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Winter Tasting Menu at Granny Mouse

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I had the opportunity to go and do a tasting of the brand new Winter Tasting Menu at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands.

Although I haven’t had the pleasure of staying at the hotel as a guest, I have been there before.  The food is always outstanding, and it’s the situated in the most gorgeous part of the midlands meander.   On my drive up, there were trees in all shades of orange, gold and red (my absolute FAVOURITE part of Autumn), and the air was chilly yet fresh.

Walking from my car to the reception, I was greeted by several members of staff strolling past, in the most friendly fashion – even the security guard at the gate was lovely and welcomed me with a smile!  It’s so rare to find this kind of warmth in every single staff member at a hotel.

 

I was greeted in the lounge next to reception with a crackling fire and a glass of delicious Louisvale Chardonnay Pinot Noir Rosé MCC handed to me by the General Manager, Sean Granger.

Sean explained to us that The Eaves restaurant at Granny Mouse, where you will be able to experience the tasting, is all about a unique and fresh approach to dining, and how they like to bend the rules when it comes to the way the meals are put together.  You can experience ‘country-relaxed’ fine dining at The Eaves, as opposed to a very uptight and formal dining experience.  This lends to it’s ‘home away from home’ feel that is guaranteed to you coming back for more!

GM9

The creators of the amazing dishes are not referred to as mere ‘chefs’ at Granny Mouse, but rather as ‘Culinary Artists’, which is exactly what they are, as the dishes are works of art!  The planning for each dish is started as a sketch, and we had these on our menu sheets that were at our seats when we sat down to begin the delicious task of tasting.  So carefully thought out and planned.

The first course consisted of a Chickpea & Garlic puff pastry parcel, which was served with sour honey poached melon cubes, mildly spiced curry cream and coriander pearls, garnished with crispy coriander leaves.  It was served with a glass of chilled Hartenberg 2014 Riesling.

I tried a taste of all the elements of this dish separately, and together with the wine, and they all work so well together.  The pastry parcel was warming and absolutely divine, but when paired with the very gentle curry cream and the coriander pearls and sour honey melon, it was the perfect combination of sweet and savoury flavours, and the ideal cold-weather starter.  The Riesling brought out the sweetness of the melon and honey too, which just added to the flavour.

First Course

First Course

The second course was a Dill & Verbena Sous-Vide Kingklip with white cabbage frittata, brandy flambeéd orange segments, maple carrot puree & candied orange peel.  This course was served with a beer!  The Old Main Brewery 1806 Real Ale. 

Whoever would have thought to pair a fine-dining meal with a craft beer? Clearly the Granny Mouse culinary artist’s really do know how to cook outside the box, and it worked SO WELL!  I’m not really a beer drinker, but this Real Ale was just light and delicious, and just bitter enough to bring out the flavours in the dish.  The kingklip was perfectly cooked, and the white cabbage frittata was surprisingly delicious.  But the star of this dish was the maple carrot puree – it had the most incredible smokiness to it, and when tasted with the orange segments and candied orange peel, it was sublime.

*fun fact – Old Main Brewery bottled the Real Ale especially for Granny Mouse, and this is why they are plain, dark-glass bottles with no labels!*

Second Course

Second Course

The third course was a House-Smoked Lamb Loin, pan fried with brussel sprouts and mint, served with toasted sunflower seed crusted oyster mushrooms, sunflower seed brittle and mint jus.  This smokey delight was served with a glass of Fairview Pegleg Carignan 2009.

I am a huge lamb-lover, and this dish did not disappoint.  The meat was smoked in-house by culinary artist Wyland Green, and was melt-in-your-mouth tasty.  I am, however, not a brussel sprouts eater, yet I ate everything on this plate!  I think the smokiness of the meat and the sweetness of the mint and seed brittle just brought out a nicer flavour to the sprouts.  The sunflower seed crusted oyster mushrooms were also delicious, and I was left with a clean plate once again.  All of this paired with the lovely and rich red wine was the perfect combination.

Third Course

Third Course

The fourth and final course was a sushi-lovers delight.  An Asian Infusion of a spiced basmati rice pudding maki roll, wrapped in Rooibos jelly and stuffed with carrot puree, topped with wasabi white chocolate gel and sesame tuille, and served with cranberry ginger caviar and cucumber sorbet.  This was served with straight-up ice-cold Pimms No 1.

