Mpumalanga’s Gourmet Route
|08 September 2009
The pulling power of fine cuisine takes Sumeera Dawood on the Lowveld’s Gourmet Route.
I have always traveled to eat. From Rome to Hong Kong, exploring to me has meant hunting down local hotspots and tucked-away gourmet finds where new tastes have the opportunity to unravel in your mouth.
Imagine my giddy delight, then, when Mpumalanga’s Lowveld launched its Gourmet Route. The land of macadamia nuts, litchis, mangos and avocados, the Lowveld is known for its relaxed pace of life: think simple living, slow food and pleasure-centric lifestyles. And its Gourmet Route was created especially for those, locals and tourists alike, who don't let life's little pleasures get away.
Trickling from Nelspruit down to Hazyview, the Lowveld Gourmet Route covers the four top fine dining restaurants the area has to offer. The restaurants include Summerfields Kitchen, Oliver’s Restaurant, Orange and Salt. So prepare for a local food adventure - go with a ravenous appetite!
Restaurants on the route:
The Lowveld produces some of the country’s finest fruit, vegetables and nuts, such as avocados, litchis, mangoes and macadamia – and Orange’s chef GT Lundie has used these local showstoppers in the most flamboyant way on his extensive menu. Situated just outside the city centre, Orange serves classic French cuisine with a continental twist. Enjoy the roast shoulder and rack of lamb, dried fruit cous cous and rosemary vanilla jus, or the sweet and sticky duck with five spice and onion marmalade - all while soaking in one of the most superb views of Nelspruit.
Just outside of White River, nestled near the first green of the White River Golf Course is Oliver’s Restaurant - the epitome of country chic. They combine a relaxed country ambience with exquisite Austrian and Mediterranean cuisine, and are famous for offering the most gracious service on the gourmet route. Chef Oliver’s dramatic flair for colourful, palette arresting pieces of art on a plate will leave you well satisfied. Try the Kudu medallions on a cabernet-cranberry sauce, or the ever-popular German Eisbein on sauerkraut with bacon, parsley potatoes and mild mustard for a taste sensation. If you’re in the mood for something a bit different, Oliver’s also offer fun fondue-style dining in their romantic wine-cellar.
Salt Restaurant, between White River and Hazyview, embraces the ethos of injecting zest and liveliness into food. Focussing on comfort fusion food, Salt’s menu presents a variety of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes including Kudu, guinea fowl and other venison. A delightful favourite is the Kudu carpaccio served with a sambal of stewed peppers, sweet chilli and herbs, or try the Jamaican Jerk Butterfish with a salticrax crust. Their extensive collection of South African wines enhances their splendid menu, proving that food and wine are perfect partners.
The last stop on the gourmet route is Summerfields Kitchen in Hazyview. On a working macadamia and rose farm, Summerfields Kitchen combines farm-style hospitality and gourmet country cuisine for a completely different dining experience. For one, there are roses everywhere: on the counters, on your table, in your plate, everywhere! The effect is spectacular: you are transported to magical place where food is fragrant, tastes are poignant and the living is good. Try the head chef Lienkie Erasmus’ Thai infused crocodile & black tiger prawn curry or the Klein Karooostrich fillet with crushed lemon & garlic potato, roasted vegetable and berry jus. For dessert, the rose infused crème brulee is a must.