I was recently on the road on a trip from Windhoek in Namibia to Kasane in Botswana via the Okavango Delta and the Chobe National Park. When in Botswana, we visited one of the most spiritual places I know - Tsodilo Hills. Locally it is also known as Mountain of the Gods. It is the most sacred site for the Bushman (San) peoples.
Today I am not going to write about Tsodilo because I have written about it before. Rather I am going to blog about something else that is sacred to me - food. In particular I am going to introduce you to a great restaurant that is in a most unexpected place. Perhaps sometime in the future each of my fellow bloggers could tell us about one of their special eating or drinking places.
About five years ago I put together a three-week trip with some friends through Namibia. When I enquired about a place to eat in Windhoek the night before we set out, I was told to eat at NICE - the Namibian Institute for Culinary Education. And nice it was. Actually much better than nice - delicious food, excellent selection of wines, attentive but not overbearing service, all set in a delightful setting.
NICE is basically a finishing school for chefs, giving the trainees, not only the opportunity of working in a popular operating kitchen, but also of being a chef at private functions. In addition, trainees learn all aspects of the business of restaurants.
|Larger dining room|
The setting for NICE is a remodelled1900-ish house at 2 Mozart Street that was once the home of an official in the bureaucracy of the German Southwest Africa administration. The building has been adapted extremely well to create a number of private small to medium rooms, each with its own character, that are used for dining. In the centre of the house is the kitchen, open for viewing, and a tasteful bar. There is also a lovely outdoor area for drinks and snacks when the weather is conducive.
To me the most appealing aspect of the decor are the photographs on the walls. There is a series of sepia shots of trainee chefs in the most unexpected setting - the desert. These lovely photos give the restaurant a distinctive feel.
|The kitchen from the viewing area|
When I was there the other night, I had a springbok carpaccio as my starter. As my main course, I enjoyed roast loin of oryx (gemsbok), with onion marmalade and garlic mashed potatoes. Yummy. And I finished with a tasty melktert (milk tart) and cuppucino. To round out the evening I had a whisky Dom Pedro – a cold ice cream drink, very popular in Southern Africa.
Now I am hungry and better go and have dinner!
Stan - Thursday