Dining in Pietermaritzburg seems to be more often than not a franchised affair than anything else. So it is refreshing when a new restaurant with a decidedly different spin appears.
This is precisely what Elephant & Co has achieved.
What is it about?
Elephant & Co is Pietermaritzburg’s newest artisanal dining experience. They aim to please and my goodness do they only manage to achieve this goal.
Whether it be the brightly coloured mural of a jungle scene with the elephant in question or the oversize menus with cursive font and flashes of gold or the biscotti that comes with the glass-clad cappuccino; it seems dining pleasure is well within the grasp of the visitor.
The considerable lantern-like lighting is an absolute delight. I love it when this kind of aspect of the interior is treated as part of the guest experience. Lighting extends the ambience of a room and can help set all manner of moods if done well.
Velveteen pillars and chairs, gorgeous deep blue napkins embossed in gold with their name, blues playing in the background, I simply revel in the mood of this modern-day glimpse of when dining was a speciality experience to be delighted in.
Chef and Owner Gregg Oosthuizen has opened Elephant & Co. with a bang at Athlone Square.
The food is not only artistically presented in the menu, but it is also a work of art on a plate. Your pocket is definitely going to feel this dining experience, but it is worth it.
The food is dainty and pretty but also packs surprising amounts of flavour. You keep on wanting to go back for more to try and figure that flavour out.
I had the Millionaire Breakfast which included perfect consistency scrambled eggs, rosemary and potato bread, gold leaf and pockets of caviar with dried tomato. This tasty treat is complemented by a raspberry flower spritz virgin cocktail (the liquor license is still in the works, so if you want an alcoholic drink, you can bring your own at no corkage).
The breakfast pictured alongside mine above is for a hearty appetite and includes rosemary sumac potato crisps, artisan farm sausage, free-range eggs, charred onions, creamy mushrooms tomato confit and toast.
If you want to take a look at the delicious fare produced here, you can download a copy of the menu below.
Just in case you may be a fan of freshly baked croissants, tarts, buns and patisserie; please note that the wonders that come from this kitchen are available until sold out. Which I am sure will be fairly fast.
If you are wondering from a dietary perspective, the flour is stone-ground, non GMO, unbleached and preservative-free natural flour.
What about those Summer afternoons?
For those that may want to linger with friends and loved ones listening to the crooning music and watching the sunset, there is a particularly lovely menu of cocktails and craft beers that will be available within weeks (just need that liquor license to get approved by the necessary folks).
I find this restaurant to be an absolute treat for the senses. It almost makes me wonder how much we have been missing out in our Sleepy Hollow. I am so very glad that Gregg has taken the leap to create such a wonderful dining offer to Pietermaritzburg and look forward to making some very memorable moments dining here.