Ever woken up of a morning with the desire to treat yourself to a really slap-up nosh and, getting dressed, you just happen to find some forgotten cash in an old jacket pocket? Me neither, but it was a nice little fantasy while it lasted.
Back in reality, we have been exploring some of the outlying areas of PE in search of a place in which to find a toothsome repast. And it came to pass that The Elephant Walk appeared on the map and we decided that a spot of reconnaissance was in order…entirely for the benefit of you, the reader, of course.
If, after the crush of Saturday’s shopping, the thought of yet another toasted sandwich or burger palls; drive on the N2 out of PE and take the Seaview off-ramp towards the coast. At the intersection of the Kragga Kamma (M15) and Seaview roads, you’ll find this delightful nook of canny culinary craftsmanship.
Cosily ensconced among several sheltering trees, this tranquil garden makes an ideal setting for either a scrumptious meal at the restaurant, an ale or two quaffed with a couple of mates in the pub area; or stiffening the upper lip with the froth of a cappuccino while immersing yourself in a good book.
Afterwards, you and your gastric juices can peruse the mouth-watering array of local produce and imported goods on display in the farm-produce shop cleverly situated adjacent to the eating area. We’ve sampled some of their wares and in the words of that popular Californian Governor, “We’ll be back.”
If bric-a-brac is your thing, then lose your way meandering through the faded, sentimental clutter that is the antique shop, and perhaps find ‘just the thing’ for your mantelpiece.
Forgive me, I also nearly lost my way and forgot to tell you about the restaurant. A word on the menu offerings: Delightful. Belgian owner and chef, Nadia Damseaux and her business partner Natalie have combined a French-Belgian fusion with a twist of Africa to entice your taste buds. Most of the ingredients are sourced locally or harvested from their organic gardens on the property. This is honestly a great place to sit ruminatively contemplating the universe, world peace or thinking up valid reasons why the lawn only needs to be mowed tomorrow.
Mrs Chips and I shared a starter of battered prawns in a sweet chilli sauce; a safely cosmopolitan dish, one in which we could always drown the prawns if they were awful. We needn’t have worried. The prawns were done to a turn and the batter in which they were enrobed was flavoursome and crispy. The accompanying rice (which, in far too many restaurants, is either like chewing polystyrene packing chips, or eating porridge) complemented the prawns with a tasty but understated zing.
For the entrée, Mrs chips selected the Rib eye steak with veg., and your writer decided on the grilled Yellowtail with (I had to do it folks) chips. While the fish was tasty, I have had better. Mrs Chips’ steak was done to a turn and her vegetables were apparently delicious.
We thus come to the clinical scorecard for Elephant Walk…
|Category||# out of 10||Notable Points|
|Perceived target market||*||A family eatery successfully several notches above the steakhouse chains – but also aiming to a wide clientele.|
|Date & Time of first visit||*||1 May 2012|
|Welcome/greeting||9||We were greeted and seated as we entered.|
|Manager visible?||10||The owner was present on both occasions and she passed by our table more than once to ensure all was well|
|Quality of staff||9||The waitresses knew the menu and the specials well and were friendly and efficient.|
|Ambiance||9||I enjoyed the tranquil garden-like atmosphere, as well as the presence of the multitude of orphaned pets. If you are allergic to cats or dogs, this is not the place for you.|
|Table appearance||9||The tables were clean and simply laid out.|
|Menu variety & flexibility||9||The French/Belgian/African offerings are varied and attractive. The waitresses indicated that they would spare no effort to change a dish if required.|
|Cleanliness||9||Despite the presence of the animals, the dining area was remarkably clean and devoid of any annoying pet hair. All cutlery and crockery was faultless|
|Service||9||All orders were carried out without error and the waitresses were personable and engaging.|
|Promptness||9||Good dishes take a little longer to prepare and ours arrived at the table within 20 minutes.|
|Food – presentation||9||Every dish was attractively arranged and the overall presentation was most pleasing.|
|Ingredient quality||10||Top drawer stuff. I couldn’t fault the ingredients – from the meat to the garnish.|
|Taste||8||In general – two very agreeable experiences. The watery Yellowtail brought the average down one notch.|
|Delivered as advertised||9||Without question.|
|Worth the spend||9||Yes!! And when we can’t eat at the restaurant, we will avail ourselves of the dishes prepared for the produce shop.|
|Worth going again||10||Absolutely|
|Total Score||137||Out of 150 – very respectable!|
Since our first visit, we have indeed returned, and on the subsequent visit, we reined ourselves in on the starters in the hope of sampling the desserts, about which our waitress waxed almost poetic. Sadly it was not to be. Mrs Chips ordered the Venison Curry while yours truly sank a tooth into a ladies portion of Fillet in Brandy and Pepper Sauce (getting in touch with one’s feminine side, I believe it’s called). Both of these items ought to carry a health warning to mind your fingers – they were superb. Such was the taste and generosity of helping that I am unable to report on the desserts. However, it makes for a great excuse to go back, don’t you think?