Le Sel @ The Cradle is a haven of simplicity, featuring unpretentious food, glorious views and a calm sense of splendor, says Gwynne Conlyn.
Coco Reinarhz, the award-winning chef from French-Burundian background, has an appetite for perfection. But within that context, his eatery Le Sel @ The Cradle is a haven of simplicity. The seemingly unassuming food served here shows sophistication in both approach and execution. Not one for over-fussy food, Coco keeps things simple, focusing on sourcing the best ingredients and using the best cooking techniques. He believes his cuisine here is in harmony with The Cradle itself. Hop onto a seat at the long, polished bar for a pre-lunch pica pau (‘pick and eat’) in the form of tender strips of beef with a spark of chilli, counterbalanced by a chilled beer. At the table, indulge in tender lamb chops with tomato salsa (an Ivory Coast-inspired dish) and finger-licking chicken wings with aloko (deep-fried plantain). The dishes are simply plated, but speak of excellent quality. Visit the dessert table and return with a plate full of fresh fruits and possibly a dark chocolate mousse. As for breakfasts, they offer Belgian waffles with chocolate sauce and cream, as well as interesting egg dishes and, for instance, seared tuna Niçoise. The menu changes regularly.
The concise wine list shows consideration for guests’ wallets. There is a good offer of wines by the glass, as well as some handcrafted beers from local microbreweries. Le Sel is a lovely spot to enjoy some sundowners.
Service is courteous and very much in line with the atmosphere of unassuming sophistication.
This culinary visionary’s new venture is set in breathtaking surrounds on a game reserve spanning 3000 ha. The palette is muted and the building seems to cling quietly to the side of a hill. Beyond it, drink in the sights of the virgin valley and the Magaliesberg on the horizon. In summer, the retractable doors make the division between the interior and the glorious exterior disappear with an 180-degree view. Extensive outdoor seating is splendid in good weather.
Kids are welcome to order off a children’s menu; however, you might choose to enjoy the relaxing surrounds and good food at your leisure while the little ones romp about in the supervised play area. Before or after lunch they can take a walk with a game ranger. (Adults, too, are welcome.) Furthermore, picnics are provided in a basket along with a blanket and an ice bucket to keep the drinks cold to enjoy in the shade of a stinkwood tree.