Picture: 123RF/Andrey Bayda
Picture: 123RF/Andrey Bayda

At the moment, most local news could drive anyone to drink. But here’s a snippet that will make you want to drink a toast to something, rather than blot out reality. Already a legend on the SA culinary landscape, the Orient Boutique Hotel’s highly acclaimed Restaurant Mosaic has done it again — winning this year’s award for best hotel wine list in the world.

Chef Chantel Dartnall has twice been named SA’s top chef and has garnered a number of global accolades.

But this competition is regarded as the sommelier’s version of Michelin stars. Our homegrown winner pipped other finalists that included Amber, at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong — a restaurant with two Michelin stars that hit 24th spot on the illustrious S Pellegrino rankings. Mosaic also beat Sydney restaurant Jonah’s, winner of Australia’s wine list of the year; the Grand Hotel in Stockholm; and The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.

The hotel and restaurant is pretty much a family affair with Dartnall’s stepfather Cobus du Plessis the "cellar master", while her mother Mari runs the restaurant and the hotel. Moses Magwaza is the sommelier. Before training for this he was the gardener, then the security guard.

Almost an hour from Johannesburg, the cellar boasts a staggering 75,000 bottles and nearly 6,000 different labels.