Irresistibly al fresco: The Mount Nelson is back for summer 2020

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JASMINE-SCENTED breezes, majestic mountain views and expansive African skies: with the arrival of summer at the Mount Nelson Hotel, you are invited to enjoy languid days in the lush gardens and amazing new outdoor dining options.

The legendary pink retreat is reopening its doors on December 10, 2020, allowing guests to once again kick back, relax and enjoy the open-air pleasures of our leafy garden estate. Renowned chef Rudi Liebenberg has curated a range of tempting al fresco experiences, from picnics and afternoon teas to sparkling moments on the Planet Bar terrace.

New for this season the hotel is introducing a novel culinary service: gourmet picnics by the pool or in the shade of the timeless trees. Choose to lounge by the heated swimming pool, soaking up the vistas, or have your basket laid out in a sheltered spot in the garden. Delve into the wicker hamper to discover light finger food delicacies, winelands cheeses, artisanal Bosman, Spier and Jewell’s charcuterie served with homemade atjars, pickles and tapenades, and much more.  Liebenberg, who believes in sourcing tasty regional produce as ethically as possible, suggests you add some sparkle with a local Cap Classique, or why not splash out with a vintage Champagne?

Afternoon Tea has always made iconic moments at the Mount Nelson. Imagine the scene: debonair, fedora’d Henry Dike plays the grand piano as a silver tiered stand, glittering with sweet gems, is brought to your table. The spread showcases local and global classics, including traditional melktert with Cape Malay cinnamon and cardamom, baked cheesecake with white chocolate and tangy berry tartelettes.

And that’s just the beginning…baskets of warm, freshly baked scones and traditional koesisters sprinkled with coconut beckon you to indulge, while savoury options include the hotel’s famous mushroom empanadas, cauliflower and onion pakoras, Farmer Angus beef frikkadels, and delicate finger sandwiches with enticing fillings such as smoked Franschhoek trout. Going green? Treat your taste buds to Liebenberg’s imaginative plant-based menus.

As for the brew itself, there is an unparalleled selection of premium leaf and flowering teas from all over the world, as well as healthy local infusions. Do try the signature Mount Nelson Tea, an exquisite blend with pink rose petals, or opt for the earthy, yet delicate orange and spice rooibos from the Cederberg.

Linger in the conservatory or outside on the terrace until the shadows start to lengthen. It’ll soon be time for a sundowner…

Eating outdoors is a particular pleasure of summer, and the picturesque terrace is perfect for sampling the daily surprises on the chalkboard. Cape Wild Foods, plant-based and slow food dishes feature prominently on the three-course lunch and dinner menus. Sample dandelion malfatti (sourced from the hotel garden), the perennially popular Malay and Indian chicken curry, and chewy-crispy pizzas made with slow fermented dough.

The Planet Bar menu has been newly curated so you can drink, dine and toast any moment of the day. A light bite menu features brinjal biltong, General Tso’s cauliflower and mini puri balls with ceviche, as well as dishes like Madras roasted lamb rib and a deliciously old-fashioned ice-cream sandwich. All of which keeps you rooted to this little piece of heaven on earth until the stars – and the cocktails – come out.

After hours of balmy sunshine and mind-blowing foodie experiences, nothing tops the day off more perfectly than a night in one of the sought-after Garden Cottage Suites. Cocoon yourself in a private hideaway in this row of eight historic terraced cottages. Relish the blooming garden and trellised veranda, as well as discreet, private access to the hotel’s second swimming pool. Alternatively, choose one of the hotel’s elegantly appointed rooms in a wing with sweeping views of Table Mountain or a vista over the hotel’s lush gardens. Either way, after a blissful night’s rest, you’ll be raring to do it all again.

Note: for every Afternoon Tea ordered, R10 will be donated to Soupathon, a local soup kitchen that feeds close to 50 000 hungry people every week. The Mount Nelson has been supporting Soupathon since it was launched just after the nationwide lockdown began on March 27, 2020.

Lunch and dinner will be served in the hotel lounge or on the outdoor terrace Thursdays to Sundays from 12pm till 10pm; Afternoon Tea will be served in the sunny conservatory or on the outdoor terrace Thursdays to Sundays. There will be two sittings, one at 12pm and the second at 3pm; Planet Bar is open Thursdays to Sundays from 12pm till 10pm; picnics can be collected between 12pm and 1pm Thursdays to Sundays.

Bookings are essential. Contact the restaurant reservations department on [email protected] or book your overnight stay with the rooms reservations team on: [email protected]

PHOTO CREDIT: LOUISE PHEIFFER

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