REVIEW: Brahman Hills, Midlands
Three girls from Durbanite were tasked with finding the perfect girlfriend’s getaway. Read up on what they had to say about their experience at Brahman Hills.
THE MIDLANDS KITCHEN
Mouths salivating at the thought of brunch, after each of us skipped breakfast to be awake and ready for our road trip and Midlands weekend away. Fact. If anyone plans to go for dinner there is usually a lot of umming, and ahhhing. Someone is in the mood for Mexican, but what Mexican restaurant sells Pizza? Or someone wants a salad, and someone wants a cheat-day-burger, and someone is suddenly a converted vegan. It’s exhausting. We’ve all been there. Women are indecisive. We know it, men know it, and we accept it. (And The Midland’s Kitchen know this too!) With over 15 restaurants to choose from, it made a girls only (concentrate of indecisiveness) a lot more bearable. At least, so we thought…
Seated, with a view of the soft hills, and lavender, we were handed comprehensive menus, detailing what was on offer. We settled for a taste of the Mediterranean with the platter for two with falafels, smoked garlic aubergines, lamb kebabs, hummus, beef skewers, feta, olives, carrot strips, red peppers and bread sticks. And crispy chicken nuggets, chips, honey and srirracha sauce served with sweet potato fries. And a juice. This was the tricky part… You can design your own juice, each ingredient providing beneficial health properties. This was certainly too overwhelming for the likes of us. There are also other already formulated juice recipes, all named after areas in the Midlands Meander to choose from.
“What juice do you recommend?” We asked the waitress. (Cleary remarking on the mere challenge we faced while trying to select a juice.) She suggested The Nottingham. Health benefit- Brain Food. Well, can’t argue with that… Brunch, was then concluded with Tiramisu and caramel toffee gelato.
Tucked just behind the N3 Highway is home to the Brahman cattle that roam Brahman Hills. This fortunate and unexpected location makes it easy for 3 girls with a sometimes less than reliable GPS navigator. All gelatoed out, and with stretched legs we were ready to embark on the next leg of our road trip. This road trip involved us hopping back into the car and driving several meters to be suddenly met with laser cut steel cow cut outs and the beautiful entrance of Brahman Hills.
On our way to check in, we noticed a room beautifully decorated in various table settings.
“Are you having a wedding?’’ we asked. (They were having a tasting and mock–up setting.)
“Are you looking for a venue?” The lady enquired.
“No! We’re looking for a man!” We laughed, she laughed, she told her colleague what happened, they both laughed. (A little too hard for our liking…)
With cheerful and friendly staff, Brahman Hills feels like a home away from home. (At least, we wished our homes looked like that.)
A family of cats were being fed outside the reception, and one of the staff members made sure that each of them got enough food. It was with this comfort, that we were assured we would not go hungry.
And duly so. Brahman Hills contains two restaurants, 89 on Copper and the Brahman Hills Café. Which we were to certainly experience. (There is also the Stables Restaurant which is open by arrangement. Seating up to 90 people the restaurant is fully serviced with a private kitchen and in room bar, which is great for conferences or weddings. But we were here for pleasure!)
As the smell of cappuccino wafted through from the coffee bar we were led down some stairs. Although bringing an undercover-lover to the cellar and underground bar would seem like a good idea, this is definitely the place to be. Softly lit by copper lights illuminating the concrete that drips down the raw and exposed brickwork, the cellar and bar area have several seating arrangements all warmly lit by various fires, perfect for snuggling, wine tasting, a casual drink, or even business meetings. That’s right, there on our navigation tour, were some people having a business meeting. Not just a place for undercover lovers it seems…
After our tour through the newly renovated hotel and cellar, we were lead through the beautifully landscaped gardens to the chapel. The chapel, constructed of timber and glass panes, frames a tranquil vista of a dam. That was the moment Bianca and Sabrina decided that this man-hunt was now no laughing matter. Brahman Hills is an exquisite wedding setting with several reception venues and packages to choose from. With a variety of eventing venues seating from 10 to 400 people, which is ideal if you have a really large extended family, and of course, if they all happen to accept the curtesy invite. Or even if you are fortunate enough to work for a company that holds business functions or conferences here. Preferably with the bonus breakfast buffet. (If there is a job opening at described company, please respond with a private message.)
