We stumbled upon De Hoek on a going nowhere slowly drive on a Sunday afternoon when our teenage children respectfully but firmly declined our offer of a Sunday afternoon family drive. I got to drive ( its a lot easier because you don't have to figure our the route) and my husband declared the direction.
We ended up on the T1 route in the Magaliesburg. Our first stop was an eclectic little restaurant come antique shop that sold everything from a Drag from a hooka pipe to vintage clothes, antique furniture, paintings and even old books. En route we came across a billboard at a high school in town with a De Hoek Advert on it. I had remembered listening to a radio show and in particular the programme was very flattering of the chef at De Hoek and the restaurant.
So we made our way to De Hoek. We were pleasantly surprised by this old manor house reminiscent of a scene from the English countryside in the middle of the Magaliesburg. It is decorated in a mixture of dark wood, well worn leather, highly polished wooden floors and roaring fires that warm the old building and the soul and beckons you to stay the night. We stayed for a while, watched the mist roll in, had a drink and promised to come back. And we did, this time to celebrate my birthday in their celebrated restaurant.
We had the pleasure of their 6 course meal. unfortunately no corkage to be found at this fine establishment but a fine array of wines are available nonetheless.
The 6 course meal was excellent. Portion sizes are excellent so that you did not feel heavy and leaden by the end of the meal - instead every course was thoroughly enjoyed. My favourites, the carrot soup starter, seared salmon with seasonal vegetables and of course the home made truffles served with coffee.
De Hoek is an institution and its guests obviously return frequently - when the serving staff address you on a first name basis, clearly you are a regular. An interesting wine experience - our waiter Nikolai informed us that drinking our wine from differently shaped glasses would enhance different aspects of the wine, thus giving you different tastes from the same bottle of wine... Lo and Behold, he was right.. the same wine tasted completely different in the two glasses we experimented with!! In each glass different aspects of the wine was experienced more prominently. I eventually opted for the glass that gave me a more rounded and smoother taste.
Service was good but for the calibre of restaurant I did expect the service to be up a notch.. for example my waiter should know what I ordered for dessert rather than offer me the adjoining tables dessert.
I do commend De Hoek for their commitment to hiring from the local community so its possible that our waiter was in training. The service should match if not exceed the level at which the establishment pitches itself.
Our next visit will definitely include a stay - I believe it is something to be experience. Watch this space for my next De Hoek experience.
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