Diane de Beer
In the year that chef Davies Moagi has led the young team at this fine restaurant, he has developed a clear signature for his cuisine. Exquisitely presented dishes have clean lines and clear tastes and his passion for food and establishing his individual style in the industry is paying off big time.
There’s a subtlety yet confidence in dishes such as delicate beetroot cheesecake accompanied by roasted baby beets, beetroot-cured salmon and beetroot ice cream served with mustard, honey and truffle oil as a starter. Also on the menu is a comforting spinach-and-potato soup; a trio of seafood with perfectly crunchy prawns; beautifully prepared biltong-rubbed springbok loin with coffee-smoked lamb rib, grilled fig, sweet potato fondant and pea purée; and the fantastic finale of orange-and-white-chocolate cheesecake with orange sorbet. To top it all is the signature granita – on this night it’s pineapple flavoured.
The balance and quality of the complete meal satisfies but doesn’t overwhelm in taste or quantity. The chef has truly taken flight and Tshwane should be proud of the addition to its fine-dining accomplishments.
The pairing choices are excellent, with Pecan Stream or Tormentoso chenin blanc for starters, Iona sauvignon blanc with the fish course, Hartenberg Doorkeeper shiraz for the sturdier mains and Thelema Vin de Hel muscat late harvest to end on a sweet note.
There’s a lovely laid-back atmosphere in the dining room and that’s due to the staff, their smooth service and the way they embrace their customers.
Granita is about 30 minutes from the capital city and it feels like another world as you escape into the African countryside to arrive at your destination of gabled Cape-Dutch architecture, rolling lawns and star- or sun-filled skies. Everything is set to turn the experience into something special.
It’s good to encourage young chefs who show promise. Granita gets it right time after time.
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The first course of their prix fixe menu consists of roasted baby beetroot with tiny blue cheese and mascarpone quenelles, hazelnut powder and mustard dressing, served on a massive white plate for impact. A seared langoustine tail tops a lovely duck confit ravioli on very tasty wilted spinach, surrounded by a langoustine bisque with a dash of sherry. A soup of tiny cubes of perfectly-cooked chicken resembles the heads of tiny wild mushrooms in the mushroom and chicken soup, further enriched by a poached quail egg.
As its name suggests, Granita always serves a granita palate cleanser, which can be followed by mains of slices of roast rump of lamb with a thin layer of crispy fat, beetroot chips, stewed parsnips, and artichoke purée. The dessert, a trio of apples, consists of a delicious apple panna cotta, apple sorbet and a tiny whole apple with butterscotch sauce.
The wine list is smart and well-designed, showing care and attention.
Achilles Bobo, the restaurant manager/sommelier, is engaging and fun but also thoroughly professional. The service is efficient and crisp, and the chef himself will come out to inform patrons that the kitchen might be running a little behind but not to fret about your order.
Kievits Kroon is a large estate with a larger, commercial dining room also on the property, but Granita has to be one of the most intimate and elegant dining rooms in Pretoria. Simply decorated with just a few local artists’ works gracing the walls, this establishment is about the food and the experience, which is clear from the moment you arrive past the massive arrangement of luxurious fresh flowers in the main foyer.
Davies Moagi is the chef at the helm of Granita at the moment – he is young, talented and speaks eloquently and with passion about his cooking style and career. In summer ask to sit on the veranda just outside the French doors of the restaurant, and in winter book a table close to the fireplace for a special treat.
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Diane de Beer
Talented young black chefs are swiftly lured to other kitchens, so last year’s lauded Shimmy Sello has been replaced, and young sous chef Thabo Letsholo has been given the honour of crafting Granita’s fine dining menus. After only a few months in charge, his summer menus (two alternating options) are sparkling. From the funky amuse bouche, a bite sized caprese salad, through to the clever combo of goat’s cheese custard with tiny dollops of roasted beetroot and red wine reduction as a starter, it’s a big treat. Move on to a richly flavoured tomato soup with a cooked egg yolk, and seared tuna with turnip puree, pickles and wasabi foam, prettily executed. For mains, there’s a hearty and almost old-fashioned duo of grilled beef fillet, as well as confit duck leg with a smear of butternut puree, bok choy and port jus. Dessert comprises a playful plate of vanilla rum mousse, coconut sand and quinoa wafers. The meal is elegant and light, well executed and masterfully plated. Experience should elevate some depth of flavours in his arsenal, but Thabo is already hitting the marks and is an exciting prospect.
