Recently, a good friend of mine returned to South Africa for a brief 13 day reprieve. Laura, along with her fiancé Troy, have spent the last two years abroad in Japan teaching English to the natives. Although they have both been enjoying the unique experience, they, like Dorothy, could not wait to tap their heels because, no matter how short the stay, “there is no place like home”.
If you are wondering about the title of this post, it is supposed to translate into something like: “Internationalised Foreign Friends”. For all I know it could mean “Tasty Octopus Nipples”, what with the dubious reliability of some of the Internet’s ‘translation engines’.
The most memorable evening took place on Saturday night, 8th August 2009. Upon my recommendation, myself, Mik, Nicholas, Laura and Troy, made our way to the Nelson Mandela square in Sandton City. Those of you who know me personally, can attest to the fact that I always like to try new and exciting places or events. As a result, I managed to persuade almost everyone to try Lekgotla), an African styled restaurant, with the hopes of getting to eat a gastronomically unique dish. We were not disappointed.
Lekgotla is Tswana for ‘the meeting place’, and what a meeting place it is. The place is beautiful. There are no two ways about it. Think traditional African symbolism meets modern European contemporary art. The perfect place to bring foreigners for a taste of African culture.
Thankfully we arrived before the dinner time rush and were thus able to procure and be seated at one of the restaurant’s exclusive ‘gotla’ – one of only two hut-like structures that are able to seat eight people comfortably.
To be frank, the food was simply spectacular! All the way from the Crocodile Carpaccio, Peanut Butter Calamari and Vetkoek starters, to the Ethiopian Coffee Steak, Glazed Pear infused Ostrich fillet and vegetarian platter main courses, and finally all the way to the stomach distending three Crème brûlées degustation dessert; not a single dish was a disappointment. Honestly, a part from being absolutely divine, the food also served as a form of entertainment value for the evening. Discussing the strange delicacies and varied tastes made way for interesting conversational elements and, in some cases, the food prompted ‘hands on’ action as well as the often unexpected, and rather loud, oral expulsion of digestive gases. It was definitely an evening to remember!
Furthermore, throughout the course of the evening, we were constantly impressed by the level of service, but even more so by the welcomed yet unexpected amenities. To begin, we were all offered a cleansing vanilla infused hand wash, with vanilla scented towels to boot. Our hands smelled delicious, unfortunately they did not taste that way. After that a cart was brought over with an opportunity to try out a traditional ‘cocktail’. After come impressive bottle work, we were handed the crushed ice, vodka, honey and lemon juice cocktails. Although the drink sounds like something which could clear ones sinuses, it was actually rather good. A short time later, after the starters, we were given the chance to bare tribal markings upon our beautiful visages. Unfortunately, no one was keen to have their face painted, no matter how ‘unique’ the experience on offer was. Next time though! To top it all off, we were eventually asked if we would have liked our shoes shined. Once again, no one obliged. Although this time it was not for lack of trying, but merely because no one was wearing shoes which could have been shined. To conclude, the service at Lekgotla was excellent. From the moment we arrived we were greeted warmly and made to feel as if we were the only people there. Granted we were at the time, but the level of service did not decline even though the place eventually filled up faster than a rush hour taxi.
In essence it was really very good to spend time with everyone, especially Laura and Troy. They have both grown tremendously as a couple and we are all looking forward to their big day – possibly in 2010. We miss them both quite a lot, but we are immensely thankful for the time we were able to have together. The venue just made the experience that much better. After all, nothing is better than creating highly memorable moments, with unforgettably awesome people.
Until the next time “Milieunairs”!