Last week I faced a two days trip to neighbouring Nelspruit, in South Africa. Those who visited South Africa a year ago (for the World Cup) must understand the verbal form “faced”. Local wizards declared this winter as the coldest in 40 years. Though it’s freezing at night in Mozambique, I’ve been wearing short sleeves most of the days. You can just imagine how it is in the mountains where we stayed! Besides icy cold, it was business and pleasure. Shopping was okay. Nothing exciting left behind. The only 3 or 4 items I liked I call them mine now. Part of the pleasure is always a visit to a restaurant. After dinner I was just a little too happy and wrote the following letter:
Dear Gourmet Restaurant
Today I saw six people fervently saying their prayers before lunch. It was a nice family of five: mother, father, two girls and a boy. They were sitting at a mall restaurant, where religious manifestations are rare. Nonetheless, the question on my mind was: ‘Should we thank for fast-food? Should we thank for that yellowish rice and those frozen fish fingers? What about hearty, comforting home made meals? Do they still exist?’
I was feeling a great deal of guilt because I had just booked a table to visit you tonight, dear restaurant. And so I was the one with real reasons to thank the heavens just because of you.
I am so glad you exist in the square mile of my life! I know there’s a serious probability of 2 or 3 other restaurants not far from here deserving the same love, yet, for me, we are a serious case of monogamy.
Where else can I find those creamy mushrooms, wrapped in such divine, almost imperceptible light pastry? And what to say about the carpaccio, made even more interesting by paper-thin shaves of parmigiano, cherry tomatoes and rocket… a balsamic touch here and there?
Where else can I find a nice face decided to discover the option capable to take me to an unforgettable journey? Lamb or salmon? ‘Salmon, definitively! One of my own favourites.’ And when that salmon arrives, it is in fact a feast to the senses. The portion occupies the center, completely powerful and independent. Perfectly cooked and seasoned. Over it a few tiny slices of onion au jus de vin, a non-interfering note. You can only feel the jus on the islands left by the small new potatoes, cut in half and baked, and the refreshing colour of peas and green beans. I don’t dare to describe what others are having. I am having the same.
I just missed the vegetarian starter, compliment of the house, a change I can relate with seasonal or economical contingencies. Where is the fabulous chocolate and melon tart? You substituted it for a shy copy. That’s not fair!
In terms of wine, we tend to be adventurous when we visit you. We can try different blends, for instance. Shiraz-Merlot is a sure bet. We had never tasted the Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, since Cabernet Sauvignon gives me instant migraine. We were convinced by the first nice face of the night that such blend was “very popular”. You want to know our opinion? Barely drinkable. Cabernet Sauvignon becomes even worse than actually is and the Merlot is completely diluted. No trace of it.
The result is that I ended the night writing this to you, a little too happy to do any other thing. I was lucky to have just a slight migraine, a kind version of one.
As it is evident, the next day, before starting our travel back to Maputo, we made sure the company of Merlot-1, Merlot-2 and Merlot-3. The 2010 bottles are going to sleep for a few years before opening. I am hoping a five years sleep. Sleeping beauties! That’s all, dear gourmet restaurant. Hopefully, I shall see you very soon. Love. Seabell