A hearty spread platteland-style

2010-11-19 09:59

Breakfast at home is either oats, toast or yogurt – all rather dull. Breakfast out is, inevitably, a variation on an eggs and bacon theme – which is also rather dull and often disappointing.

So, those on the scout for breakfast with a difference – and a calorie-count in the stratosphere – should check out Karoo Cattle and Land. This franchise includes five restaurants scattered in the country and the latest has just opened its doors at the shiny new Parkview Shopping Centre in Moreleta Park, Pretoria.

Chef Werner van Niekerk puts on a fine spread – he bakes the bread fresh every morning and though he always does a low GI seed loaf to cater to all tastes, it’s for his other baked goods that people come.

His vetkoeks are sublime – crispy on the outside, fluffy and light on the inside – they are grease-free and he chucks in some cheddar for added pizzazz.

I scooped up some delicious ­bobotie mince with my vetkoek and it was only the fear of ­looking too greedy that held me back from seconds.

One of his specialities is his ­biltong beer bread, which he ­gladly gave me the recipe for, and he recommended you smear it not with farm butter (one of the options) but with pork or duck fat, both also on the menu.

There are also a selection of homemade jams and preserves to up the sugar content for those who do opt for the seed loaf.

The breakfast buffet also includes the usual suspects – fried mushrooms, bacon and an array of sausages, including boerewors; after all this is a pukka South African spread. But it’s the other stuff that got my tastebuds revved up – there are pork scratchings, crispy and diabolically decadent; as well as rich and delicious skilpadjies (little tortoise) but they are a herby lamb’s liver concoction wrapped in caul fat, which is the membrane that surrounds the kidneys, and a stick-to-your-ribs pap tart topped with tomato and cheese.

Though I didn’t get to sample it, the restaurant has a free salad bar at lunch and dinner, which counterbalances the menu’s focus on meat.

The menu is in keeping with the franchise’s South African focus and includes potjiekos and meat of every description.

This restaurant feeds 280 people at a sitting and has a private function area that holds 100 – and it’s free. It’s stylishly turned out in burnt orange, gold and lots of dark wood. Best of all it has its own toilets in the eatery so you don’t have to plough through the shopping centre, up the stairs and down the escalators to use the loo. A pet hate of mine.

But the three reasons that made me mark it for a return visit are, firstly, its position. Though it’s in a shopping centre, the tables overlook a dam and golf course around which buck wander, so it doesn’t feel like a soulless shopping mall dining experience. Secondly, and very importantly, if you have small children who escape easily, it has a fenced- in play area within dashing distance of the tables filled with jungle gyms and a fake tractor.

And finally it doesn’t have the ubiquitous kiddies’ menu with disgusting fish fingers, viennas and chips on it – none of which I would feed my child.

Instead a select number of items on the menu are marked as half-price items for children. Among them are macaroni and cheese, lamb chops, calamari and chicken wings.

Karoo is moderately priced; the eat-as-much-as-you-like breakfast buffet will set you back R69, but you won’t need to eat again for 24 hours. Lunch and dinner prices vary between R50 and R120 for a main course, the former referring to burgers and the latter to ­T-bone steak. Starters and desserts range between R25 and R45.

» Contact Parkview@karoocattleandland.com to book or 012 992 6111.
Visit www.karoocattleandland.co.za for details of the other branches

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