A fine appreciation for food at De Hoek Country Hotel
I remember Michael Holenstein from the days when he ran a pizzeria from the Jo'burg suburb of Windsor. If you hadn't tried the pizza and pasta and Papa Gigi, you really hadn't lived. Queues used to snake out of the restaurant's front door, and no one seemed to mind because Holenstein's delicious meals were always worth the wait.
So much has changed in the last two decades – Papa Gigi is a fond memory, and now the place to try is the gorgeous De Hoek Country Hotel in the Magaliesberg, known for its beautiful setting and incredible food.
Holenstein continues to wow guests with his French-inspired cuisine, and De Hoek Country Hotel has become a favourite venue for those living in Johannesburg and Pretoria to celebrate special events. His menus make use of the best of local produce, and he uses French classics as the base for his delectable meals.
While Holenstein doesn't do all the cooking these days (he has trained staff to do this), he is very closely involved in ensuring that standards are of the highest quality – so it's no wonder guests come back time and time again for that special De Hoek treatment.
The menu changes daily, depending on what's available and what inspires Holenstein and his staff.
The dining room is small and intimate and the service is excellent; you somehow know that the staff enjoy what they do, so the vibe is relaxed. Dinners are a fine affair and consist of five delicious courses, enjoyed after a sherry at the bar. If you're lucky you'll get to chat to assistant GM Henry Sisya, who is a mine of information, and who has been at the establishment for more than 12 years.
Breakfasts are delectable affairs that stretch long into the morning, while Sunday lunch is a big favourite with out-of-towners. During the summer, lunches and teas are served in the beautiful gardens.
If you are intent on a real spoil, then book to stay for the weekend and enjoy the sights and attractions (great walks and activities). Or you may just want to catch up on some rest and relaxation by hanging around the lounge area, book in hand, waiting for the next meal to be called.
A visit to De Hoek is a culinary feast, and if you've been once, you'll certainly want to return for more.
Category: Food & Wine