Known for its award-winning menu and fine dining, The Eaves restaurant at Granny Mouse Country House in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands is indeed a fantastic restaurant as I discovered when I visited the establishment for lunch recently. Situated a little way off the well-known R103 that runs through the heart of the Midlands Meander, Granny Mouse Country House is about a 30-minute drive from KwaZulu Natal’s capital, Pietermaritzburg, and about an hour and a half from Durban, the provinces’ tourism hub.
An avenue of elegant looking trees flanked the dust road that led up to the establishment, which consisted of a number of buildings closely grouped together. Best summed up as a curious mix of the old and the new as far as architecture is concerned, Granny Mouse has a unique appearance that is both inviting and intriguing.
I was especially fond of the quaint chapel, which was neatly positioned between the car park and the reception area. Surrounded by beautifully manicured lawns the chapel epitomised the tranquillity and serenity of the surrounding Caversham Valley – undoubtedly one of the most beautiful sights of the Midlands.
Upon entering I immediately felt at home courtesy of the warm greeting I received from reception staff who promptly directed me to the restaurant where Jacques, Granny Mouse’s food and beverage manager, was waiting to welcome me. The Eaves offers a choice of three dining venues for guests – a private dining area for romantic dinners, a table in the intimate dining room or the deck overlooking the spectacular valley. My mom and I chose to sit in the dining room, which sported a thatched roof and tasteful décor that set the tone for a memorable dining experience.
The menu offered a number of interesting dishes such as the salt and pepper squid (R85), crumbed brie and candied walnut salad (R85), grilled trout (R110) and the shitake mushroom and green bean risotto (R95), among others. Although the menu had a lot to offer we decided that the ‘father’s day specials’ were not to be passed up.
I had the 400g T-bone steak (R95) topped with crispy tobacco onions, served with parmesan potato wedges and a choice of creamy chunky mushroom or Madagascan green peppercorn sauce. The steak was juicy and packed with flavour, the onions delicious and the wedges exceptionally tasty – truly a fantastic meal that represented excellent value for money!
My mom selected the sole and prawn platter (R90), which comprised a grilled sole and a helping of tiger prawns (grilled) covered with garlic cream sauce and served on a bed of savoury rice. She was most impressed with the meal, remarking that the sole was the “best I have ever had” and that the prawns were “tender and delicious”.
She was also more than pleased with the portions, describing them as “amazingly generous”. Needless to say, it wasn’t surprising that she gave this dish a “10 out of 10” rating – an appraisal with which I can fully concur. Seldom have I come across such a generous helping of food for such a modest price – surely a special offer if ever there was one.
For dessert, my mom had the coffee cream cup with mocha truffle and hazelnut biscotti (R45), which she described as “fantastically good”. This amazing dessert was well priced too, especially considering the expensive ingredients that were used. I settled for the ice-cream selection (R40) – a choice of three different flavours of the most delicious homemade ice cream likely to be found anywhere. I selected the coffee flavour, which proved to be an excellent choice.
Granny Mouse also has another restaurant that caters for more casual dining. Known as the Bistro, it has a simple yet tasty menu that is popular with both young and old alike. It is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A big attraction at Granny Mouse is their impressive wine collection, which consists of more than 4,000 bottles of local and international wines resting at controlled temperatures in a secure, underground cellar. The establishment won a Diners club “Diamond” wine award for their 2011 wine list in September of last year – an accolade achieved by only six other KwaZulu Natal establishments in that year!
I really enjoyed my visit to The Eaves – a high-quality restaurant that offers top-notch service and an excellent, contemporary South African menu that will be difficult for competitors to beat. All ingredients, sourced from local suppliers, are farm fresh and organic, improving the quality of meals and ensuring a healthier eating experience.
The Eaves is open daily in the evenings and on Sundays and public holidays for lunch and can seat a maximum of 50 people. The menu changes weekly and can cater for vegetarians, vegans, raw food enthusiasts and those patrons who are gluten intolerant.
This superb restaurant is a must visit for anyone who enjoys a quality meal in an upmarket yet homely setting that combines warm country hospitality with good, old-fashioned service. It’s one of the gems of the Midlands that just has to be experienced.
Telephone: +27 (0)33 234 4071
Address: Balgowan, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands
GPS Co-ordinates: S29°25’26.5” E30°05’25.3”
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