The wine list offers a fabulous by the glass section and they also, unusually, stock bin ends and older vintages. The pairing with the gourmet menu is cleverly done, featuring the likes of Darling Cellars, Diemersfontein and Thelema, and servings are generous.
Attentive, staff members handle both the cuisine and their customers with care. They are known for their excellent service and this is still on display.
A gentle, warm and charming dining experience. The terrace is a perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink, or coffee to conclude the meal. The dining room is smartly dressed in white linen, with exquisite dinnerware. They’re big on art and celebrating local artists like Heidi Fourie and Ronel Kellerman, which adds splashes of colour.
This is a great place to break away to, only 30 minutes from the city and with the feeling of being out in the countryside.
Diane de Beer
With new chef Shimmy Sello at the helm, the cuisine is sparkling. The previous chef wasn’t shabby himself, but the new blood is obvious when perusing the menu. In the evenings they offer a tasting menu that is smartly designed and delivered, scoring high marks in terms of quality and creativity. It features such delights as a sesame-crusted tuna amuse-bouche; the chef’s broccoli soup; quail with chicken mousse, corn pureé, bacon popcorn and coffee dolce sauce; prawn beurre noisette with bouillabaisse sauce, crisp calamari and white wine foam; a touch of wildness thanks to a rack of lamb paired with venison loin and a Madeira sauce; and a colourful collection of slow-cooked butternut, tomato confit, pearl onion and cured beetroot. It makes quite a splash, to put it mildly. The self-saucing chocolate pudding with rosewater marshmallow, honeycomb and pistachio dust is a masterfully reworked standard that will rock any chocoholic’s world. Also on the cards are Sunday gourmet lunches as well as à la carte lunches.
The parings with the likes of Danie de Wet Limestone Hill Chardonnay, Brampton Sauvignon Blanc, Darling Cellars DC Reserve Old Blocks Pinotage and De Grendel Merlot tells you everything you need to know about their wine list. They’re thinking out of the box.
It’s impressive: staff members establish a warm presence without intruding on diners’ intimacy. They certainly enhance the meal with their skillful handling of both cuisine and customer.
Expect a clean and crisp look with white linen tablecloths, shiny silver and elegant tableware. They’re in the country so the accent is on the outdoors and the terrace is the perfect spot on a warm summer’s night. They’re big on art, with local artists' works adding colour to the walls. It’s a gentle and wonderfully relaxing dining experience.
As part of the Kievits Kroon Country Estate, Granita is slightly off the beaten track – yet at only 30 minutes out of the city centre it feels like a complete escape, and one of the best kept secrets in town.
We went for lunch at Granita Restaurant at Kievits Kroon Country Lodge & Spa over the weekend. The estate itself is absolutely beautiful with sprawling well-manicured gardens. Granita is the signature restaurant of the lodge and has a beautiful setting overlooking the gardens and pool area.
Our table setting was perfect in the corner and nice big table to allow for a languid lunch. The menus are interesting and sound wonderful with very reasonable prices. But the prices also reflect the size of the portions, as it really isn’t big at all. We weren’t expecting big portions, as we’re used to fine dining and the sizes of the portions, but this was a bit ridiculous. The starters were tasty and acceptable for the price you pay, but mains were a bit of a let-down. Some of our party’s dishes were fine, but others were really bland and tasteless. Presentation on the starters was also good, but failing when it came to main course again.
The wine list is good, with a good variety in taste and price to choose from.
Service needs a lot of attention as at times you have perfect service, and other times you have to stand up and go and tell the waiters what you want to order. We had to order wine twice by walking into the restaurant and telling the waiters what we’d like.
So, in essence a wonderful setting, mediocre food and not good service at all. We will probably be back for the setting, but not really for the food. Maybe just to try dinner and see if it’s better, but I’m not sure….
Great restaurant! Well prepared food, tranquil ambience, and exceptional service! Granita expresses the flawless formula of a proper fine dining restaurant.