Same same, but different … itsfoodoo

 

It’s truly rare when you get to share a journey of life with a significant other.  Well, in our case, it started since the day of conception (thanks mom & dad).  The womb started our journey to self discovery, but also a sense of kin-ness of being twins and many years later that kin-ness just grew to a lot of craziness.

Apparently Stef was first to pop his head out and then it was me.  (Well, so they say).  “They”, being my mom and older sisters.  I’m sure we got mixed up a few times along the way and if I should make a call with regards to who the responsible adult is currently……. it’s me.  You see, our duo is tight.  We love food, we are passionate about wine and throw in a extraordinary experience and we are there…… like sister claire!

Being able to live our passion and experience tastes, smells, adventures and off course, a few challenges, makes this twin-ness of ours a special one.  Albeit not ours only.  We share this with our 4 other siblings, family, precious friends and off course, our social media followers whether they be facebookers, instagrammers or tweeters of note. (The whole snapchat thing is not quite working for us…….. well yet in any case).

It’sfoodoo is a dream.  It’s a vehicle.  It’s a “let’s see where this journey takes us” kind of thing and we are enjoying it every step, taste and sip along the way.  We invite you to journey with us and share some of our moments and stories.  Please take a moment to share yours with us and enrich our foodoo passion.

Yours in taste, wine and all that is good!

Janthinus (see I’m first…. LOL!) & Stef (the evil twin buaahahahaha!).

Fermier for more!

fullsizeoutput_4f21There is a saying that  states:  “Good food is equal to a good mood” and I’m a true believer that a love for food is both in the art of preparing it, but also in enjoying it.  In recent years Pretoria have seen a plethora of gastronomic experiences peek out from under the kitchen counters and we, the citizens of this great city, are reaping the ever-tasty rewards.

Award winning Fermier (Farmer in French) is unique in every sense of the word.  They pride themselves on being a self-sustainable restaurant where they incorporate everything around them, from the ground used to build their restaurant, to the garden that offers fresh produce, to the pottery shop on the premises that makes the beautiful vessels to serve delicious meals in.  Everything works together to make the Fermier experience one to remember .  Adriaan Maree chef and founder has got quite the reputation when it comes to good food and brings not only local, but also International experience to the table.  He sure raised the bar in Pretoria, when Fermier opened it’s doors not so long ago.

Arriving at Fermier, I was greeted by a lovely young lady when I parked my car.  I walked up the foot path and it felt like I was leaving the city every step I took in the dark.  Dimly lit lanterns showed the way and I arrived at a contemporary structure that resembled a barn.  It was rustic, yet classy, old charm, yet with a modern twist.  Ambience were created by perfectly chosen lighting and no more than a dozen tables nestled perfectly in the cozy space.  Clearly the space and layout were carefully planned and designed.

First things first and I had to glance over their very impressive wine list and menu that offered 9 set courses for the evening.  One thing is for sure, you are not going to get Butternut & Spinach on the sides.  (ok, I chuckled at myself when I wrote this).

 

After a glass of bubbly, we enjoyed a lovely Elands Rivier, 2014 Pinot Noir.  Delicate, with berries and rose notes with a beautiful garnet colour.  This was a good start to the evening. The menu boasted surprise, esthetic enthrall and bursts of flavour.  The food was the entertainment and the line up was impressive.

First course saw an introduction with freshly baked bread, with Duck liver parfait and canapes.  Beautiful and tasty!

 

Second course in line, was a bundle of Kingklip with black radish and smoked tomato coulis/sauce.

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Third saw an ensemble of Mussels, Squid Sea Vegetables and a light foam. perfectly prepared. (Could’ve sworn I was at the beach with every bite).

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4th Course offered Tuna on a bed of Almonds, Grapefruit, Black Garlic and Olives.

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Course 5 was surprising with Pork Neck with Summer Apple, Celeriac and Samphire.  Soft, oozing flavour and I wanted a second plate (just kidding, 4 more courses to come).

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We enjoyed Duck for our 6th course with Turnips, Verjus and Grapes.

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Lucky number 7 arrived and Springbok, tender and sliced perfectly with Porcini mushrooms, Cauliflower, Daikon and honey.  The balance between savoury and sweet was a dance of perfection.

 

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Course 8 was lighter with an good selection of fine cheeses.  Huguenot, Karoo Crumble and various fruits to compliment.

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The last course rounded things off beautifully with White chocolate and Miso. Sweet and everything you can hope for after 8 courses of utter gastronomic bliss!

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So there we have it fellow food fans! Do not be fooled, although the portions are small, they pack a punch when it comes to flavour.  Adriaan Maree and his team, don’t prepare food, they create art that is absolutely super sensory!  I would seriously recommend you make this spot, one of your top ones as it’s a game-changer when it comes to haute cuisine here in Pretoria.  Their menu also change from time to time, so it will be great to see what’s on the menu in a few month’s time.  Be sure to book your table since they offer limited seating. I believe this enables them to pay careful attention to detail and give you the best experience possible.

I will most certainly go back to Fermier, for more!

Market @ the Sheds… a day of beauty!