This was just creative food at it’s best.  The dessert was served as if it were real sushi, with the ‘ginger’ and ‘wasabi’ on the side – what was in actual fact pink cranberry and ginger caviar, and the most incredible cucumber sorbet, topped with verbena leaves.  The ‘sushi’ itself was divine!  The basmati rice in the rice pudding was the perfect amount of crunchy, the carrot puree was a gentle flavour to the slight burn of the wasabi white chocolate gel, and the Rooibos jelly wrapping was firm and delicious! When you managed to get a little bit of each aspect of the plate, onto your spoon and into your mouth at once, it tasted just like a proper Pimms cocktail with all of the trimmings, and this is why it was ultimately served with Pimms liqueur.  To me, the idea of cucumber sorbet in a winter dessert was so novel, and yet with all of the other flavours it worked to create an out-of-this-world winter dessert.

Fourth Course

Fourth Course

All in all, this has to have been quite possibly the best meal of my life.  Every element was delicious and paired together with so much thought and attention to detail.

The hotel and grounds are unbelievably beautiful, and the perfect combination of old-school charm, and modern amenities.  It’s also the perfect place for a romantic weekend away with your loved one, or the ideal venue for a wedding (I myself will be attending a very close friend’s wedding there next year – great choice my friend!).  They also have a spa, for those decadent pamper treatments that we all want need to get every so often.

Chapel

Chapel

At the moment Granny Mouse are running some fabulous specials, so please check out their specials page on their website.  They have the more fine-dining restaurant, The Eaves, as well as a more relaxed Bistro restaurant, as well as an extensive wine cellar, where you can have various tastings (the brandy and chocolate tasting sounds right up my alley).

The Winter Wonder 2016 special is by far the best value for money you can get on a romantic weekend away.  It consists of the following: –

  • Minimum 2 nights stay in a Garden or Deluxe Room
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • 1 x 30min back and neck massage per person
  • A R250 discount voucher to put towards any future visits
  • 6 bottles of delicious wine to take home with you on departure

All of that gloriousness comes in at a total of R3300 (R1650 for 2 nights stay).  This is valid until the end of September, so if it sounds as appealing to you as it does to me, then get booking ASAP!

And finally…

Granny Mouse are running a fabulous competition on their Facebook page!  During June, have a selfie taken in the frame at their Selfie Point.  Share it on your social media platforms, tagging Granny Mouse and using the hashtags provided, and you will be entered into a draw for the best #GMselfie for June.  The winner receives the unbelievable prize of 2 nights in a Deluxe Suite for 2 people, including breakfast, a 5 course food and wine pairing dinner in The Cellar on one night, and a Brandy and Chocolate tasting.  This prize is valued at R7000!!!

The point is to get creative with your selfie, so go on and get snapping 😉

A huge thank you to Granny Mouse Country House and Spa, the General Manager Sean Granger, and the Culinary Artists Kirstie du Toit, Wyland Green and Leon de Kok for a fabulous afternoon.

#GMSelfie

#GMSelfie

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Accomodation

Honeymoon in the most romantic place in KZN

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Planning the ideal honeymoon can be exceptionally daunting, not to mention expensive, but if you’re looking local, and want to continue the romance long past your wedding day, Granny Mouse Country House & Spa is a definite contender! Renowned for being one of the most romantic getaway destinations in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, this idyllic retreat offers the perfect setting for a romantic honeymoon, with its tranquil atmosphere, breathtaking scenery, world-class facilities and attentive staff.

Granny Mouse’s accommodation is luxury at its finest, ranging from their secluded garden rooms, nestled in their spectacular gardens, to their sprawling deluxe suites with private balconies overlooking the Lions River. Each and every room has been designed with comfort and luxury in mind, and are equipped with large bath tubs and aromatic bath salts and oils for those intimate evenings in.

Following the excitement of the wedding, what could be better than relaxing in their on-site, state-of-the-art spa, which offers an extensive range of treatments and therapies, including hydrotherapy to replenish your mind and body before you have to get back to reality?

One of the standout features of Granny Mouse is a culinary haven, offering guests a diverse range of delectable experiences. From their fine-dining restaurant, Eaves, with its sophisticated menu of modern fusion cuisine, to their open-sky Bistro, providing a more casual dining experience, and their wine cellar, which is undoubtedly the perfect spot for a romantic dinner for two. These, coupled with their award-winning wine menu, will have you toasting to your new life together. No matter where you choose to dine whilst on honeymoon, the Granny Mouse team will pull out all the stops to ensure the most romantic of occasions.

In addition to the fantastic facilities, Granny Mouse Country House & Spa is also ideally located for exploring the surrounding area. From picnics in the Caversham Valley to wine tasting, or just taking a leisurely stroll around the local stores to choose some new items for your home together, the list is endless.

Don’t miss out on an unforgettable honeymoon. Book your stay at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa today and let their team ensure a romantic and memorable experience for you and your partner.

