Being a foodie and a (somewhat) blogger in Jozi is really quite glorious. Fabulous invitations to swish events where you’re basically doused with champagne and leave giddy and fuelled with enough bubbly to write a sparkling review about the restaurant/launch/function/hotel you’ve been to.
Working full-time while getting invited to such events? A complete and utter drag. I missed out on countless fun launches and parties because I was stuck at a client event (behind the scenes) or had to be in the office. So when I received an email containing an invite to the launch of the new high tea menu at The Saxon, I swooned. It came at the perfect time. Exactly a week after my first day of freelancing.
Elated that I had the chance to wear a pretty dress, high-heels and nude fishnets (which I obviously ended up ripping as I got into my car), I made my way to The Saxon, a bit unsure of what to expect. See, I had never been before. Yes, me. (Foodies, hang your heads in shame – NOW.)
For those of you who have been, there’s no need for me to explain the detail and dedication that goes into The Saxon and the way they treat their guests. For those who haven’t been…It’s hard to explain, but I’ll give it a bash.
Driving up the long, curved pathway was pretty therapeutic – or maybe I was just in that kind of head space. I parked my car (which I should have had washed, in hindsight) and met my lovely, darling friend Alida in the basement. We were ushered into a (clean) white BMW and driven not even 100 metres to the front entrance. Yes, you get driven to the front door – ain’t nobody got time to walk 100 metres!
After being greeted by name (that’s how good the staff are) – Leeds and I found our way into the Piano Room. The majority of the room was filled with the gorgeous high tea display table – macarons, dainty red velvet cupcakes, tea sandwiches (my best!), cheesecake, fluffy meringues, chocolate cake, French doughnuts – every inch of the table was covered in teeny tiny bursts of deliciousness. I found it pretty hard to tear my eyes away from the display.
Leeds, Nicki and I got comfy on the couches while watching business men and women eat lunch on the terrace and trying to plot exactly how we could become those people one day. I did my best not to kick my heels off and curl myself up on the couch while drinking bubbly. And plenty of it. Probably more than a lady should consume at a high tea at The Saxon. A couple more glasses and I would have left there, high heels swinging in my hand and hair in a drunken state – much like that of a UCT student. (All that wind.)
But we behaved, drank our YSWARA tea (which is bloody delicious and poured by a lovely lady who knows her tea) and eventually we tucked into the high tea.
Starting off with a plate filled with savoury items – I nearly fell over when I tasted the butternut tart. Wow. How could they make butternut taste SO good?! I mean. Mind already blown. (I want that recipe.)
Then onto the sweets. Those who know me, know that I don’t have a sweet tooth at all. But I persevered and was so glad that I did. We tried a bite of nearly everything – the little red velvet cupcakes being my fave. The usual cream cheese icing had been replaced by a soft (what I assumed was) meringue. Delish. Next time I won’t forget to tuck into the chocolate eclairs – although they looked far too gorgeous to actually eat!
More bubbly please.
Three trips back to the food table and it looked like nothing had been touched. Chefs kept coming into the room like ninjas, replacing the empty platters with food and more food. Unbelievable. I’ve worked in catering long enough to know that the back-up stock eventually runs out, but clearly that isn’t allowed to happen at The Saxon. The table looked EXACTLY the same as it did when we left. Not even joking. And we were there for over three hours…
Minette Smith – the pastry chef at The Saxon – outdid herself. This girl knows her stuff. Her macarons were pure perfection – we each got a gift box to take home and I literally examined each of them when I got home and found no imperfections. Mind blown – again.
(Also, I wish my PC would stop trying to correct ‘macaron’ to ‘macaroon’. There’s a difference, you silly.)
I also got a sneak peak into the kitchens (thanks David for the invite) and although I only saw a section of it, I could see how organised it was and why the food was immaculate.
I left The Saxon in a mildly intoxicated state – mostly from the delicious bubbly – but also by the entire experience. Perfect service is something I crave in South Africa and they’ve hit the nail on the head. I will definitely be back. Next time, I’m hitting five hundred with a vengeance. Now, if only someone would offer to take me…