Soup options include creamy potato and leek or roasted beetroot with thyme and honey, served with a bread basket and old fashioned butter balls – a nice touch. The traditional bobotie comes with curried rice, raisins and apricot chutney, just the way it should. Roast pork chops with cauliflower purée and a warm Waldorf salad with port and rosemary reduction sounded good on paper, but were unfortunately doused in far too much reduced balsamic vinegar, and ended up tasting only of that.
The wine list, despite displaying some care and attention in certain areas, felt somewhat disjointed on closer inspection and offers only Spier Signature Collection wines by the glass. Other interesting wines included Painted Wolf Lekanyane (a blend of chenin, grenache and viognier), Reyneke Biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc, La Capra Shiraz and Creation Pinot Noir.
Service was good with many competent and smartly turned out staff.
Light wooden floors, drapes at the windows, chandeliers, soft lighting and a piano in one corner make for a genteel and glamorous experience at night. Tables are arranged around the sides of the room while the centre is dominated by a large rectangular buffet, adorned with pretty protea arrangements.
Centrally located between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Irene boasts that desirable village feel city dwellers prefer. Irene Country Lodge offers a shuttle service from the Gautrain Station, making it a breeze to visit this venue. (Hennie Fisher, July 2012)