With high expectations, my family and I headed off to Kirstenbosch Gardens to experience a seemingly flawless Sunday lunch bargain at the Silvertree Deli. What awaited us shocked, disappointed and infuriated me. Kirstenbosch is an internationally acclaimed and well known tourist attraction boasting serene landscapes, sunshine and delicious food to fit every persons pocket… or so I thought.

The Sunday Lunch special (R12 per  100g) served in a canteen style inside the deli looked impressive – chicken, beef slices, roast potatoes, yellow rice and olives, mixed vegetables and a number of cold salads like 3 bean, carrot and pineapple, Greek salad, potato salad and a mix of fruit salads. All in all most of our Sunday lunch plates came to a grand total of around R36 – and until we tasted it we felt we had found the golden ticket of Sunday Lunches and would definitely return in the future.

Yet, abysmal was the only word that came to mind when describing the food. As my family pointed out, their meat was dry, all the food was cold and the salads were lacking character. The only thing that impressed me about any of the food was that the gravy made from real beef and the feta cheese in the Greek salad was a more expensive, beautifully crumbly cheese compared to the usual feta used in most restaurant salads. Not enough to secure a good review from anyone.

What upset me most about the meal were the puddings set out for Sunday lunch customers. Under the same R12 per 100g special we were shown a small number of dessert platters to pick and choose from. Although they looked a bit pap, as an avid dessert thief – I wasn’t put off yet. I was excited for dessert nevertheless until I tasted what I thought was lemon meringue pie. It was the most awful tasting thing I have ever tasted – bitter and gag-worthy. Why, one should ask – would their trained cooks and pastry chef’s not realise or taste that they’d substituted the sugar for salt? Imagine a meringue made from approximately 600g of salt and egg whites. Next surprise was the off tiramisu slice that both my mother and I spat out. A stomach curdling, sour cream taste is not what a good tiramisu should taste like. Food poisoning was almost inevitable and laughably I did get sick the following day with bouts of nausea and headaches.

As we later realized, the puddings set out for Sunday lunch could well have been the old bakery stock from the previous week – not a healthy or wise choice to feed locals or international clients. Not only were these baked goods old but were uncovered and buzzing with flies. The staff knew almost nothing about what they were selling although they were friendly and accommodating. Decidedly this is one restaurant I would suggest to avoid at all costs especially on a Sunday. Cheap lunch in exchange for food poisoning is not a worthy bargain or risk I am willing to take.

For more details visit: http://www.kirstenboschrestaurant.com

Robyn Smith (@RobynLeaSmith)

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