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Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient

Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient
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Cost
Grande Degustation menu R1250 (wine pairing R585) per person; Market Degustation R850 (wine pairing R460) per person
Ambience
Groups, Special occasions
Food
Fine-dining food, French, Health food, Mediterranean, Modern, Vegetarian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

Seth Shezi

Best for…
An epicurean’s ultimate voyage.

The long single-lane road to The Orient Hotel snakes up the hill, passing a brace of buck, a tower of giraffes and other enchanting wildlife. Much like entering the old city of Marrakesh in Morocco, the imposing gate to the dusky pink high-walled hotel opens to reveal a wondrous oasis – chef Chantel Dartnall’s famous Mosaic Restaurant, one of the finest culinary gems in the country.

Food
This eclectic culinary experience is the ultimate escapism. The Grande Degustation menu impresses with its immaculately designed and elaborately plated dishes. The My Bento Box amuse-bouche of garden pea, spring marshmallow, pickled carrot, smoked snoek and ‘patat’ makes it clear that this will be no ordinary dining experience. Dishes such as Under the Sheets, featuring a firm and naturally sweet langoustine with white peach and hibiscus, show why chef Chantel’s touch is so effective: the dish is delicately prepared to let the natural flavours flourish.

Sublimely heady aromas herald the arrival of the main dishes, which could be suckling pig with coconut curry, local duck with Dullstroom cherries, or arctic salmon with seaweed and ocean broth. Each course is served with a unique bread and assortment of butters. Attention to detail and layered nuances carry through to the cheese course, which boasts a 36-month-old Comté from France.

Take an intermission to soak up some of the sights before the sweet serenade of desserts. The enchanted forest-themed selection includes The Earth Laughs in Flowers with summer berries, violets and passionfruit, and Heffalumps and Woozles, a deconstructed dish of almond flavours, snowflakes and vanilla. You’ll have to experience the splendour for yourself.

Drinks
Nothing at Mosaic is done in half measures. Boasting one of the most extensive and illustrious wine cellars in the restaurant industry, Mosaic has wine lists thicker than a bible. On hand is award-winning sommelier Moses Magwaza to provide necessary guidance.

Service
Wonderfully professional, but delivered with so much heart that the unerring precision never feels robotic.

Ambience
Banquettes and small tables line the two main dining rooms, but there are plenty other nooks. The rooms are themed, which keeps things exciting and new even if it’s not your first time. Why not spend the night in a palatial suite so you can be woken up with a bountiful breakfast?

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their way in full. Read our editorial policy here

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  • Hennie Fisher

    Food
    Coming in at number two in this year’s Top 10, this restaurant is a special treat. The experience begins with welcoming drinks and not just one amuse bouche, but two, and a fantastic bread trolley with gluten- and lactose-free breads (careful attention is given to special dietary needs). They’re accompanied by no less than five flavoured butters, ranging from plain salted to butternut-and-calendula and honey-and-cinnamon.

    Before the eating begins in earnest, expect several other mini artworks to amaze all your senses, the most invigorating of which is an arugula-and-lemonade shooter to cleanse the palate. The current menu is named Tabula Rasa, and kicks off with a snail and slightly spicy cauliflower-and-corn mousse. Next is a dish entitled Tidal Pool, which is playful and satisfying. Goose-liver spheres encased in Brussels sprout leaves are served with a velvety cauliflower purée perfumed with truffle. This dish is followed by Sea Mist, which features a fat and tender scallop and an East-Coast lobster tail enrobed in a saffron froth, which has everyone in the restaurant in delight.

    The mains options vie for first place. There’s the smoked venison with madumbi mash, duck with plum and suurvygies, and a tilapia-and-halibut duo cleverly called Where the River Meets the Sea. Cheese is always a treat here and may include a 36-month-old French Comté, or a goat’s cheese from a Johannesburg artisan with a small herd of goats.

    When it comes to dessert, you could opt for a sophisticated pear filled with white chocolate and a fluttering of dried pear ‘leaves’ perfumed with tonka bean, aptly named First Frost. SmartTease is a tongue-in-cheek play on everyone’s favourite candies, comprising chocolate, many colourful mini macarons and a pistachio ice-cream cone.

