I have probably beaten to death how family friendly restaurants in Pretoria are but I HAVE to give an extra special shout out to a particular class of restaurants known as Tea Gardens. They are everywhere and something about me wants to walk around them and say things like “How Cheerful” or “Pleasure” in a South African Accent (which would unfortunately sound nothing like a South African accent due to my Southern twang). Tea gardens feel kind of magically nostalgic and I hope I never get tired of how cute they are and take them for granted.
As the name suggests, the vast majority of seating in a typical tea garden restaurant is outdoors (and yes, there is a childrens play area). There is generally an indoor eating space which is sometimes accompanied by a shop selling knickknacks. The menus are always simple and the food always looks elegant and is incredibly affordable.
Here are some pictures of two different tea gardens I’ve sampled:
I went to Blos (http://www.blosrestaurant.co.za/) for lunch with the kids, Jen and LeAnn. The building has a small dinning room and a store with different kinds of crafts. The bulk of the seating was on the patio or lawn area.
Of course I had to share my love of the tea garden with Brantley, so we went to Riverside Castle (http://www.riversidecastle.co.za/) and had lunch in their tea garden. Riverside is a venue people book for weddings or birthday parties. The castle itself is beautiful. The inside was decorated for a 21st birthday party later that evening (legal drinking age is 18). The castle had a very nice play area for children but it was literally burned down by a fire just a few days before we were there. It is the dry season here and it has only rained once in months apparently. All my NC readers can roll their eyes in unison on that one as I’ve read it hasn’t stopped raining in the southeast all summer. 🙂
The menu was small but looked delicious. Brant and I both ordered the chicken schnitzel and chips (which are actually fries) and salad. I’ll go ahead and throw out there that I never knew the word schnitzel meant something was fried- I always associated it with a German sausage or something…. but I am trying to be adventurous out here and order things I don’t know what they are, and in turn get things I’ve had my entire life (fried chicken). It was delicious.
Below you can see the burnt ground from the fire:
Some of the ladies were making bread outdoors over a fire (maybe how the fire started??? I didn’t ask) called pot bread. They made the dough into big balls and placed it in plastic bags. Then they submerge the dough bags into a cauldron of boiling water and let it sit in the water for an hour and a half. I asked if we could buy some but they did not have any for sale because it was all for the party that night. It is on my agenda now to try pot bread as soon as I find some.
In other news:
Here is some reading about Rooibos Tea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooibos
I am sad to report that we are back on the house hunt. The house we wanted originally fell exactly on budget, but due to the large influx of people like us (who all have the same budget and all want to live in the same area) the housing prices have skyrocketed. The estate agent for the house we have had our eye on since before we left has convinced the owner that his house is now worth $800 more per month than the current tenant is paying. We just do not feel comfortable spending that much over our allotted allowance. Tomorrow, I will be back at it bright and early with Kathryn hoping to find the perfect fit!