So, after Jacob, Keri and I had been at the Lion Park all day and seen the big cats eat their lunch, we had worked up quite an appetite ourselves. We were headed to Carnivore Restaurant, which was only about 10 minutes away from the park in Muldersdrift. It’s on a giant resort called the Misty Hills Country Hotel, which looks like an all-inclusive that you find in the Caribbean, with 10 different residence areas, 4 restaurants and a spa. Carnivore was the big draw, however.
To get into the restaurant, you park and walk on a covered bridge through kind of a makeshift jungle and then into the building. The entrance way is filled with wooden carved statues of old tribal kings and notable South Africans like Nelson Mandela and Shaka Zulu. Take a few more steps and you find yourself at the top of a grand staircase leading down to the main attraction.
Carnivore has grown in popularity with tourists in recent years, which was helped a lot when it was visited by Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel, which is how I heard about it. They’ve expanded the restaurant so it now seats 500 people, and is heavily expansive. However, being a Sunday afternoon in early spring, it was pretty quiet. We got a nice table on the deck, ordered some drinks, and then the feast began.
Here’s how it worked: When you walk in, you see a giant board with all of the meats on offer for the day. They lead you past the giant circular grill where you can see (and smell) all of the meats cooking, and then you are seated. First thing, you get soup and honey wheat bread. The soup that day was red bean, and it was delicious. However, in an effort to save room for meat, we tried to be judicious with our soup and bread intake. Next, they bring a lazy susan with sauces and salads. There were different sauces for all of the meat, like horseradish for beef, cranberry for game, apple for pork and mint for lamb, along with the requisite chili sauce. Salads included the ever popular Greek, a zucchini salad, corn salad and coleslaw.
Then the meat begins to arrive. The meat is cooked on traditional Masaai swords, and the waiters bring it to the table on such. Then, if you want whatever meat they are offering, they balance the sword on your plate and carve it right off for you. It’s amazing. We tried absolutely everything, which included chicken wings, pork sausages, beef rump, lamb loin, kudu meatballs, kudu sausage, crocodile, and the carved meat of eland, impala, and blesbok. Everything was delicious, but my favorites were the pork sausages, the kudu meatballs and the eland. The impala was my least favorite; it was super gamey and tough.
There was a wooden stick with a South African flag on our table, and they kept bringing meat around until we lowered the flag in “surrender.” However, after that’s done you still get dessert. We had some ice cream and bread pudding with custard. We decided that we couldn’t immediately get back into the car and drive for 45 minutes as we were too full, so we walked around the resort a bit. It’s done in an old school colonial style, with lots of dark wood, leather and paintings and representations of animals everywhere. It was cool to spend a couple of hours in, but I don’t know if I’d enjoy being a guest there.
Before we went home for the evening, Jacob and I went back to The Office for happy hour drinks, as they serve half price cocktails from 4-7 on Sundays, which ends up being about 3 bucks a cocktail. We decided we couldn’t pass that up even though we were exhausted, so we grabbed a couple of drinks and then dragged our buggered butts home to an early bedtime.