There is sheer decadence when indulging in an environment where no expense has been spared and the outcome is unpretentious luxury. The multi-award-winning Gorge Private Game Lodge and Spa nestles in the majestic Oribi Gorge, an unspoilt section of KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast. The owner-managed boutique lodge provides unsurpassed hospitality, world-class service and fine dining.
Chef Christopher Whitham finalises his menus daily to keep dishes local and fresh. The result is scrumptious breakfasts and delectable multi-course dinners in the fine-dining restaurant, accentuated by the breathtaking views.
Diners can also have their meals served in the boma for a real bushveld experience. Lunches are served in the Pool Deck Bistro restaurant, while guests can elect to have their meals served in the privacy of their rooms overlooking the gorge for no extra cost.
The café-style casual lunch menu embraces creative twists on traditional favourites. Home-made foccacia topped with cheeses, tomato, bacon and pickle and served warm as pure comfort food; an English-style lightly battered hake and chips served with home-made tartare sauce; a grilled tortilla wrap filled with Cajun chicken, cheese and stir-fried vegetables and chips, before being toasted for a crisp outer casing or toasted club sandwich of chicken bacon, lettuce and tomato with chips are some of the beautifully presented dishes on offer.
There are also fresh approaches to salads – a chicken Caesar-ish salad prepared with mixed greens, grilled chicken, bacon, croutons, anchovy dressing and a soft-poached egg; tomato Caprese-ish salad presented as thinly sliced tomato topped with assorted cheeses, rocket, pesto, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic reduction, or a beetroot-and-pineapple salad of roasted beetroot, chilled pineapple, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and carrot.
Side orders of fries, roasted vegetables or mashed potato are charged separately, but are not sold individually.
Desserts are simple choices of chocolate ice-cream sundae (chocolate cake with chocolate truffle, ice-cream and cream); Tunisian orange cake soaked in an orange syrup with honey and yoghurt; vanilla crème brûlèe with berry coulis and ice cream; fresh fruit pavlova, or a small cheeseboard of local cheeses and preserves.
An old-fashioned option is the high tea – a platter of chocolate petit-fours with chocolate fool, mini scones with cream and jam, cucumber sandwiches, orange cake and vanilla sponge with berries served with a pot of tea is a perfect indulgence for a couple.
This is an upmarket boutique venue and it comes with appropriate prices. That said, the outstanding wine list pays homage to South Africa’s wine culture with a handful of wines also offered by the glass. Other temptations include some of the world’s finest whiskies and cognacs that add another dimension to the dining experience.
Chic, professional and an integral part of the experience. From the welcoming committee waiting in the car park to the humorous interaction with patrons and personalised tour of the hotel, the warmth and generosity are elements alone that will entice a return visit.
The serenity of looking over the Oribi Gorge while indulging in fine food and awesome bird-watching is balm for any soul. The region counts 255 bird species on its list for twitchers wanting to combine two passions.
Take the opportunity to wander through the beautifully designed indigenous gardens.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.