One of the stigmas our South African city centres, especially in Gauteng suffers from, is that they tend to be negative.  People tend to think about grey, hard and unfriendly structures and can so easily tag the city centre of Pretoria as a “dangerous” place.  I work in the city centre of Pretoria and I can by personal experience say, it is definitely NOT a “dangerous” place.  It is rather a place filled with rhythm, people awesome food and lots of beauty.

The Market @ the Sheds is one of those jewels that you will not find, if you don’t look for it.  So, my fellow readers, be brave enough, put on your big girl tights and brave a trip to the city centre.  This “dangerous” place may just surprise you in ways you least expect it.  Colour and taste awaits the moment you set foot in the heart of our capital city.  Parking is available at the 012 precinct but can be a bit of a challenge. With overflow and easy access to the parking lot at The State Theatre, makes a short walk (300m) to The Market @ The Sheds a comfortable one. 

Urban rejuvenation saw a lot of new initiatives pop up to beautify, artify (if there is such a word) and magnify the beauty we so often don’t think exists in the city centre of Pretoria.  Market at The Sheds is surely one of them!  Taking place usually every last Saturday of the month, this exciting event draws crowds from near and far and caters for young and old. 

Market @ the Sheds is a hub oozing food, colour, art, rhythm, fashion and more. Explore your culinary side with pulled pork burgers, Mexican cuisine, divine confectionery and so the list goes on.  Fine wines, craft beer and even cocktails are available and the only problem you’ll have, is choosing the right treat to your tastebuds.

Shopping is a joy as you have access to local fashion designers, jewellers, leather products and lots more to jazz up your fashion portfolio.  Enjoy the live entertainment and experience tones and tunes from jazz, pop and even a bit of opera if you find yourself in the right spot at the right time.  I want to urge you to explore your city.  Pulling an Indiana Jones isn’t necessary at all, but as Confucius says: “everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it”.  Come experience the beauty of the city centre and why not start your first adventure, at The Market @ the Sheds.   Go check out their website here and go follow them on social media to stay up to date with the latest events and opportunities and ready yourself, to be amazed.  Go! Now!

The Centurion Hotel… a landmark!

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The good thing about living in the capital city of South Africa, is that you are always just an arms-length from almost any and everything you might need.  Joburg is a mere hour’s drive away, so is the bush veld, lodges, most food spots and shopping malls.  One spot that is certainly going to capture the attention of young and old, is the formerly known, Centurion Lake Hotel.  Now, boasting a new name, The Centurion Hotel, is a landmark to everyone who frequent Centurion.

The Centurion Hotel forms part of The Legacy Group of hotels and resorts.  Not only is The Legacy Group the leading hospitality group in South Africa, but is also renowned for their presence in more than 6 countries world wide, with numerous world class resorts, hotels and bush-lodges that fits connoisseur and families alike.

I was fortunate to receive an invitation to attend the relaunch of this gem in the heart of Centurion and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  Their rooms, interior and hospitality were par excellence, their vibe is trendy and the energy was contagious.  Raymond Kodisang, the General Manager of the Centurion Hotel passionately shared their plan and dreams for Centurion and the greater City of Tshwane with us.  All I can say Gautengers, is ready yourselves for promotions that will make any weekday one to remember.

From their Crunch Lunch promotion weekdays at only R59,00, to their Quiz Night on Tuesdays will have young and old enjoy themselves at this very central hotspot.  Did I mention they have date-night on Wednesdays?  Sport lovers can make themselves comfy in front of a big screen every Saturday with kiddies entertainment being provided.  Make a point of visiting them when you have the chance and when you reach those dreaded Sundays, why not go for sundowners at their infinity pool and take pictures to your heart’s content.  Keep up to date with all they have to offer on their social media page via Facebook, The Centurion Hotel.  Being a Pretoria resident myself, I can not wait to see what’s in store next for this great Centurion landmark. There we have it people, all I can say is…. go visit them!  Now!

Silver Orange Bistro Bliss! Almost :)

Silver Orange Bistro! What a surprise!  The word “bistro” mostly refers to a small eatery that serves simple food, but in this case, it’s a small place that packs a huge punch.  Silver Orange Bistro found its feet in the early 2000’s and is situated in the Hartebeespoortdam region just a 30 minute drive from the capital Pretoria or a 50 minute drive from Johannesburg.  Nestled in between the bushveld and orchards  (yes you read right) surroundings, you almost feel like you have just arrived at your mini holiday.

The setting is very laid back and relaxed, and with adequate seating that offers you inside and outside dining, you can take your pick where to enjoy your meal.  One thing is certain, please book before you drive all the way out to Hartebeespoortdam as Silver Orange Bistro is quite popular and you don’t want to be turned away on arrival.  (so be clever – BOOK!).

They have a lovely menu that offers you culinary delights with European and African influences.  Be sure to ask them about their special offerings.  My favourite?  I enjoyed their Pork Belly with Balsamic Mash potatoes and roast peppers and aubergine.  It was well prepared and executive chef Leon Nel sure knows how to balance his flavours and marrying your palate to visual presentation.  Please visit Silver Orange Bistro’s website, to see what their standard menu offers.  Take note that they updated their menu, so you might find more items when you open their menu on arrival.

