This is an exquisite Asian-themed boutique all-suites hotel aimed at the discerning traveler. Suites are large with equally large bathrooms that have deep soaking tubs and Oriental rugs on the marble floors. There are also shower cubicles with views over the surrounding hills and a separate toilet. All suites feature collectible objets d'art. The Constantinople suite has a 300-year-old Indian four-poster bed; others have a mix of antique and period reproduction pieces.
Instead of bathrobes, guests will find in their wardrobes authentic galabayas, the all-in-one caftan worn in the East. Giant carved timber doors and reflecting pools are found throughout the property. All the rooms offer views over the surrounding hills. If walks in the conservancy (zebra and eland roam freely) don't appeal to you, there's an extensive library. Mosaic restaurant has been recognized for its superlative French cuisine. There's an on-site cinema and a museum of sculptor Tienie Prichard's work.
Crocodile Valley Rd., Francolin Conservancy, Tshwane, 1779, South Africa
Jun 13, 2014
Restaurant Mosaic is situated on the premises of the Orient Hotel, a truly luxurious Middle Eastern gem situated in the bushveld at the base of the Magaliesberg Mountains. Just entering the grounds of the hotel was an experience all of its own which heightened our excitement for the meal to follow. We were greeted by our wait staff and shown straight to our table, a delightful little booth in an interestingly eclectic intimate restaurant, and
offered some water. Award winning chef, Chantel Dartnall, came to our table and ran through the menu with us, explaining each course. Her enthusiasm for seasonal ingredients and her passion for food were tangible. A bread cart was brought to the tableside and we could select of the variety of fresh baked breads on offer. We tried some sourdough bread, basil bun and fruit loaf. All of which were delicious but the fruit loaf was phenomenal and we could happily have snacked on that for the afternoon. The meal that followed was an unbelievable, once in a lifetime experience. I unfortunately am not sure that my food expertise did the dishes justice; my enjoyment of them however could not have been any greater. We decided on the wine pairing option and elected to try local wines rather than international, we are proudly South African, after all. The Sommelier, Germain Lehodey, served us a delicious sparkling wine to enhance the flavours of our bread. We started with a tiny slice of Brioche served with Rosemary and Lavender Butter. The brioche was silky soft with a crunchy little crust and the herbed butter complemented the sweetness perfectly. Amuse Bouche 1: Radish ribbon with salmon roe and grape pearls, and goat’s cheese ball rolled in dill. The tart crispiness of the radish contrasted deliciously with saltiness of the salmon roe as they burst in my mouth and the goat’s cheese brought a wonderful creamy texture to balance the dish. Amuse Bouche 2: Avocado roulade filled with cream cheese and shitake mushroom. There was a delicious balance of creaminess from the avocado and cream cheese which was tempered with the dried shitake mushroom. Amuse Bouche 3: Beetroot terrine, gel, jelly and pannacotta with horseradish sorbet and cream. This was a little bit of heaven on a plate for me. I adore beetroot and was thrilled to experience all the different textures of this vegetable. The horseradish perfectly accompanied the earthiness of the beetroot. The interesting serving plate could even be utilized as a Zen garden, as the glass plate lifted off the sand filled wooden base. Needing to take a little break from all the deliciousness we took a breather out in the plant filled courtyard where the fishpond provided soothing burbling water in the background creating a wonderfully tranquil setting. Amuse Bouche 4: Snail Trail - ‘L’Escargot Bourgogne, filled with Mushroom Duxelles and Cauliflower Cappuccino. (Snails in butter, filled with Shitake mushrooms; Shimashi mushroom, radish, fresh asparagus, dried asparagus, fresh cauliflower, dried cauliflower). Not being a snail eater, I tasted this dish with trepidation. Wow, the snails were delicious and just melted in my mouth, while the mushrooms added just the right amount of flavour without overwhelming them. The cauliflower cappuccino was creamy, flavourful and a divine little mouthful. Hors-d’oeuvre: Frog in a pond - Tempura of frogs legs with a fragrant Morel Mushroom Jelly and Consommé. A first for me, never having had frog’s legs before, I was curious about this course. They were wonderful! The mushroom jelly and consommé however did not appeal to me and I did not enjoy the taste or texture of this accompanying dish. Le Entrée: Land and Sea - Pan Seared Scallop and Baby Langoustine Tail with Garden Pea Ragout. What a tasty combination this dish was. The scallop was seared to perfection and the langoustine was pure magic. The pairing of the seafood with peas was genius. We were served a palate cleanser of Lemon & Bergamot Sorbet. Unfortunately we did not enjoy the flavour of this at all, thinking it tasted like a hand sanitizer. Luckily we were served our main course and needless to say with our palates cleansed we were able to taste each component perfectly. Les Plats Principaux: Prints in the Paddock - Veal, sweet meats, beef cheeks in gravy and seasonal vegetables. The playfulness the plating added to the charm of this dish. The veal was tender and the beef cheeks a taste to remember, truly divine. Les Plats Principaux: Pebbles on the Beach - Kabeljou with a Clam Velouté. The kabeljou was firm and moist but the clam velouté was insipid and did not add anything to the dish. The accompanying vegetables were bland. The kabeljou was definitely the star of this course. Le Fromage – The Cheese Platter. As with every course, the waiter explained everything on the plate, however, by this time I was in sensory overload and was so totally overwhelmed by all the new tastes that I did not record what each cheese we were served was. Even so I was able to enjoy every bite, with each component adding to the next. I do remember that there was fruit bread, walnut, sunflower seeds, quince jelly, apple sauce and apple slices served with the variety of cheeses. The Fruit Platter which followed comprised of apricot, strawberry, grape, blue berries and a cream cheese mousse; once again pure perfection in every bite. Desserts were served: Pollination - Homemade Honeycomb Ice Cream and Orange Blossom scented Sponge Cake with fresh Bee Pollen. This was as decadent as it sounds. The sponge was moist, the ice cream creamy and the orange blossom sweet and tangy. A Walk Through our Sweet Garden - Textures and tastes of Violets and Spice. This little dessert of chocolate tart, violet ice cream, chocolate twirl, mascarpone pannacotta and crumble was a taste sensation. I relished every little bite. A Scent of Jasmine was served in a little shot glass and then our meal was rounded off with Coffee and Petit Fours, which turned out to be banana suckers, truffles, pear & green tea jelly and milk tartlets. The plating throughout was spectacular and added to the enjoyment of the meal. It was like receiving a beautiful painting to feast the eyes before feeding the mouth. The serving staff was beyond attentive without being intrusive making us feel special and well taken care off. The cost of this expedition will undoubtedly place it well out of the average diner’s budget, however, if you enjoy food and want to have a once in a life time experience, Restaurant Mosaic is the place to go. The entire meal was a genuinely delightful sensory explosion and one which I will always remember.