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Posted on: Monday, 9 May 2011

The Strelitzia Room restaurant at the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens

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PMB Botanical Gardens

PMB Botanical Gardens

Established in the early 1870s for the purpose of conserving and propagating rare and endangered indigenous plants, the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens is always a great venue for anyone looking to relax and unwind amongst the beauty of nature. Flowers of every description birth forth a kaleidoscope of colours and hues while tall trees shade visitors strolling along the neatly manicured lawns creating a sense of utopia seldom experienced in any city setting.

These beautiful gardens are home to the Strelitzia Room restaurant, which some friends and I decided to visit for Sunday lunch recently.  Owned and managed by well known local restaurateur Penny Hatting, the Strelitzia Room has a reputation for serving great tasting food with style and professionalism and I was eager to experience these claims first hand.

The menu is a relatively simple one, comprising a few meat and fish dishes and the usual selection of sandwiches and salads. With nothing from the menu particularly tickling our fancy, my mom and I opted for the Sunday lunch special, which consisted of a beetroot and pear soup starter, a main course of roast pork and vegetables rounded off with a helping of malva pudding and ice-cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. Avid meat-eater Mary-Anne, on the other hand, decided that an offering of steak and chips (R65) would be more to her liking.

The beetroot and pear soup had an unusual albeit pleasant taste, while the main course was well presented and tasty with both the meat and the vegetables containing plenty of flavour. However, the pork contained a little too much fat for my liking and the portion was rather small, which was disappointing considering the careful presentation of the dish.

PMB Botanical Gardens

With my mom expressing similar sentiments it was left to the malva pudding and ice cream and chocolate sauce to save the day and although it was delicious and a mood enhancer of note, it wasn’t enough to convince me that the meal represented value for money. At R85 the Sunday lunch special was at least R15-R20 overpriced and with the service (our waitress was either having a very bad day or was completely untrained) virtually non-existent, I was left decidedly disappointed.

Nevertheless, although Mary-Anne agreed that the service was poor, she was delighted with her steak and chips (which came with a French salad), describing it as “delicious and great value for money.” It certainly looked the part and would no doubt have been a much better choice for both my mom and I.

After settling the bill we took a stroll through the gardens and were soon becalmed by the beauty and splendour of the many species of plants, flowers and trees (some of which are over 140 years old) that surrounded us. The stillness and tranquillity was periodically interrupted by the harsh squawking of the resident Egyptian geese but even their unpleasant vocal emissions did little to dampen my enthusiasm to drink in the majestic beauty that is the hallmark of the gardens.

PMB Botanical Gardens

Even though our visit to the Strelitzia Room was not exactly what we had expected, it certainly is worth a visit if not just to experience some of the magnificent sights the surrounding gardens have to offer. They are truly impressive and something rarely encountered in the hustle and bustle of any modern city.

Contact details:
Tel/Fax: +27 (0)33 344 2207
Address: Botanical Gardens, Prestbury, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal

Pietermaritzburg Links:
Pietermaritzburg Attractions
Things to Do in Pietermaritzburg
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KwaZulu Natal Accommodation

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5 comments about The Strelitzia Room restaurant at the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens
  1. May 10th, 2011 at 15:11
    Jane says:

    Always good to read. Thank You

  2. May 24th, 2011 at 19:29
    Guy Mortimer says:

    Thanks Jane.

    Warm regards.

    Guy.

  3. December 28th, 2011 at 14:28
    Jolene says:

    I have to advise you of my negative experience at The Strelitzia Room Restaurant yesterday… We were a group of 6 adults (2 of which are from the UK) and 3 kids. We ordered toasted sandwiches and one cheeseburger for the adults and hotdogs for the kids. We waited approximately 40-50 minutes for our order, when we asked our waitress where our meals were, they arrived within 5 minutes and all our meals were cold. Four of us had ordered chicken and mayo sandwiches and when we opened them up all we could find was butter and a very milky paste which we assumed was mayonaise. NO CHICKEN. We then complained and asked for the Manageress. The unfriendly Manageress was clearly not trained to deal with customers and all she could offer was to put more chicken and mayo on the sandwiches and give us fresher, warm chips. This took another 15 minutes while the rest of our table finished their meals. When we got our meals back, the “mayonaise paste” had only been doubled, still no chicken in sight. At least the chips were warmer. How disappointing! Our kids would not even eat the chips, which were also cold and the hotdogs were smothered in tomato sauce (our daughter doesn’t eat tomato sauce so that was also left uneaten). I asked our waitress to give me the owners details before I left the store, she said she’d be right back, guess what – I’m still waiting for those details…. We definitely won’t be back there again.

  4. March 16th, 2012 at 13:36
    Guy Mortimer says:

    Yes, I have to say that when I did my review back in April last year I was quite disappointed with the service I received. But your story sounds horrific. What a pity you had to experience such appalling service!

    As far as I know the restaurant has changed ownership and is apparently much better in every way. I plan to return there soon. Hopefully things will be better, but you’ll have to wait and see. Beautiful scenery though, really breathtaking.

    Best wishes.

    Guy.

  5. March 3rd, 2013 at 12:32
    Tony Hickman says:

    The service here is really not good. I asked for water and ice. The comment from the waitress said there is no ice. Well within not even 5 minutes ice appeared. The mens toilets are absolutely disgusting. This i know is not part of the restaurant, but it still has an impression on the restaurant.