Day 32: Not-So-Much-Freedom Day

Waking up to the pitter-patter of the gentle rain this morning was a welcome surprise. It made me feel less guilty for a slow start out the blocks. Most of the days during lockdown have been sunny and warm – beach and ice-cream weather. I will never be blasé about living in a seaside town again, because even though I hate the sand, I wouldn’t mind just sitting on it, watching the waves break.

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Review: Bellevue Restaurant

I’m a firm believer of taking the road less travelled, because often, they do lead to stunning destinations, unless you get lost, of course!

On Saturday a friend celebrated her birthday and invited me to join her and some others at a place called Bellevue Restaurant, at The Village Lodge.  It is about 40 minutes’ drive from my house, seven kilometres of which are on a well-maintained gravel road.  A bonus is that on the way, you may get to see some game.  In this instance we saw zebra, Cape Buffalo and some antelope (but they were too far away to photograph).

Zebra 1Cape Buffalo

It is essential to book ahead if you’re planning a visit, as the lodge may have guests, and they have preference to dine at The Bellevue.  The atmosphere is relaxed, as both the lodge and restaurant are child friendly.  There is a luscious green lawn where kids can run around to their hearts’ content, as well as a jungle gym and tyre swings.

Saturday’s meal was so impressive, that I booked a place for Sunday, intent on taking a follower-friend and my parents for lunch.

Saturday’s meal consisted of two harvest boards:  A Ploughman’s Platter and an Antipasti Platter, and three pizzas:  Parma Ham, Cajun Chicken and Pulled Pork.  The platters are colourful and fresh.  The orange slices on the ploughman’s were sweet and juice, without spitting in your eye.  The pizzas were delicious too, and have super-thin bases, making them easy to fold to enjoy your pizza calzone-style if you prefer.

Afterwards we had milkshakes for dessert.  I’d seriously go all the way back there just to drink another one.  The Lemon Meringue one I had was out of this world!  There are other options, like Bar-One, Salted Caramel and Peppermint Crisp to name a few.

Lemon Meringue Milkshake

Sunday, after our coffee-stop, we hit the road again; this time we saw zebra, some antelope and rhinos.  Even if we’d gone home starving, seeing the rhinos would have been enough.

Zebra 3Rhino and ZebraZebra 2

We were seated outside, close to the bar area, and if it’s a little chilly, there are light blankets available for patrons on request.  There is also seating indoors and in the evenings the fireplace is lit.

Our lovely waitress, Claudine, took our drinks order and within a few minutes we were clinking glasses, drinking to happy days and new places.

I ordered a Ploughman’s Platter for the four of us (which mind you, was enough for us to all have our fill).

Ploughman's Platter

Follower-friend opted for the Parma ham pizza (as I told her it’d been a hit the day before), Mom had battered fish, hand-cut chips and salad, Dad had pork hock served with mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables and I opted for a rosemary Karoo roast lamb sandwich on seed loaf with sweet potato fries and salad.  That seed loaf tastes almost sweet and has a cake-like consistency.  Deeeeee-lllliiiii-cious!!!!

At the beginning of our culinary adventure, we’d wanted dessert, but we were so full we had to take the leftovers home, so we’ll have to go back for sure.

Menu

There are dishes for every taste, ranging from mid-level to high prices.  The quality and freshness of the food justifies the price, as does the service.  The waitstaff are always close by, without hovering over patrons, which is a huge plus.  There is also a large selection of beers and ciders I’d not seen before until my visit.  The cocktails described on the drinks’ list sound superb, but if you’re driving, I’d probably say it’s safer to give them a miss until you can savour them and have someone drive you home.  The setting is tranquil, and given the distance from home, a delightful place to escape to over a weekend even if only for a cocktail, coffee and something light to nibble on.

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.  Highly Recommended.

Review: 4 Cousins Bar & Bites

I’ve not reviewed a place in a long time.  Frankly because I’ve not got out much in the last couple of months, and when I have, it’s been to a place known to me.

On Saturday, I took The Bean and The Toppie to lunch for the latter’s birthday (which is today) to a place called 4 Cousins Bar & Bites.  It’s been open for a while, but I’ve only ever driven past.  When The Bean and I were discussing places to go, she asked if we could do lunch somewhere different and we took a risk, which paid off!

The restaurant wasn’t busy when we arrived around lunchtime.  It is tastefully decorated:  cosy, homely and inviting.

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We were seated at a comfortable booth and our needs were seen to by a lovely, friendly waitress called Carlin.

I’m not allowed to consume alcohol with my medication , so I asked for the one of the two non-alcoholic beers on drinks menu and she told me they didn’t have it, but an alternative (not listed on the menu) was available, so I opted for that.

When it came to taking our food order, I was undecided between a chicken wrap or a lettuce burger (you can clearly note I’m serious about my health and fitness again).  Carlin recommended the lettuce burger, telling me that it is what she personally eats most often.

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The Bean ordered a seafood combo which consisted of a fair-sized fillet of hake, nuggets, calamari, chips and a small Greek salad.  I ate the olives and the feta.

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The Toppie opted for a chicken schnitzel which is served with choice of either a cheese-, mushroom or pepper sauce and a choice of two sides, either chips, sweet potato fries, salad or onion rings.  He went the same route as  The Bean.

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As a surprise I ordered jalapeño poppers for him and I to share.  They were well presented and tasty.  The small salad on the side also included some olives and pomegranate rubies (which I love!)

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The food took a while to arrive, but it was clear that it has been freshly prepared and everything was cooked to perfection.  The plates were also hot, which is something I appreciate.  Unless I’m ordering a salad or a chilled consommé, I like my food hot.

The Bean, who hates calamari, gave me what was on her plate, but when she saw my eyes roll back in with pleasure, she had a taste and ate the majority of the strips.  The fish was the best she’s eaten in ages, it just flaked off when touched with the fork.  The Toppie clearly enjoyed his meal as well, because I had to tell him a few times to wipe the pepper sauce off his face.  My burger was tasty, and not heavy as is sometimes the case with a conventional, bunned one.  The mini marshmallows used to garnish the delicious sweet potato fries were a nice touch.

Living in a small town, especially one that is still very much a “holiday” one, I personally am inclined to visit the same places, only going to a different one on the recommendation of someone I know well and whose judgment I trust. In this case I had no such insight on which to base my decision, except a few reviews on Facebook and Tripadvisor from nameless strangers.

All in all, it was a five star experience, from start to end.  The only regret I have is not having enough space for dessert, but… we’ll definitely be back!