I love food, so much so that if eating were an Olympic sport I’d have numerous gold medals – but one bad meal can really spoil my day and mood.
On a week trip to London, I ate some awful breakfasts at what was said to be a four-star hotel. I experienced the vilest, blandest breakfast ever. London hotels claim that they accommodate international guests but it seems the only thing on the menu was bread.
Even the tiny amount of bacon served was boiled and tasteless. The staff was rude and one was just lucky to get a look in your direction when needing to ask for service.
Dining in Germany is even worse as it seems the country just doesn’t seem to add flavour, including salt, to any meat dish. For me, all the food there had a cardboard-like taste.
I often wonder why when having pretentious conversations about our international travels, South Africans like to pretend that everything international is awesome and service is amazing. Frankly, it isn’t.
After that experience, I’d sworn off hotel food, until recently. After receiving an invite to spend a glorious weekend in the penthouse suite at the Radisson Blu in Sandton, I decided to be more open-minded and take every opportunity to enjoy the fine dining offered by the newly refurbished Vivace Lobby Bar and Restaurant.
I’d been promised by the hotel staff that the breakfast, in particular, was one of the best and I admit that and the food and service didn’t disappoint.
The menu is extensive and the variety will leave you with a full stomach contemplating the shortest route to your room that requires the least amount of movement.
South African hotel restaurants have really stepped it up when it comes to catering to the varying palettes of guests.
The Vivace Restaurant even offers the choice of sushi for guests who prefer seafood as part of what they call the super breakfast. There are also vegan and authentically South African dishes.
I now have a better understanding why it’s called the super breakfast, because with the wide selection on offer, it’s difficult to get through most of the options unless you’re staying for a week and decide to try something different every day.
It seems the restaurant has done their research about what guests would like to eat and decided to accommodate various types of guests, which is fantastic and rare.
Being a buffet allows the selection to be bottomless; you could literally eat yourself to death. The gluttonous part of me felt like the greedy Violet Beauregarde, a character from The Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who expanded after eating blueberry pie.
Apart from the exciting selection of dishes, the restaurant has a breathtaking view as it’s situated on the 13th floor of the hotel, high enough to showcase the Sandton skyline at its finest. Built with glass panelling all round, you’re enveloped in the beauty of the city.
In the evening, the hotel offers diners the option of a set menu which comes with a starter, mains and dessert at one price or guests can opt to eat different meals from the affordable menu. At under R650, you can have a full three-course meal.
There were many people who weren’t staying at the hotel who came in to have dinner.
My top choice from the evening menu would have to be the Norwegian Salmon for starters and the flavourful rib eye steak. And for dessert, just like Violet Beauregarde, tuck into everything you can.