BOOK HERE

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9 Reasons 1 Licorna Beach is the Ideal Umhlanga Stay

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In the heart of Umhlanga Beach lies a beautifully furnished, newly renovated beach house. Being a double storey with views and access to the ocean, 1 Licorna Beach is the perfect luxury getaway.

Suitable for both business and vacation rentals, this beachfront property will give you the “home away from home” relaxed feel with a pool, garden, outside braai area.

This beach house can accommodate up to 6 guests, and comprises of 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area. Stay entertained with smart tv, dual view DSTV and free wifi.

We’ve listed 9 of the many reasons why 1 Licorna Beach should be your next stay in Umhlanga:

1. UMHLANGA PROMENADE ACCESS
Enjoy direct access to the Umhlanga Promenade: a stretch along the Umhlanga coast and nature reserve, perfect for walks or runs and home to restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream spots and local vendors.

2. DIRECT BEACH ACCESS
Go for a swim in the warm Indian Ocean or chill on the shore. With beach access and a choice of four beaches in walking distance, what more do you need? Make sure there’s a life guard on duty if you go for a dip!

3. UMHLANGA NATURE RESERVE​
Explore the coastal wildlife, birds and forest along the Umhlanga Nature Reserve wooden boardwalk and trail. Be sure to check out the Bike & Bean coffee shop at the Northside of the Umhlanga Promenade.

4. FINE-DINING RESTAURANTS
Spoil yourself with a dinner date at The Chef’s Table or the 14 on Chartwell, both just a stone’s throw away at Umhlanga Village.

5. FREE WIFI
Stay connected with 1 Licorna’s free wifi during your stay. Whether for business or leisure, you and your family or guests are covered.

6. DAILY HOUSEKEEPING
No one wants to do the dishes & sweep on holiday! What’s better than arriving back to your accommodation to find it’s been cleaned?

7. 24 HOUR SECURITY & SAFE PARKING
Safety is a priority at Licorna Beach. Relax knowing that you, your family & belongings are tucked away in a gated, access controlled estate.

8. POOL ACCESS 
The communal pool is available for a dip, if the sea isn’t calling. Whether you’re braaiing, chilling or just cooling off – it’s nice to have options.

9. SELF-CATERING
Explore new restaurants or enjoy the comforts of home cooking. Remember, you won’t have to do the dishes either. Don’t forget to have a braai while you’re at 1 Licorna.

To book your stay:
Cell: 083 492 3241
Website: www.1licornabeach.co.za

Address:
82 Lagoon Drive, Umhlanga

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Accomodation

Want to stay in the heart of Cape Town? Here’s why The Cape Milner should be your go-to.

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For Durbanites, a trip to Cape Town is always enthralling. White-sand beaches, throngs of restaurants, and sea life sightings are just some of the things we look forward to when visiting our Mother City. Of course, the various accommodation on offer forms part of said hype – and can either make or break your experience!

Well, we’re here to tell you this: If you’re looking for a hotel that’s contemporary, comfy, central, quiet and not too costly, we’ve found the place for you. Not to mention its fascinating decor, great hospitality, and luxury charm that just wraps you up and keeps you snug throughout your entire stay.

The opulent Cape Milner building matches Cape Town’s Victorian aesthetic. But inside you’ll find a mix of art-deco, modern and African chic; much like the feel of modern Africa today.

As if wedged at the bottom of Table Mountain, the views from the rooms and lounges are spectacular. We particularly enjoyed dining out in the swanky Glass Lounge, where you can look up into the blue sky or night stars while you enjoy a hearty lamb shank below.

Our homely rooms overlooked the serene Milner Road, with its impressive avenues of trees. We were given complimentary macarons on arrival and enjoyed them with tea as we watched the rain pitter-patter on the tails of unbothered squirrels — how cute! The Milner Hotel really is a place you can enjoy come rain or shine.

The hotel was the absolute, perfect base from which to explore pretty much everything and anything. Just a few minutes drive away lies Bree and Kloof  – two favourites, Metropolitan streets for tourists and locals alike. Over the few days of our stay we visited many great spots, all within 5-10 minutes away.

We sank our teeth into cheesy pizza at the much-hyped “I love the dough” and tried out “Mochi Mochi” for dessert; we ordered fizzing and steaming cocktails from “Cause and Effect” at the V&A; and of course, we spent a fun-filled evening at the cheeky and illustrious “Beefcakes” in Green Point.

After each jam-packed day, coming home to our state-of-the-art bathtub and luxurious linen was the cherry on top. It fitted in perfectly with our diverse range of activities we had planned, and matched the entire style of our trip.

We didn’t want to leave!

And of course, we can’t wait to stay again…

To book your stay at the Cape Milner, contact

Tel: +27 11 516 4367
Email: res@extraordinary.co.za

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