Formerly, this Lodge only offered breakfasts to casual diners, other meals being served to residents only, but it had always done very well in this contest, gaining consistent five plate ratings for its breakfasts. So it would be interesting to see what they could offer for dinner. Arriving at 6:30pm, it was a fair trek to the dining room from the parking area indicated, but we soon realised the dining area is historically centrally located to accommodate guests in the lodges, the extension of the casual diner option being a recent innovation.
No one was around to greet us or show us to our table, so we stood around feeling a tad out of place. A waiter eventually came out and directed us to one of five set tables, one of them appearing set instead for breakfast, with teacups and saucers. The waiter then disappeared, so we sat and waited a while, discussing the décor. The restaurant is thatched, with a huge chandelier and constantly flickering lights – these need attention.
Wooden masks adorn the walls, the tables are wooden, with a variety of comfortable chairs in different styles. On one side of the room was a large table ready to be set for a buffet, decorated with ostrich eggs and hoshos. Above this were two mounted impala heads. The other side of the room had a fireplace with a mantelpiece decorated with vases filled with African grasses, above which was a mounted eland head. Perhaps the time might have come to remove such relics of a past and rather different view of African wildlife, especially at a Lodge which welcomes tourists from abroad, to many of whom, killing such lovely animals for its own sake might seem anathema? A few of the lodges in this country still display such trophies as part of their décor and it is at odds with the purpose of most visits by tourists here – to view and enjoy our game, not shoot it!
Our waiter finally returned and offered us soft drinks. When asked if they had alcohol he listed various local beers, so we specified that we wanted wine, and he wandered off again to find us a bottle. Returning, he placed a well-chilled bottle of rosé on our table, went to the kitchen and returned yet again, this time with wine glasses, which he placed on the table, and left. I figured this meant our wine would be self service, and was pleased the bottle was a screw top! We proceeded to open and pour some.
Our waiter now returned with a menu and diligently informed us of which dishes were unavailable that night. He hovered at the table as if uncertain what to do next, so I asked him to give us some time to discuss our choices and he left us to it. The menu was simple; we could order a three-course meal from various options. When our waiter returned I ordered the Pangolin Salad for my starter and the Chicken Suprema for main course, my partner the Forest Fritters and the Grilled T-bone Steak. I asked for rice and vegetables with my chicken, my partner went for fries with her steak.
The starters were a long time coming, but were worth the wait. The Forest Fritters consisted of batter dipped mushrooms and a garnish of tomatoes and cucumbers. The mushrooms were well-cooked and would have been perfect with a little more seasoning. The Pangolin Salad consisted of lettuce, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, tuna and a tangy, vinaigrette dressing. It was delicious.
My Suprema was described as two chicken breasts, crumbed, deep fried and served with cheese and mushroom au gratin. My partner had ordered T-bone steak, so imagine our surprise when the waiter shows up with neither, and instead, with beef medallions. He then delivered a T-bone steak served with rice and vegetables – but we had ordered fries. I decided to eat the beef medallions, in the end, as the order had taken a while, in view of which, we also discussed the practicality of ordering dessert. The medallions were in fact very tender and well cooked and I enjoyed them, though the vegetables were less impressive. My partner’s T-bone was delicious.
Expect to spend US$30-US$45 per head
54 Carrick Creagh Road,