The All4Women team recently got to stay at the African Pride Mount Grace Country Hotel and Spa, Autograph Collection. Of course, the accommodation was out of this world and the surrounds were gorgeous, but the food was a real highlight. We got one of our writers to share her honest experience.
It’s not very often that I have said no to delicious food, but after an evening at the Mount Grace and being treated to a full meal cycle (breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, and lunch again), I had to say no. I had filled up on gourmet food and I just couldn’t eat another bite. Of course, I wanted to, but I couldn’t. The food really is that good. And what makes it taste even better, is the experience as a whole. From the amazing service to dining with a view of the Magaliesburg, it really is an ideal getaway to the countryside.
Breakfast of champions
The Twist Restaurant offers buffet-style meals where they bring the kitchen into the restaurant. The breakfast spread was very impressive, with everything you’d ever want for breakfast (including a cheeseboard, and who wouldn’t want cheese for breakfast?). From cereals and fruit and yoghurt, to eggs any way you want them and baked goods and pastries, even a picky eater would find something they like. Plus of course stacks of bacon, sausages and smoked salmon.
And then they had my personal favourite, waffles.
But not just any waffles, these were light and fluffy Belgian waffles. I was like a kid in a candy store because I couldn’t decide on which toppings to use, so I had all of them. A bit of caramel, Nutella, cream and some poached pears for good measure. It was like heaven on a plate.
Lunch on the patio
The new head chef at the Mount Grace, Stuart McClarty, put together two delicious lunch spreads for us during our stay. On the first day, we had a selection of soup, quiche, salads, prawns and mini pies.
The next day we built our own burgers and could choose to fill them with chicken, fish, beef or mushroom, with sauces. It was like a choose-your-own adventure, burger edition. And on top of all of this, there was also dessert! On the last day, I was so full, but I had to make space for a brownie (my kryptonite).
Dinner fit for royalty
The Rambling Vine is an award-winning restaurant that is the perfect way to spoil yourself. Think anniversaries, birthdays or other special occasions. Stuart McClarty, the new head chef at the African Pride Mount Grace treated us to a special six-course food-and-wine pairing for dinner. While every dish was delicious, I will focus on my favourites because these dishes are what I’ll be using as benchmarks to compare all other similar foods to from now on.
After being greeted with a glass of bubbly, we went to our seats right next to the fireplace. Fresh bread rolls arrived with an array of pesto butters. It was so good that I wanted more, but held back because as the waiter advised, “There’s a lot more coming, so pace yourselves”. It’s good advice I would like to pass on for anyone dining there.
Our first course was a tomato and red pepper soup. I’m a huge fan of tomato soup and this was the best I’ve ever tasted. We begged the chef for the recipe, but unfortunately, he wouldn’t give it to us. Watch this space because the next time I make tomato soup, I’m going to try and replicate it. Also, going forward all tomato soup will now be compared to this.
What I really liked about this gourmet dinner, was that it also catered for vegetarians. After the soup, we could choose between a halloumi or filo pastry course. I went with the goat’s cheese filo pastry parcels with asparagus. The asparagus was perfectly cooked with the right amount of crunch. The beetroot jus complemented it perfectly. I love asparagus, but now that I’ve tasted this dish, I love it even more.
Next up was salmon in an orange and beetroot dressing – this might sound like an odd pairing, but it worked so well together. Simple fresh ingredients are often the tastiest.
After this, we had our mains (I had lamb), followed by dessert (a decadent chocolate mousse) and then a cheeseboard. All this while tasting white and red wines that were chosen to complement the dishes. We ended the evening with a dessert wine and went back to our rooms, happily full and content.
And everything in-between
Apart from breakfast, lunch and dinner, there was even more food in-between! The moment we arrived at the Mount Grace, I was instantly impressed. Our conference room was perfect and the hotel had pulled out all the stops. We had a hot chocolate station, macaroons, brownie bites, fruit and savour snacks. I went straight for the coffee because after the journey from Johannesburg, at 10 o’clock I had yet to have my morning cup of coffee. The coffee was exactly what I needed and so good that I even broke my rule and had coffee after 1 o’clock. The snacks kept on coming throughout the day (we had morning and afternoon snacks).
When a restaurant has cheese platters available at every meal, you know it’s a good place to eat.
Now for the final test:
Would I spend my own money at the Mount Grace? The answer is a definite yes.
The All4Women team was lucky enough to be hosted by the Mount Grace, but after my experience there, I started looking for reservation dates because I really want to take my significant other there.
The African Pride Mount Grace Country Hotel and Spa really is the perfect spot to have a lazy lunch or book a celebratory dinner and stay over. You could also treat yourself at the spa and then have a light lunch. Whichever option you choose, you will be treated to outstanding food and great service, all while enjoying the tranquil setting.
- Booking is essential and you can find out more about dining options here
- Visit their website for more info on the spa and room rates
Clarens, Free State Province