Friday, 13 April 2018

Dinner Time at Aurelia's

Aurelia's at the 5-star Peermont D'oreale Grande hotel at Emperors Palace offers a world class fine dining experience. Chef Andre Bezuidenhout is making magic & a new range of inspired dishes are coming out of the kitchen. 

The new menu is taking your traditional African cuisine to whole new level. Building on the much enjoyed signature Aurelia's dishes, Chef Andre is excited to offer something exciting & unique. 

I popped in to sample their brand new 'degustation' menu, that has been paired by the resident sommelier - Boitumelo Maphela. 

Amuse Bouche - 
- olive ground, caramel popcorn, soya reduction, salt rock, parmesan wafer biscuit
- paired with Krone Night Nectar Demi-Sec

Entrée 1
- field mushrooms, mascarpone, scallions, dried tomato, garlic, shaved Karoo crumble, arugula, bruschetta
- paired with Diemersdal Chardonnay (Unwooded)

Entrée 2
- crab meat, shellfish putu quenelle, onions, olives, dried lemon smoked mussel tortellini, beetroot brulée, sweet basil oil, black salt, arugula dust
- paired with Hermanuspietersfontein no. 7 - Kaalvoetmeisie Sauvignon Blanc

Main - 
- beef 3 ways: fillet, cheek & oxtail tortellini, parsnip, roasted butter stamp & beans, sweet corn mousse, baby vegetables, mushroom cream
- paired with Raka Biography Shiraz

Dessert - 
- milktart truffles, cinnamon meringue, vanilla coffee ice cream, hazelnut praline, apple mousse
- paired with Simonsig Gewürztraminer

South African local cheese board - 
- local Karoo cheese, stewed fruit compote, blue gum honey, Mosbolletjies crostini
- paired with Muratie Amber Forever

It's taken the team just over 2 months to develop this new menu & ensure that all the flavour profiles are perfect before launching it to the public. Well now here is your chance to test it out for yourself.

You won't be disappointed. You even don't have to do the entire 'degustation' menu, but rather test out some of the new dishes on the menu, which now have a slight modern twist. And they are even open over lunch time for those days that a quick sandwich just won't do.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

De Hoek Country Hotel - Dinner

Dinner at The Main Conservatory at De Hoek Country Hotel in the Magaliesburg is a treat & a half.

From the moment you walk in to the restaurant, it sure has a homely feel to it. I can just imagine the fire roaring in the fireplace on a cold night, whilst sampling a delicious menu that has been put together in a way that will have your taste buds savouring every bite. 

The menu for the evening has specially been prepared by Chef Jacques Swart for the occasion. 

Amuse Bouche -
- lemongrass infused garden peas, crispy potato, tomato mousseline & anchovy gremolata

Course One - 
- duck liver cheesecake with almond base, cape ruby gel, duck prosciutto, tonka. almond & cauliflower froth

Course Two - 
- octopus carpaccio, scallop puree, radish, bisque aioli with coconut & creme fraiche sponge

Main Course - 
- beef rib eye, onion 3 ways, crumbed beef tongue, semolina, walnut & pinotage beef sauce

Cheese - 
- languedoc, benedictus, fig, kiwi, quinoa

Dessert - 
- chocolate, liquorice, passion fruit, hazelnut, thyme sable

This is a restaurant that provides you with a 5-star feel, 5-star service & 5-star meals. It's pretty much everything that you'd need when not at home & wanting that home feeling with great food & fantastically paired wines. 


De Hoek Country Hotel

Once you pass over this bridge, a tranquil little spot in the Magaliesburg awaits you, that will transport you to a place of ultimate relaxation.

By now you all know that I get super happy when served with fresh cold bubbly on arrival & checking in. And just that happens when you arrive at De Hoek Country Hotel.

Ushered off to enjoy a spa treatment under the trees, next to the river is bound to have you relaxing after a quick 45 min drive from Johannesburg in no time. Opting for a foot massage & a neck & shoulder was just what the Dr ordered. 

Surprise. Surprise. A High G&T was next on the agenda. Surrounded by nature & outside buildings that remind you of an old English country manor. This is the epitome of #CountryLuxury. 

When you get there, you best ask Oupa to whip you up a special G&T with a gin from their extensive gin menu. You can even add your own choice of botanicals, or just trust Oupa & he will bring you the best. 

