Oliver Twist had it right. Food is a glorious thing. Especially so when your palate gets to experience something new.
I recently won a free food experience thanks to event, lifestyle and social guide, Likers of Things. Their platform is great for people that enjoy doing all the things, and if you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll know I’m one of them.
- Take me to where I can read about the food.
You can find everything from music festivals, to top theatre picks on Likers of Things. I like food and happened to come across a review of Parc Ferme Restaurant and their plans to launch a new African-inspired menu, just in time for
our my holiday food binge.
What can I say, I couldn’t resist when I saw the words “enter here” and it was well worth it.
Parc Ferme is located in the heart of Sandton. It’s kind of like an old gem that’s always been around and you probably know well, but maybe haven’t dared experience – yet.
It’s established enough for the subtle African decor elements to speak for themselves without needing to be overly extravagant. I personally like the toned down nature of the black, white and grey colour scheme the restaurant embodies, but I’m not here to talk about the decor.
The night started as any evening should. With a delicious red wine.
Suggested by my lovely host for the evening, Jeanine Smith, Marketing Manager: Special Projects at Legacy Hotels and Resorts; we indulged in a glass of Petit Plaisir, Plaisir de Merle Merlot. A ruby red wine with a subtle sweetness that’s very easy on the palate. It was very plummy and very yummy.
We then had time to enjoy some ambient sounds provided by the live Saxophonist and Piano player. What’s a good night out without some great sounds to carry the mood?
I took the opportunity while waiting for our starters to speak to Jeanine about the Jeune Afrique menu launch and why they had chosen to go with this theme. While the festive season is a great time to introduce new elements to any restaurant menu, this wasn’t the sole reason behind it.
“Parc Ferme has been around for a long time and the menu boasts a great selection of familiar favourites. The introduction of this menu is not just for the festive season. It’s a way to give this established restaurant a bit of character and personality,” she said.
If there’s ever been a way to show personality in Africa, food is definitely it and I think most people will welcome the selection of dishes specially prepared to represent and showcase elements from different regions around Africa.
Jeanine mentioned that there is a demand for Afro-fusion cuisine and being in the heart of Sandton where many nations meet and greet every day, why not take the chance to give their taste buds a new experience?
I agree, Jeanine. There’s definitely a demand for great African flavours that not many restaurants currently offer. I mean, you can find a dish here and there, but knowing your menu has been prepared by Mauritian Executive Chef, Atmaram Mahadea in consultation with chefs from the various regions featured on the menu just makes it that much more exciting.
Our starter was a trio of soups.
A curried lentil soup, served with a toasted baguette, dotted with fresh tomato; a rich, slightly sweet, french onion soup, topped with a pastry puff; and a spicy, light and brothy goat soup. Yes, a goat soup.
I must say, I wasn’t sure what to expect with that one, but I can tell you it was slurped down very quickly once I had the first spoon.
Next came our mains.
I chose the Senegalese Mafe lamb stew. A West African dish cooked with a very different (and delicious) peanut and tomato sauce. My host went for the beef fillet served with polenta gratin; and my plus one, who was the most adventurous of us all, choose the Nigerian red goat stew, served with jollof rice (as the Naija do) and plantain.
Each dish smelled delicious and tasted as flavourful as I had hoped. (Yes, I managed to slip my fork into my plus one’s plate and I’d do it again without batting an eye).
The peanut and tomato combo in the lamb stew was really pleasant. The flavours were rich and warm and it paired well with the basmati rice. Plus the lamb melted in my mouth – what’s not to love about that?
The red goat stew was definitely more tomato-ey and had a depth of flavour. The jollof rice was nicely spiced and I think the plantain was a bit of a palate cleanser. I did find the combination of the goat and rice a bit overwhelming but I know our Nigerian brothers and sisters do love their spices, so I’ll blame that one on my weak taste buds.
Then came dessert.
A delightful little chocolate dome, lightly dusted with some sweetness and served with vanilla ice-cream. Absolute heaven.
It even did the thing that real fondants are meant to do and oozed chocolate goodness all over my plate. If only Gordon Ramsay was there to witness the moment…
By the time the night was over, I was fully satisfied and much more rotund than when the night began. It was a delight, not only because of the showcase of African flavours but the mood, people and experience of Parc Ferme as a whole was exceptional.
When you can’t wait to get your next fix of goat soup, you know you’ve got a winner.