The recent glamorous makeover of Orange Restaurant in Nelspruit brings the look in line with its contemporary architecture. Hennie Fisher pays the lowveld restaurant a visit.
Cold and hot starters are straightforward and uncomplicated – try the avocado ritz with prawns in a tangy sauce; beef fillet carpaccio simply dressed with lemon and olive oil; or prawn tempura with spicy peanut dip. For those not so keen on red meat, there is a lovely spinach-and-ricotta ravioli for something light.
Main courses are unashamedly geared towards true meat lovers, as shown by options such as eland loin, kudu fillet, châteaubriand, chocolate-chilli fillet, oxtail, and lamb shank. However, Orange has some seafood and poultry options as well.
For dessert, choose between chocolate fondant (which requires a 20 minute preparation time) served with raspberry coulis, or a mini berry pavlova.
The comprehensive wine list includes a range of options: there are two French champagnes, two MCCs (Fairview and Kaapse Vonkel from Simonsig) as well as a couple of sparkling wines. There are interesting white wines, and red options are sourced from the likes of Knorhoek, Waverly Hills, Avontuur and Boekenhoutskloof.
The waiters and front-desk staff at Orange Restaurant all go about their jobs with much good cheer and friendly smiles all round. You recognise faces from one visit to the next, and there’s a sense of belonging and wellbeing.
The restaurant is a large, glass cube that appears to hang from one of Nelspruit’s famous granite cliffs, with tall floor-to-ceiling glass doors. The interiors have recently had a makeover, resulting in a glamorous, modern look that now fits in beautifully with the contemporary architecture. A large open kitchen allows you to keep an eye on the food preparation, while the recent revamp saw the installation of a large granite counter from which all beverages and cocktails are dispensed. Black-and-white striped wallpaper, large chandeliers, a few built-in banquettes and mix-and-match chairs upholstered in different black and white fabrics makes it very glitzy. Even though the décor is very monochromatic, their signature orange rose remains as a reference to the name of the restaurant.
There’s a beautiful wooden deck on a lower level that’s used for larger private tables. The overhang makes it feels as if you’re floating above the cityscape. At night, many candles and lanterns combine with the city lights to create an extremely romantic setting. The Lourie Call and Francolin Guest Houses are located on the same property, so you could always stay over should the need arise.
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