CHRIS THURMAN: Food that takes patrons on a journey, morsel by morsel
Chef Chantel Dartnall is to hang up her Restaurant Mosaic apron at the end of March to continue on her own
Last week I was fortunate to make a third visit to the Orient Hotel in the Francolin Conservancy outside Pretoria. On the two previous occasions I had donned my arts writer’s cap, giving myself a chance to write about the hotel’s expansive collection of paintings and sculpture. This was safe territory for a professional wordsmith well-practised at converting his responses to art into language. There was plenty to say; the works are beautiful and their setting exquisite.
The biggest jewel in the Orient’s crown, however — indeed, its raison d’être — is Chantel Dartnall’s Restaurant Mosaic. Once you’ve dined there, you can’t help but feel that you are one of the chosen, like the figure in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan after his vision: “Weave a circle round him thrice / And close your eyes with holy dread / For he on honey-dew hath fed/ And drunk the milk of Paradise.” ..