Muldersdrift is awash with fine dining, casual open-air beer cafés, and quaint inn-style pubs and it can often be hard to choose where to go. We tried two varying Muldersdrift restaurants and came away delighted in different ways.
Bidon Bistro, Muldersdrift
I was first introduced to this roadside café when begrudgingly training for my first cycle race. And while it’s a real buzz for those on two wheels, it’s also great for pizza. With this in mind, I convinced my partner to join me on a lunch excursion to this quaint spot – after the rush of Tour de France hopefuls, of course.
On the Kromdraai Road near the Cradle of Humankind, this open-air bistro makes the most of Mzansi’s sunny weather with almost all of its tables set outside under trees or corrugated-iron roofs. There’s even
a water feature trickling away in the background.
Since we’d come so far – all Muldersdrift restaurants are about a 45-minute drive from central Johannesburg – we settled in for a couple of starters before the main event. Jalapeño poppers with sweet chilli (R65) and medallions of pork belly served with Asian sauce and rice (R65). The crunchy poppers literally popped in my mouth before the squelch of cream cheese took over. The medallions were cooked to perfection and beautifully tender.
We overshot the mark a bit due to the generous portion sizes of the starters, but we’d come all this way for pizza so settled on sharing one: a Quattro with ham, olives, artichokes and mushrooms (R115). Crafted from freshly made dough, and baked in a stone oven, the pizza base was one Goldilocks would have approved of – not too thick and not too thin, just right.
Dessert and cake was not an option, and we ended with a cappuccino (R26) and a cookies-and-cream milkshake (R46).
The coffee at Bidon is an absolute must and could be why so many cyclists choose to make the café their start and endpoint. The restaurant is fully licensed with a reasonable wine list to suit everyone’s pocket.
Open Tuesday to Friday from 08h00 to 17h00, and Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays from 07h00 to 17h00.
076 011 2612 or bidonbistro.co.za
A dining experience at Roots Restaurant starts at the gates of the Letamo Game Farm. You’re forced to gear down and take it slow as you trundle down the dirt road to the five-star Forum Homini Boutique Hotel. If you’re lucky, you might see some kudu, steenbuck, zebra or hippo on your way in.
From the parking it’s a short walk to the hotel, which blends perfectly with the surrounding landscape. Forum Homini is filled with small details that touch on the evolution of man, from the recreation of the footprints of our lesser-evolved ancestors set into the pathways to the rock slabs that greet you as you wander down to the restaurant’s deck. The weather played along so we sat outside overlooking the dam that was teeming with birdlife.
The lunchtime menu was a three-course affair (R295). We opted for the wine-teaser option (R75 extra) that includes a selection of carefully chosen local wines to complement each dish.
First out of the kitchen was the salmon roulade. Picture perfect.
I always regret destroying the carefully crafted plating, here a swish of avo mousse and soya gel dotted around a bed of salmon and cream cheese with spring onion on top. Simply delicious, and we both found ourselves mopping up every morsel on our plate.
Next, a confit leg of duck served with broccoli, sweet corn and broccoli fricassée, moreish ginger and sweet-potato purée, duck snow and finished off with a sprinkling of porcini dust.
For the finale, the Roots Fruit Salad which was nothing like the fruit salad your Aunt Nellie brings for Christmas lunch. A visual delight of pineapple frangipani, pineapple salsa, pineapple and granadilla consomme, lemon curd, mixed-berry gel, fresh plum, grilled apple cheek, lemon sorbet and white-chocolate snow. On a fairly warm day, this was a welcome sweet treat, light and refreshing after the overindulgence.
Booking is essential. Unlike many Muldersdrift restaurants, Roots is closed to outside guests for breakfast and dinner on Sundays.
Call 011 668 7000 or head to forumhomini.com/rootsrestaurant