There's not much that surpasses the travel experience, except perhaps, and quite ironically, coming home to your own bed after a long journey away from home. What undoubtedly enhances travel are the great meals (read 'extraordinary culinary experiences') in unexpected places... as well as the unexpected and highly intense social interactions with other human beings on the 'same level' as you that par for the course. Now imagine bringing these two together... but while travelling!
A restaurant in my own province, of Mpumalanga, that I've often dipped into after a day or few days of being on the local road, is Canimambo in Graskop. It's never let me down.
I love the combination of Mozambican, Portuguese and South African cooking.
I love the friendly staff, like our waiter Maxwell who looked us in the eye and welcomed us, as well as the fact that the host (Lance) leaves you well alone to write your notes, to take your time with whatever, including eating, and that - most of all - his partner (Carla) is hands-on in the kitchen.
That they have Portuguese wine and Mozambican beer is another plus. Also that it's always full with a great mix of locals, local tourists, and foreign visitors.
Not to mention that Canimambo is value for money. On Sunday evening my starter was mussels with cream and garlic sauce (R39.90), while for main I supped on a hearty bean stew with chouriço and smoked chicken (R59.50). (Delicious Portuguese chouriço – sausage - get its distinctive smokiness and deep red colour from dried smoked red peppers). I also made a point of dipping into Steffen's aromatic chicken chauti, a Mozambican dish served with coconut rice and salad (R59.50).
Next time I'm heading straight for their renowned seafood platter.
Info: +27 13 767 1868
Canimambo Restaurant, Graskop
Corner of Louis Trichardt and Hoof Streets
They have a sister restaurant in Dullstroom, which I'm dying to try. Canimambo also boasts a Platinum Star Award from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa.
* 'Obrigado' is ‘thank you’ in Portuguese.