Now for the Almost part…. (yes, you thought I was going to be impolite?)  Almost Orange is just a short walk or rather stroll down the orchards just beyond the Bistro.  You are greeted by a scene I can swear is straight out of Tuscany!  Platters, Tapas and premium drinks your thing?  Then this is the place for you.  Where the Bistro offers you a great setting that suits families and individuals alike, Almost Orange caters more for adult patrons and children under 16 is not allowed.  Once again, book your spot well in advance.

So! If you find yourself looking for an adventure outside the hustle and bustle of the city perimeter, then jump in your wagon and take a drive to Harties and experience a wide selection of Gin, MCC, craft beer, wine, etc while enjoying superb food.  Well done Silver Orange Bistro and Almost Orange, this was an excellent experience.

Ok, so what about my YES, NO & MAYBE? Here goes:

YES – They offer a unique experience, good food and well rounded relaxed dining with a killer (and award-winning wine list).

NO – The service was a bit slow to my liking, but as always, when the food is good, I’ll tolerate some ‘slowness’ to my experience.

MAYBE – It gets quite hot during the summer season, so if you find the heat unbearable, please book your spot inside.  The road to Silver Orange Bistro is not in good condition and maybe you should take it slow driving there, you don’t want to ‘not arrive’ at your reservation and leave a bit earlier.

All an all, I was impressed, they will most certainly see me again.  Well done Silver Orange team! Itsfoodoo likes you a lot, no, we love you!

 

Visited the new Pachas yet?

Located in the green and tree-filled neighbourhood of Waterkloof in the capital called Pretoria, you will find Pachas.  They have moved the new development and very trendy area called The Club on the corner of Pinaster Avenue and 18th Street.  From the get-go Pachas is elegantly inviting with decor, service and crisp clean tables to match.  Their menu offers a variety of dishes carefully selected and crafted for the discerning diner. 

Swiftly (off-the-menu) offerings were introduced and starters were ordered.  One thing is for certain, when it comes to swift service, they are on top of things.  I enjoyed Smoked Marlin Carpaccio with deep fried Capers on a Rocket and a bed of micro-herbs with a Wasabi dressing.  Beautiful, aromatic and tasty.  To accompany the meal I opted for a 2015 Laborie Merlot which worked wonders with my palate.  Please check out Laborie Wines after reading this post.  Main course saw a special medium-rare beef Fillet topped with Halloumi, a green salad and potatoes that were pan friend with bacon that is crispy golden brown bliss personified.  Naturally the side dishes offered a familiar face in the form of creamed Spinach and Butternut.

I must say, I glanced at the dessert menu and resisted temptation due to the lack of space in my tummy.  They do offer lovely “traditionals” like Crème Brûlée, Italian Kisses, Cheese cake and lot’s more.  So my my overall experience at Pachas was positive and very memorable.  Food was delicious and beautifully prepared.  Pachas is priced to the higher range in terms of their menu and be sure to fork out a little bit more but the food and experience is well worth it.  You will definitely see me back again and thank you for a delightful evening.

Jip! It’s almost Pinotage & Biltong Festival time!

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The month of October is not just the month of lovely purple Jacarandas, the intro to spring and exam time for students, but it’s the month where the Pinotage & Biltong Festival will take place in all it’s grandeur and splendour!  Ask any South African what icons we own as a country and certainly, Biltong will be one of those.  Equally important in stature is off course, is the South African wine varietal, Pinotage that is truly South African in every sense.

14 & 15 October will see Leriba Lodge in the capital city erupt with these two icons on offer to festival-goers to enjoy.  The proverbial cream of the crop wineries that will make their #Pinotage & Biltong Festival debut will be Altydgedacht, Beyerskloof, Delheim, Flagstone, Kaapzicht, Koelenhof, La Couronne, Lanzerac, L’Avenir, Mellasat, Overhex/Balance Wines, Perdeberg, Rhebokskloof, Slanghoek, Simonsvlei, Vriesenhof and last but not least Wellington Wines.

Biltong will surely not be in short supply and you will be able to pair your wine of choice with the different flavours of biltong and droëwors to your heart’s content!  My personal favourite you might ask?  Meet me there and I’ll personally give you my perfect combo.  The weekend will be a fun filled, family-friendly event that promises lots of entertainment with great festive ambience.  Not only is this an event for wine and biltong lovers, but this festival also support The Pebbles Project as their charity of choice.

Ticket prices are available at a mere R220pp online through www.plankton.mobi or www.computicket.com and as with any wine festival that is worth their weight in grapes, you will get a branded wine glass with coupons to taste the day away.  Gate tickets will be available at R250pp.  Please remember to book your designated driver or transport service well in advance.

Since it’s purple season here in The City of Tshwane, the obvious dress code for the weekend will be white and purple.  Should you decide to dress totally OTT (over the top) you might just win a prize or 6!  Remember to check in when you arrive at the festival and use the hashtag on your social media platform of choice #PinoBiltongFest.  For more information on this Pinotage & Biltong Festival spectacular, visit the Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/165129700654574/ or contact CVO marketing on their website www.cvomarketing.co.za.