Whether it’s slow-cooked and falling off the bone or grilled on the braai, lamb is one of South Africa’s best-loved meats. Much like our rooibos tea or French Champagne, it now boasts certification to indicate its quality and origin. If you buy certified Karoo lamb, you’re guaranteed that the animal has roamed free and grazed on Karoo vegetation – all of which adds to that distinct flavour that we know and love.
What is Karoo Meat of Origin?
The Certified Karoo Meat of Origin mark provides the consumer with a certification they can trust, and enables restaurateurs to serve meat of a high quality.
Certified Karoo lamb is both free range and fully traceable, originating from a strictly specified Karoo region. A strictly audited process is applied: only sheep born and raised in the Karoo or having spent six months in the region are considered; they must be free from added hormones and routine antibiotics; and the animals must be sent to an abattoir in the Karoo region.
Cook your own Karoo lamb dish
You can find the original and real Karoo lamb at Ryan Boon in Paarl and Stellenbosch, Cavalier Foods and Braeside Meat Market in Joburg, Kings Meat Deli in Lynnwood and Castle Walk, Highveld Meat & Catering Supplies and Boma Vleis Mark in Pretoria and Hope Meats in KZN. You can also find certified Karoo lamb at various MAKRO outlets and from Karusaf agents. Here are some ideas on how to prepare it.
Bistro Vine (Parkhurst)
This French bistro serves braised lamb shoulder cooked in a dark beer, rosemary and stock gravy, along with haricot beans, carrots, onions and mustard mashed potato for R135.
At this newly revamped Joburg spot you can enjoy Karoo lamb chops marinated with thyme and garlic and served with ratatouille, vegetables and lemony mashed potatoes for R215.
Level Four Restaurant (Rosebank)
Level Four Restaurant brings succulent braised lamb “ribbetjies” to the table in a dish of lamb rump, peas, pumpkin and peach chutney for R205.
My Bread & Butter (Parkview)
Take your taste buds to Morocco with an aromatic lamb tagine served with brown rice, preserved lemon, mint yoghurt and harissa for R135.
The View at Four Seasons The Westcliff Hotel (Parkwood)
Find a spot under the trees in and order a tasty Karoo lamb rack that’s crusted with mint and rosemary, grilled, and served on fluffy crushed potato with a red-wine jus for R185.
Republik (Durban North)
Durban’s gourmet burger bar offers the More I Can Lamb Burger: a lamb patty covered in harissa paste and topped off with hummus, olive tapenade, babaganoush and tzatziki. Served with vegetable crisps for R120.
Lord Milner Hotel (Matjiesfontein, Laingsburg)
Enjoy classic South African dishes at the elegant Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein. Situated in the on the fringe of the Great Karoo, there is a selection of lamb dishes to choose from. Savour the braised rolled lamb shoulder served with parmesan white polenta, ratatouille vegetables and lamb jus for R165; or tuck in to their grilled lamb chops with creamed potatoes, ratatouille vegetables, pea and mint puree and red wine jus for R150.
Aubergine (City Bowl)
This elegant restaurant serves a delectable trio of Karoo lamb. The dish comprises braised shoulder, kidney and smoked saddle with a lentil vinaigrette, aubergine, ratatouille, vegetable galette and braised banana shallot (R235).
La Colombe (Constantia)
The menu at this fine dining favourite features melt-in-your-mouth sous vide Karoo lamb loin with a side of tenderstem broccoli, pickled aubergine tomato purée, fondant potato and lamb rib jus for R210.
The Test Kitchen (Woodstock)
At our Restaurant of the Year for 2012, 2013 and 2014, guests can look forward to the smoked lamb loin and cassoulet of white beans served with lamb sweetbreads, lamb pancetta and a parsley velouté. This dish forms part of the five-course dinner discovery menu for R590 or R890 with wine pairing.
The Bosman’s offering includes a duo of Karoo lamb that’s served with a polenta slice, aubergine, goat’s cheese and baby marrow. This dish forms part of their three-course menu for R485, or four courses for R585.
Delaire Graff Restaurant (Stellenbosch, Cape winelands)
The bistro-style menu at Delaire Graff includes options like the slow-braised Karoo lamb neck, tomato and mozzarella arincini, feta puree, black olive jus and tomato dust for R235.
Jordan Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
The menu at this 2014 Top 10 restaurant changes daily, but diners can look forward to options like the 12-hour braised Karoo lamb ravioli served with globe artichoke velouté and greened cauliflower salad. The dish forms part of the four-course menu for R380.
Sink into a comforting dish of slow-roasted Karoo lamb shank, served on creamed potatoes with caramelised carrots and mixed roasted vegetables for R130.
Rust en Vrede (Stellenbosch)
As a part of their four-course set menu, Rust en Vrede serves a herb-crusted lamb loin with braised shank, sweetbreads, smoked tomato and mozzarella risotto, olives and spinach. The 2014 Top 10 restaurant offers a four-course menu for R620.
The Tasting Centre at Rupert & Rothschild (Franschhoek)
An elegant setting calls for their Flechas de los Andes Gran Malbec: crispy Karoo lamb with ratatouille and a tomato and chilli ‘jam’. The dish will cost you R235 as a part of the Wines of the World tasting menu.
Towerbosch Earth Kitchen (Stellenbosch)
Dishes such as the lamb neck and loins served with tomato chilli jam, lamb kaiings, ratatouille and potato fondant will grab the attention of any lamb lover. This dish goes for R115.
*Please be sure to ask the restaurant if they are serving Karoo Lamb before ordering as it may be subject to availability.
Do you serve Karoo certified lamb in your restaurant? Let us know and we’ll add you to the list.