    Drinks
    Moses Magwaza and Germain Lehodey comprise the passionate team in charge of all the beverages served at Restaurant Mosaic. Moses took the Wine Service Award at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. The wine and non-alcoholic pairings are done with the same verve as everything else in this establishment. The team has decided to replace the local and international option with a sommelier’s wine-pairing option, giving guests the chance to sample a fantastic selection of local and international wines.

    Service
    The front-of-house team took the Eat Out Service Excellence Award in 2017 too. The team rarely changes and the result is that the overall service is faultless – efficient and most engaging. One needs only show a little interest for the entire team to share the pleasure they derive from their trade. It is a rare treat to find as much pleasure from service perfection as one does at this restaurant.

    Ambience
    Although the restaurant is relatively small, it can expand to various other levels of the building. At the back, past the kitchen, there’s a smaller private room with its own little lounge, as well as a larger private room off the main dining area. Banquettes and small tables line the two main rooms, which are always inviting and well-presented. Mosaic has established itself as a destination. For those who can afford to stay over, there are rooms available, which adds to the enjoyment.

    And…
    Chantel Dartnall is a master at cooking protein. Whether she cooks tilapia or scallops, she is bound to make it taste its very best. Even though the food displays an undeniable delicate sensibility in both preparation and presentation, no one needs to fear leaving hungry, as Chantel knows how to cook food that satisfies on all levels.

    (October 2017)

    Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.

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User reviews

  • Was initially very excited to visit one of the few top10 restaurant close to home, but caution to all, the drive to get there was terrifying! Not the safest road in Gauteng as well as not being informed about the gravel part just left me with a bad taste in my mouth to begin with. The restaurant is outdated... which I knew was going to be the case, wasn’t expecting Overture or La Colombe... but, for a restaurant charging these prices, I expect some degree of luxury, bathrooms are sub par and the waiting staff had to warm you about minding you step here, here and here, also mind your head... Was welcomed by the chef, Chantel, and this might have been the highlight of the evening. Sommelier, Moses, recommended an excellent champagne!!! Couldn’t find fault. But for a winter menu with almost all dishes being served cold... was a let down, had the non-alcoholic pairing, one of the better non-alcoholic pairings, but they arrived with a delay of the food, which meant that some went cold. Glasses not being taken away... Coffee was terrible, they should invest in a barista. Also struggled with the music, listening to Édith Piaf song after song, just indicated a lack of time spent on creating a decent playlist. Food was average and the cold temperature of the food didn’t hit the spot, felt as if this was purposefully done to help the kitchen to plate and prep in advance, as I was not able to see or hear a kitchen, also not the case with many of our top10 restaurants, missed not being able to see how my food was prepared... Definitely just a top10 tick off for me and wouldn’t recommend or give it a go again. Just too inaccessible, they try to get you to stay in the hotel... odd, as if they are well aware of the bad road to get there... Felt a bit “Megh”, and I can think about five better restaurants in a 10km radius from me that would have had better service, ambience and warm food.
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  • It was my first time at a proper fine dining restaurant and I was already dealing with everyone thinking I was crazy to spend so much money on a meal but at no point did I feel like it was a waste. The location is so beautiful inside a wildlife conservation area, and as soon as you drive into the hotel you feel special. The food itself was immaculately prepared and served. The whole experience was incredible and I’d definitely recommend trying it.
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  • Chantel and her team have created a little paradise @ The Orient. They've also made food to match. My husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and spent the weekend feasting on the beautiful, delicious 9 course supper and the three course breakfast the next morning. The service all around was impeccable and we felt completely relaxed and pampered for our entire stay there. Each dish was superbly presented and tasted even better. The thought and story behind each item is absolutely amazing. I loved how involved the process is behind each menu. The alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink pairings were faultless. This place is definitely worth a visit. Chantel and her team deserve all the recognition they've been receiving and more. One has to go there to understand the splendor they have to offer. We'll be visiting again in the near future!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Dress code
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • StreetSmart affliated
  • WiFi

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