Mosaic, the 5th best restaurant in South Africa, is located at The Orient Boutique Hotel in Crocodile River Valley, Pretoria, which is isolated from the big city life and perfect for a restaurant with an atmosphere of peacefulness.
The Welcoming at Mosaic
As we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by the wine steward with a selection of welcoming drinks. Sherries, whites, red, dries and semi-dries to choose from, you should probably ask the wine steward if you want the details on these. All I know is that I had the Merlot and it was a great ice-breaker.
We had our drinks in the foyer, and as we were mingling amongst each other, they brought us a set of amuse bouche to start us on our culinary adventure.
Rice paper Chinese rolls with various vegetables and a nut and truffle mousse. These little bad boys were amazing. Packed with flavour and texture that combine together with perfect harmony. “Man alive!”. If this is the amount of detail and effort that go into an amuse bouche, then that must mean that we are in for quite an amazing evening.
They lead us into Mosaic’s private dining room for the evening which was quite unexpected but most welcomed. As we took our seats, the bread lady rolled up a trolley with a wide range of bread to choose. From basil pesto and sundried tomato -rolls to crusty polenta buns and green olive rye slices. All freshly baked and still warm, perfect for all the different types of butter and toppings that come with it.
Next up was the oh so mighty wine list. This thing was bigger than a family bible, and if you have ever seen one you will know it is not just a little paperweight, this was a damn piano weight if you ask me. Oh, before I forget, this was just their South African wine list, they also had an international one, I assume that thing would need its own trolley. It makes sense that these things were so big, seeing as they have over 70 000 bottles of wine in their cellar, so let that sink in for a moment…
Anyway, we ordered a Pinot Noir from Botanica, which was an amazing bottle of wine, very soft on the palette and delicious. Not to mention, it paired well with every dish on the menu.
Let the feast begin
The first course was Celebration of Spring, a little plate filled with delicately prepared ingredients that emphasise why Spring is such a wonderful and vibrant season. Crunchy sweet peas and asparagus that give the dish texture, and the neatly ribboned carrot and cucumber that gives it that freshness, and the carrot mousse ball was the hero that tied everything together.
The second course was Genesis, a hero on its own. A ball of rainbow trout that laid in a miso mousse with pomelo vesicles (those little bubbles inside of citrus fruit). This dish was just bursting with flavour. It even had a golden leaf on top of it, we ate actual gold folks!
The third course was Mousse de Mer, which was like taking a walk on a tomato beach. I know it sounds crazy, but it will make sense in just a few. Everything on this dish had tomato in it or near it. Fantastically creamy langoustine risotto covered in a tomato foam, right next to a beach of tomato powder with tomato paste drops all over.
We received a palette cleanser, The Garden Pea, before our main meals. Sweet pea and lime sorbet, a burst of cooling freshness, to ensure that we experience the main event in all its glory.
Before we got to the main meal, chef Chantel Dartnall of Mosaic, who is the top female chef in South Africa, took us through each of the main course choices in exquisite detail. Never before have I seen such great intimate service coming from such a fancy establishment. Also, she was so friendly, taking her time to answer all our questions as well as take a picture with us.
The main course was Prints in the Paddock. 36 days matured Angus beef cooked to pure perfection, which was medium-rare, and presented on a plate with red ivory fruit preserve and sumac to make it look like a field where the cattle grazed.
The other main course was Queen Quail. Stuffed with mushrooms and glazed with raw acacia honey and lavender to give it that balanced sweetness and acidity, with organically grown spinach made into a foam to bring forth the wonderful freshness in the dish.
Finally, the sixth course, which was served at 11pm was Starburst. Passion fruit ice-cream with shattered vanilla meringue tiles to cover the amazing poached white peaches underneath. All the elements made up a good dessert, yet together they made up a great dessert bursting with flavour.
Another sixth course was a Cheese Selection with a personal note for the Christmas roll, therefore perfect for those with less of a sweet tooth.
The selection had cheeses like Old Amsterdam, Belnori Kilimanjaro, Belnori Phantom Forest and many many more. They actually wheeled in an entire cheese trolley for this part.
Each of the main dishes came with an extra Le Creuset pot with a second portion, which is very thoughtful, but with a five-course meal, there is no need for a second portion of the main meal, thus a bit too much in my opinion. This is really not a problem, just something I thought was a bit odd, but it did make sharing a breeze though.
Pure decadence and absolute perfection are what Mosaic oozes of. This place is definitely one of our favourite restaurants, if not the most favourite, therefore we highly recommend that you make a reservation three months in advance to book an opening. Don’t worry, the wait will be worth it.
Mosaic gets Triple T’s stamp of approval