A Radisson food journey across South Africa
This is something that is usually assessed based on the hotel and the hotel room.
I know that I have done it many times. I’ll walk into a hotel scan the surroundings and then just assume “the food will be good here” or assume the opposite. And it’s become more common in SA for hotels to now be the final destination for travellers. You get to the accommodation and then for whatever reason you don’t want to leave the hotel.
The food, drinks and even entertainment must be within arm’s length because exploring beyond the hotel foyer doors isn’t as appealing.
This is what happened to me on a recent whistle-stop tour of some of the Radisson Hotels around the country.
They spruced up their food and beverage offerings ahead of summer and there are many new things to taste and sip on the menu.
Each hotel has its own character and this translates to your plate and cocktail glass.
Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth
Only few hours into my stay at the Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth did I notice that it is the tallest building in PE. This means that you’re guaranteed the best view not only of the city, but also the beachfront when you’re having your sundowner.
And when you’re looking at the cocktail menu there are many things to tickle your fancy.
There are three cocktails you should try when you sit down at the bar. First up is the Chilled Poncho, which is a mix of Bulldog gin, Fabri, agave syrup, lemon juice and paprika spice.
If you’re looking for something fruitier then try the Tropic Boom - Appleton Estate rum, Fabri coconut mix bar syrup, lemon, pineapple and orange juice. If you like the mix of sweet and sour then it’s an Oh Honey Bee cocktail you’re after.
It’s a mix of Espolon tequila, Fabri sweet and sour mix, Martini Bianco, Fabri strawberry and soda water.
Award-winning mixologist AJ Snetler has joined the Radisson team and he is steering the ship when it comes to the mixers and cocktails created at many of the hotels - Port Elizabeth is no different.
The dinner menu at this restaurant could easily overwhelm you with the myriad options. Whether you have the pulled beef arancini or the venison medallions for mains it’s advisable to leave space for the delicious dessert.
The lemon tart is simple but flavourful and there is no better way to end your meal.
Radisson Blu V&A Waterfront
The spectacular view at this hotel cannot be ignored and it’s the perfect setting for any meal or a drink. The best time to take your seat here is for the Sunday buffet. You couldn’t ask for more options, it’s the traditional roast and veg on steroids. The dessert table will satisfy even the sweetest tooth, from cakes to chocolate, it is the ultimate indulgence. This was no more evident than when I was standing at the table considering which dessert to tackle when a boy ran towards the table, looked up at me and asked: “Is it your birthday? Are these all your sweets?”
That is what how celebratory the spread is; you could be fooled into thinking it’s a special occasion, but it’s only lunch. The tiki cocktails are tailor-made for the sundowners you’ll have while taking in the view.
Radisson Hotel and Residence
This hotel has arguably the best location in the Mother City, situated on Riebeek Street in the heart of the city centre. The business-hotel look at this property can be deceiving and there is a great, energetic vibe at the bar off the foyer. The real magic lies at the Ghibli Bar & Pool Terrace though. There fun cocktail menu includes horoscope cocktails - one for each star sign. This is a great ice-breaker if you’re on a first date and looking for something fun to tackle together.
The food on offer here is also very tasty. The kitchen serves more than just bar nibbles, the chicken and beef skewers will be hard to walk away from. At the restaurant you will find an intimate dining space with a menu that boasts fine dining elements. There was regular music on the evening I had dinner - there was a jazz singer entertaining diners.
The youthful and energetic vibe at the Radisson Red Cape Town is infectious. The food is simple and on trend - so this is where you’ll get your vegan-gluten free fix.
The house craft beer is a great start to your rooftop pool chill. The magic on the menu here is that this is where you will find an authentic taste of Cape Town.
The fish, curries and everything in between is all part of what they call the Cape Town Corner.
But it’s the humble koesister that is the star of the show when you wake up at this hotel on a Sunday morning. Chef Naseer Abdullah was part of the judging panel on the inaugural World Koesister Day held at the Radisson Red and now the winning koesister is on their menu.
Auntie Asa Moosa has perfected this sweet, tasty treat and it is simply delicious.
In the hustle and bustle of Sandton, Gauteng, you’ll find this gem on the doorstep of the Gautrain.
There is a Cape Malay-style curry on the new menu that will blow you away. Once again all of the cocktails are fruity and seasonal but with a real kick.
This is the ideal spot for the busy executive who wants more than just a whisky, but a meal that has a home-cooked feel and bar that will definitely keep you lingering longer.