I think the French got it right when it comes to food. Their habit of eating quality, petit portions appeals to me greatly. For them it’s the whole idea of ritualistic eating – an entire experience, which I’ve been thinking is what fine dining is really all about. Now, while some may be bored of the fuss, and others might sneer at the emphasis on such tiny morsels, I do not. I simply love the mindfulness of eating that way, not to mention the quality and finesse.
Experiencing The Greenhouse
Seated at The Greenhouse at the Cellars-Hohenort hotel, Constantia, the atmosphere is warm, and the decor smart but simple. I like the fact that I’m sitting in a conservatory – a symbol of plant protection – and about to taste the restaurant’s spring creations. It is as though the ingredient have been secretly growing in there. And indeed they have. Then the time arrives and you have it before you: green spring magic. I couldn’t have imagined what I was about to experience.
To start with, a delicate bread nest arrives as the menu is explained. There’s also a small dish with what looks like two white marshmallows in it. Next, the waiter pops the two white things into the little water dish and – voila! – they expand into hand towels. Of course. And with that the tone is set for an enchanting evening.
The staff members are very clued up and provide excellent service as they bring out the various courses. There are food innovations aplenty, and I indulge my appetite as much as my mind. The mini mushroom cheesecake is a first – and unforgettable, as are the intriguing perlemoen sosatie and the perfect kabeljou with brassicas. The Greenhouse is also about celebrating South African “flavourites”, and I like that about it too.
The five-course menu is a voyage of delightful miniature taste discoveries, each carefully wrapped and astonishing. I can now understand why the table next to us make this their anniversary staple (they’re celebrating 13 years). As nature blooms outside, so The Greenhouse delivers on fresh, inspiring way of dining. I think I will always favour it.
Words: Claire Barnardo