The self-catering cottages, all named after animals, instil the notion of being situated in the Blue Crane Reserve. More concerned about food, and relaxation in the Jacuzzi rather than exercise, we didn’t fully experience the walking trails, but noticed that Park Run takes place through the nature reserve at Brahman Hills. (For those who choose to run on a Saturday.) I suppose running through a reserve with wildlife does sound alluring enough… But if you are not built for speed, you’ll be pleased to know that there are no predator animals. (However, did not see any Brahman cattle, so, let’s just hope you don’t roll an ankle…)
We stayed in one of the 6 sleeper self-catering cottages, overlooking the beautiful hills and dam. The cottage is equipped with DSTV, a Kitchen, and a private Jacuzzi (which we spent most of the late afternoon giggling in while we posed for many a photo.) The bedrooms each have their own bathroom, which made 3 girls getting ready for our evening at 89 On Copper an absolute breeze. The cottages are also serviced. This we realized only after we came back to beds ready to hop in (and a sudden self-awareness of how messy our “getting ready” had actually been.)
We were chaperoned into the dimly lit 89 on Copper restaurant. With soft playing music, and ambient lighting reiterating a romantic setting. The restaurant is open to the public and bookings is an absolute must. An a la carte menu is available but the highlight is their Chef’s Selection menu – a 3 course set menu with 2 options per serving. This menu is designed by their Chef and changes every night.
We had the heart-warming butternut soup with sweet potato and croutons, foam and herbs. Followed by the Beef sirloin, served with rosemary mash, corn puree, a parmesan disk, and pak choi (which google tells us is a Chinese cabbage, and what our gut tells us is why we didn’t see any Brahman). Just when we couldn’t handle any more, we were presented with the baked cheese cake. And we did not resist.
“The zebra are here every morning.” Shelley told us. Yeah, sure… Well, waking up at 5.30 to a sunrise, and sipping tea while a herd of zebra grazed in front of our cottage was well worth waking up to. After trying to convince Shelley to hop in our private Jacuzzi, but being 6.30 am and Siri warning her to Stay Dry (due to rain. Which never happened. Thanks Siri.) She declined.
Breakfast was served at the Brahman Hills Café. A spread of fruit, cereals, yoghurts, cheese, nuts, juices and scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, sausages and mushrooms were displayed. Fried, or poached eggs and toast may be ordered to your liking. After our breakfast we rolled out into the gardens for a slow walk before our Spa appointment. Yeup. Cows (if you see them), cats, cross-country running, a chapel, cottages, zebra, dams, windmills, wedding and conference facilities and even a spa?
The spa, like the cellar area, was not what was expected. In a contemporary, corrugated barn like structure, pierced with porthole windows overlooking the vivid colours of the lavender and herb garden. The deep blues of the lavender and sky reflects in the interior colour scheme.
Transported to a place of serenity, with full bellies, once again, we lounged on the arm chairs, sipping water and watching the tranquil trickling of the water as it cascaded down. The stillness, was interrupted when Shelley, blissfully ordered a cappuccino. Her whisper, contradicted by the deep humming of the coffee machine. Scared we would miss our appointment, we stayed awake. And thanks to Shelley and her coffee machine, it wasn’t hard. We opted for a back, shoulder and neck massage, which also involved a wonderful arm massage (the perks of having arms connected to your shoulders…)
“Do you carry a lot of things?’ The therapist asked Sabrina. At last, Sabrina thought. Finally, the years of moving furniture, carrying fabric books, and wallpaper had paid off. And someone had noticed… (but it was more due to knots than any muscular definition, unfortunately.)
Shelley, took advantage of one of the various bathrooms after her massage. How divine does a cappuccino in a bath tub actually sound? Or just a hot and quick shower after an oiled up massage? Bianca, still complaining about leg day (but truth be told, it was probably the little walk to the dam that finished her) decided on a leg massage instead. This time, her waddle improved to a little spring in her step when we wandered back to the car. And just like that, with our left over baked cheese cake, oodles of photos and a collection of memories of our latest girls’ weekend away, we left our country escape and headed back to Durban.”
Visit their website for more information: www.brahmanhills.co.za