Roots & Shoots is the name of award-winning chef Chantel Dartnall’s autumn/winter menu for 2016 at Mosaic at the Orient, South Africa’s current Restaurant of the Year.
It again features her signature Botanical Cuisine using only the best seasonal produce with Dartnall taking her cue from nature. The menu also includes dishes inspired by her travels in the past year to South East Asia, including visits to top restaurants in Singapore, Laos and Vietnam.
Dartnall explains the concept behind Dancing Veils (Irish scallops in a maritime broth) and Indochine (skate wings with Ming Kam and a sweet red curry): “Elegance and simplicity is something each chef strives for when creating that perfect dish, but what transforms the dish into something quite unforgettable is sometimes a bit of the exotic and theatrical. With the Dancing Veils the sweetness of the seared scallops is complemented by the slight tartness of the horseradish and the entire dish comes to life with the addition of the pure flavours from the hot maritime broth.
Autumn Leaves came about thanks to a meal Dartnall had in one of the most beautiful and romantic bistros in Paris, Le Grand Café Capucines and captures the simple pleasures of classic French cuisine. The star ingredient is 36 day matured Angus beef with sweetbreads, country mushrooms, Panniyoor pepper and celeriac leaves in a cognac cream.
Restaurant Mosaic’s desserts are equally tantalising – Recipe for Romance is a magical almond and passion fruit blend served with Dartnall’s secret love potion. The Little Black Number is a chocolate lover’s delight – a sinfully decadent composition of layered Callebaut couverture chocolate mousse, ganache, salted caramel and a crunchy wafer served with Italian gelato.
Of course Restaurant Mosaic’s famous cheese trolley as well as the extensive bread and butter selection is still part of the Mosaic magic this autumn.
There is a choice of four Roots & Shoots menus – the Grande Degustation, the Market Degustation as well as the Pescatarian and Vegetarian options. Diners can partake of the connoisseur and enthusiast wine pairings as well as a non-alcoholic pairing with drinks specially chosen to complement the meal, from home-made nasturtium lemonade and a beetroot, cucumber and ginger smoothie to a geisha blossom infusion.
I like nothing better than presenting the art of nature on our guests’ plates. I believe it is vital to serve visually appealing dishes that tell a story and start stimulating our guests’ senses from the moment the food arrives at the table.
Chantel Dartnall | Award-winning Chef
Restaurant Mosaic, which proudly celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, was recently voted by The Diners Club® World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy to be included as one of the top restaurants in The Diners Club® 50 Best Discovery Series. It was the only South African eatery to be included from the six top restaurants for the Middle East and Africa region.
After finishing school Chantel Dartnall enrolled at the Prue Leith College of Food and Wine in Centurion (now the Prue Leith Chef’s Academy). After graduating renowned UK chef Nico Ladenis offered her the position of commis chef in the kitchen of his restaurant, Chez Nico at 90 Park Lane, in London. It was a big break: At that time Nico was one of only two British chefs in possession of three Michelin stars. She also worked with Michael Caines of Gidleigh Park in Devon while chefs such as Ladenis, Alain Ducasse and Marco Pierre White set the standards by which Chantel measured herself on her return to South Africa. She regularly travels the world to keep up with trends and ensure that Mosaic continues to compete with the best dining establishments around the globe.
Renowned South African Impressionist artists and interior decorators were commissioned to step back in time to the romantic early 1900s to create a restaurant that was both romantic and unique and which paid homage to acclaimed chef Chantel Dartnall’s love of Parisian Belle Époque restaurants.
Mosaic at the Orient, which opened in 2006, has an intimate feel with booth-type seats and two private dining rooms. Unlike many other establishments, Chantel is always in charge of the kitchen and in attendance to meet guests when the restaurant is open. Mosaic is known for its impressive degustation menus.
Restaurant Mosaic is located in The Orient Private Hotel in the Francolin Conservation Area, Elandsfontein, Crocodile River Valley, Gauteng. It is a place as unexpected as it is spectacular; an exotic Moorish-inspired palace that transports guests to another time with nothing to distract from the beauty that nature has to offer.
Mosaic has one of the finest and comprehensive cellars in South Africa and regularly hosts gourmet wine events featuring international and local wine makers. It has won numerous awards. There are more than 60 000 bottles under 5000 different labels from South Africa and around the globe. The sommelier is Germain Lehodey who comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the food and beverage department, having started his career as a sommelier at the world renowned restaurant Tour d’Argent in Paris.
Restaurant Mosaic is located in The Orient Private Hotel in the Francolin Conservation Area, Crocodile River Valley, Elandsfontein, Pretoria.