Monday, July 18, 2011

Oliver's Restaurant and Lodge, White River

Our last stop on this journey back to Durban, after two weeks on the road, was Oliver’s Restaurant and Lodge, situated just outside White River. Surrounded by the lush forests of the Mpumalanga Province, Oliver's is situated on the secure White River Country Estate and overlooks the first green of the 18-hole championship White River Golf Course. Oliver's Restaurant and Lodge is within close proximity of the Kruger National Park as well as the Blyde River Canyon and lies in a Malaria-free area. The nearby Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) gives easy access from and to any major city in South Africa and Internationally.

We were shown to our suite –well! It had an entrance hall, with a toilet off of this, a large lounge with TV, DVD, Hi-Fi, bar fridge and gas fireplace. Off the lounge was the bedroom, which had a large canopied bed, cupboard space, a gas fireplace and then adjacent to this the bathroom, with the “usual” basins, large bath, inside and outside shower, heated towel rail and heated floor. Outside was a balcony with a large, double sun bed, overlooking the pool below. The communal areas had lounges scattered both inside and out, a pub, and dining room, which has consistently been awarded the “Top 100 Restaurants of South Africa” and lovely gardens, filled with a variety of bird-life. They also have a spa on-site for those who may wish to make use of this.

Of dinner and breakfast I only have one word – excellent. This is what one would expect from a top 100 restaurant, and they did not disappoint. For dinner I did not have a starter but instead settled for an Oliver’s Gourmet Table Salad, which was a selection of freshly picked garden lettuce with rocket, garnished with mozzarella, bacon, asparagus, artichokes, cocktail tomato, onions and avocado – this is what a salad should be, and anyway, after indulging in fine food for the past two weeks, I had to assuage my guilt!
Anyway, I had by this time also decided that I would have the Rack of Lamb as my main course and this was grilled to perfection and served with a potato-bacon rosti and vegetables – and I then also had to leave space for dessert! One does not go to a restaurant run by a chef with an Austrian background, and not have the warm Applestrudel on a homemade Vanilla Custard! Great! Janice had always said that she wanted to have the perfect Risotto, so she settled for the Creamy Italian White Wine Risotto with grilled prawns, calamari, mussels and shrimps, finished with shavings of parmesan, which she declared fantastic. It must have been – she would not leave me a taste!

The next morning I would have loved to linger over breakfast, but alas, Durban is far from White River and I had to get going, but having said that, I hope to return, rather sooner than later! Olivers is well positioned for those persons who may be travelling to the game reserves of the Lowveld, and may be arriving too late to do an afternoon game drive, to then stay here the first night. It is also in any event a destination where one may base oneself if you first want to see the sights of the Lowveld and Panorama Route before your visit to, say, the Sabi Sands.

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