Rather than rattle through the entire Sunday menu at Roots, where Rob and I celebrated our first six months of married life as we basked in the golden sunshine and tawny light of the highveld winter, the mirrored surface of the dam before us and the wood-and-glass elegance of the restaurant at our backs, let me share with you a sense of just one dish: the first course, after an amuse bouche – Butternut Soup.
Not just any butternut soup: this was presented as a scoop of – wait for it – curry ice-cream (yes, curry ice-cream) in the deep centre of a wide-rimmed white bowl; and when the bowls had been carefully centred on the perspex place-mats before us, through which we could read the six-course Lunch Menu and the list of Wine Teasers, a waiter came round with a tall silver jug from which she poured a careful measure of silkily refined, smoothly orange butternut soup.
A work of art, indeed: a study in colour, texture, temperature and taste that set the scene for what was to follow – and what was to keep us occupied, interested, entertained and absorbed well into the late afternoon.
What the heck, let me spell it out for you – prawns perched on a corn salsa with squid ink pasta, hondashi froth and sauce meuniere; chive crusted cob on tomato smoor lentils with peas and lemon cream; confit duck with a celeriac puree, honey-roasted beetroot, mange tout and truffle jus; a green apple sorbet to cleanse the palate; strawberry chocolate tart with creme anglaise and pistachio ice-cream; and finally (excepting, that is, the coffee and hand-made chocolates) a Danish Blue Cheese Cake with pears, walnuts and rocket.
On the drive back home, through the fading light that spread across the ancient rolling hills of the Magaliesberg, we joked about who was going to make the supper, and what we should have. And then we did nothing. How could we, after such an experience?