrot cake, the chocolate éclair or the pecan pie, the vegan cheesecake or the blueberry tart? Pastry chef Kirsten Hellemann explained the techniques used in creating these masterpieces, and the petit fours boxed as a take-away gift. Animated and slick service from experienced tea sommelier Daryl also piqued our interest in tea. So, with the sounds of the pianist tinkling away in the background, I started to mentally clock through my birthday calendar, looking for an excuse to book high tea at the Nellie to celebrate something. Perhaps to simply celebrate surviving another day?