St Ives, Lion’s River

Andrea Abbott meanders through the KZN Midlands and tries the local restaurants

A restaurant with a waterside setting is always appealing. At St Ives, an extensive deck overlooks a lake on which elegant swans glide peacefully until one of them takes off, shattering the serenity. It’s a spectacle that provides entertainment while you wait for lunch to arrive. And certainly, at St Ives you do wait, because the emphasis is on slow food. ‘Good food takes a while’ the menu announces, indicating that almost everything that comes out of the kitchen is freshly made from scratch.

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My mother Margaret and I perused the menu – starters range from Soup of the Day (R39) to Prawn Scampi (R79). Mains include Midlands Meander Trout cooked in a lemon-butter sauce topped with capers and almonds (R99) and Famous Slow Cooked Lamb Shank cooked in a port and vegetable gravy (R139). I thought that Mother, with her taste for rich flavours, would go for one of those. Instead, bacon-addicted as she is, she chose the Ladies Sweet and Sticky Pork Spare Ribs with chips (R89.) I should have guessed. En route to St Ives, she’d wondered if she could order from the breakfast menu. “Definitely not,” I’d said, but in retrospect, the staff were so obliging, she probably could have.

Anyway, those ribs did the trick: she tucked into them with a vigour that belies her 90 years. I half expected her to toss the bones over her shoulder. “Delicious sauce,” she said, dipping her sticky fingers in the finger bowl.

I, the vegetarian in the family, chose the Chef’s Famous Vegetable Curry and Rice (R79.) It came in a cute three-legged iron pot and had a good bite as befits a curry from KZN. On the downside there were too many carrots, my least favourite vegetable, not that the chef could have known. Replete though we were (the portions were very generous), we couldn’t resist the dessert special: Red Velvet Mousse Cake (R39.) Except for a rather dry base, it was wickedly good and the perfect complement to the Terbodore cappuccinos that we sipped while watching the sun slip behind the hills.

Booking advised especially for the Sunday Buffet Breakfast and Carvery Lunch.

033 234 4490

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