By Nerissa Card
How many readers remember restaurant critic Anne Stevens? I was fortunate enough to work with Anne on Durban daily newspaper The Mercury for nearly three decades and, during that time, ate out with her… a lot.
Fordoun in Nottingham Road was among very few KwaZulu-Natal restaurants rated by Anne when she was in the game.
That was some years back, but having eaten there the other night, and having eaten out with Anne so regularly, I think I am qualified to say that Chef Lorenzo Giliomee’s fusion comfort food would keep Fordoun up there with her best.
Lorenzo, who has been at the venue for more than four years, trained under the formidable Christina Martin.
Thereafter he plied his trade locally at Sir Richard Branson’s Ulusaba Game Reserve, Sabi Sabi, Kapama Reserve, Ivory Tree Lodge, GrootBos Nature Reserve, Pearl Valley Golf Estate, Palmiet Valley Estate and Critchley Hackle Lodge. Abroad, he has worked at the Dan Hotel and Tel Hazor Hotel School in Israel.
Fordoun’s restaurant recently underwent a major revamp, under the watchful eye of decorator Georgie Ridl. Drawing inspiration from nature and far-off destinations, it features rich textures and colours in a luxurious “garden setting”. We were seated in the patio area and it was as if we had been transported to the beautiful surrounds of warm, tropical locations – just the thing for a cold winter’s night.
And the menu warms the heart and soul.
Drawing influences from South America to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and our very own Midlands, your tastebuds are spoilt for choice.
For starters, we had spiced beetroot carpaccio with marinated labneh, zucchini ribbons, chickpea croquettes and salad greens, as well as grilled Patagonian calamari with tomato and olive ragout, served with bruschetta.
For me, it was a toss-up between the Midlands trout, chicken liver and forest mushroom pate and the carpaccio. I’m glad I chose the latter. It was unlike anything I have eaten before and I could have raided the kitchen for a very large takeaway of those chickpea croquettes.
Other options are a smoked “Wayfarer” trout salad; oak-smoked duck breast with a mustard cream cheese crepe and nut brittle; and tempura prawns with caper salsa, Asian greens, wasabi dressing and capsicum aioli.
Perfectly cooked venison with herbed peppadew and buckwheat salad, and linefish (hake) on basmati rice with oriental veggies were our mains. And if you think hake is boring, think again. If I hadn’t been so full after attacking Garth’s springbok, I would have ordered another portion.
Mains include a beef fillet on potato-veggie rosti with marinated artichokes, roasted tomato-fennel chutney and brie; mustard lamb cutlets with crushed potatoes; grilled duck breast; slow-roasted lamb shank with some good old Irish colcannon potatoes; and cider-braised pork belly. Not forgetting the lamb or vegetable curry pots.
Vegetarians are catered for with tri-colour risotto (butternut, beetroot and spinach), puttanesca or gorgonzola gnocchi, and stuffed baked aubergine with hummus, baba ganoush and pita.
How we managed a pud is anyone’s guess, but we couldn’t resist sharing the dark chocolate and croissant bread pudding served with Amarula ice cream and salted caramel sauce.
We should have had the seasonal fruit sorbet or the trio of mango, milk tart and beetroot ice cream, but it is the middle of winter.
If those don’t grab you, opt for rooibos-infused creme brulee or a deconstructed citrus meringue with orange parfait, lime ice cream and lemon curd. Then top it all off with a Midlands cheese board. I dare you…
Prices: Starters R60 to R80, mains R130 to R205, desserts R70 to R85, cheese board R90.