Art and Life at the Norval Foundation Skotnes Restaurant
I have to be honest, I know as much about art as you could write on the back of a postage stamp. But I was up for a new cultural experience when we received the invite to check out the Norval Foundation, which is a centre for art and cultural expression in Steenberg (yes you read that right, the southern suburbs is growing up), to check out both their art and their divine Skotnes Restaurant. And I’m really glad I did!
The Art World
First up, the art: There are numerous exhibiton spaces inside the actual building, as well as a fantastic sculpture garden outside, which houses a collection of three dimensional installations scattered throughout the beautifully maintained wetlands. While I won’t wax lyrical about the art on offer at the risk of humiliating myself, I can say that I was deeply moved by several of the installations. The retrospectives of work by Syndey Kumalo and Ezrom Legae are also an absolute must-see.
Benike and I happened to be there on a Monday, when entry is free in lieu of a donation. For the rest of the week, entry is R140 (free for under 18s). You can also invest in an annual membership. If you are new to the art world and want to maximise your experience, I would try to snag a friendly curator (you can grab a tour at the front desk daily at 2pm), who can walk you through the exhibits and give you the lowdown on the various artists and exhibitions. We did the tour option, and it definitely enhanced the experience tenfold!
Entering Skotnes Restaurant
After spending a good hour or so admiring art and wandering to and fro in the garden, we headed over to the restaurant. The Skotnes Restaurant and bar is named after legendary South African artist Cecil Skotnes. The restaurant overlooks the mountain and lush sculpture garden, and is quite an expansive space that quite quickly becomes a buzzing centre of activity. On the day we went the restauranat was several waiters short, which meant we had to wait a fair amount if time before being helped. Subsequently, however, the service was quite good.
The menu is beautiful, with tons of options, but they also have a wonderful three-course winter menu available for R215. I chose the latter, while Benike opted to select items from the ‘normal’ menu.
Getting Down With Starters
To start with, I had the west coast mussels in a cape Malay coconut sauce, which I enjoyed. Benike went for the Norval version of the classic Caprese salad: Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Calamata Olives, and Boabob Dressing (R85), which she loved.
The Main Act
As a main, I opted for the chicken curry, served with aromatic rice, home-made roti and sambals, which was wonderfully piquant and very flavourful. Benike opted for the free-range beef fillet, served with bone marrow, parsley pesto, amabutho and tomato braai broodjie (R225). She loved the dish and thought the fillet was excellently done!
My dessert option was the apple and quince crumble with smoked vanilla ice-cream. I found the texture of the crumble to be slightly stodgy and thick with a thin layer of fruit, which is not my personal preference. However, Benike’s dessert looked delicious. She had the Japie Se Gunsteling, with roasted naartjie, marmalde caramel, burnt honey, and macademia ice cream (R75). She loved it!
Kiddies At Norval
The menu also an array of really interesting African-inspired dishes, but also caters to palates tht prefer more conventional items. I certainly look forward to exploring more options. And – hurray – they also have a dedicated kids menu, which features favourites such as a burgers, fish and chips, and buttermilk chicken. This is great as they also run kid-friendly programmes during the holidays and have family-oriented Saturdays with different art/craft activities to keep little hands and minds busy while stimulating creativity and the artist within.
Visit The Norval Foundation
Check out all the details on the Norval Foundation and Skotnes Restaurant below.
Address: 1 Ou Kaapse Road, C/O Steenberg Road, Tokai
Call: +27 87 654 5900
Article Date: August 2018
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