An array of delectable treats & snacks to enjoy are prepared freshly for the occasion, & there's definitely something for every palate to enjoy. 

De Hoek also prepares a picnic basket filled with a selection of treats for you to enjoy under the trees on the lush green lawn.

Off to find my room... As soon as I walked in, I knew I wasn't going to want to leave. High ceilings with exposed trusses finished off beautifully in an elegant white & grey, again epitomises #CountryLuxury. 

It was almost time to start getting ready for dinner, but I decided that this is where I was going to sit for a while, sipping on another G&T just enjoying the tranquil surroundings whilst taking in the view.

Dinner was just a 5-star experience on it's own, & so I've decided that it won't be done enough justice including it in this write up. So, if you are as intrigued as I think you are, check out the De Hoek Country Hotel dinner experience here.

After dinner, being completely satisfied & feeling good, it was time to call it a night. That is, until I got back to the room & I opened my door to this romantic setting.

I was not going to waste any water & who I am to say no to a bath. A bubble bath with a rubber duck and all, just rounded off the day of relaxation perfectly.

Good Morning from De Hoek Country Hotel...

A perfect getaway for a romantic break that is a quick drive out of town & will have you feeling refreshed & relaxed in no time.


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Family Easter with Flagstone

So I got this super cool delivery... A Limited Edition Flagstone Cooler.

Now, what's even better than a Limited Edition Flagstone Cooler?
A Limited Edition Flagstone Cooler that has been filled with what is probably 6 of my personal favourite Flagstone wines!

 - Treaty Tree: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot 
 - Word of Mouth: 2017 Viognier
 - Dragon Tree: 2016 Cape Blend
 - Longitude: 2016 Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec
 - Two Roads: 2016 Chardonnay
 - Free Run: 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

In my opinion, just perfect for the long Easter weekend coming up to be enjoyed with family & friends. 

I am feeling rather generous so, I am going to be giving away a Limited Edition Flagstone Cooler. And guess what? It's going to be filled with 6 bottles of Flagstone's wines for you to enjoy.

How to enter:
1. Like As Seen By Lloyd & Flagstone Wines on Facebook or Follow @Lloydi_Boy & @FlagstoneWines on Twitter.
2. Repost the competition Post on Facebook or Retweet the competition Tweet on Twitter. Remember to include the #FlagstoneEaster in your post/tweet.
3. Tag 2 friends in your post who you'd be sharing these wines with over the Easter Weekend. 

NB. Remember, you have to include the #FlagstoneEaster, otherwise your entry is not valid & can not be counted.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Samsung #GalaxyS9 - #Unpacked

So I have been an IOS user for pretty much the last 10 years & now, I've gotten the opportunity to put my skills of adapting to change to use on using Android... In the form of the newly #unpacked Samsung Galaxy S9 for the last 2 weeks now. (I won't lie, I'm still struggling making the move from IOS to Android, but it does get a bit easier every day.)

Lets be honest, the way in which we use our phones have changed a whole lot over the last few years. No longer only for phone calls & SMS's but we live in a much more virtual online life now where we spend most of the time looking at our phone & not with a phone against our ear. 

At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy S9, doesn't look like much of an upgrade from its predecessor, the S8. Samsung decided to stick to the design, but make it a whole lot sturdier, faster & more useful for day-to-day activities. I've mostly used mine for taking some pictures, so that's mainly what I tend to look for in a phone, is what people have to say about the camera.

The camera reimagined...

Probably the best thing about this phone is the camera. I'm loving the way I get to use the single-sensor 12MP camera. The biggest upgrade from what I understand is that the sensor can now switch between lower & higher apertures, (technically meaning that you can take still take great shots in really low lighting & in really bright lighting). And improvements to the sensor so that it can analyse & improve images more effectively.

The low light pictures are pretty cool, and as a feature not seen before on a camera phone, it is impressive. Just don't expect a crystal clear image as you usually would when you've been shooting on the auto mode. 

In addition, they have added/redefined the photography modes, giving you a chance to get a wider variety style of shots. Something that does bother me, is that you can't zoom in whilst using some of these modes. One of my favourites is the selective focus & how you can jump between a near & far focus on the same image. 

The selfie camera, coming in at 8MP is a treat resulting in high quality shots & with the panorama selfie setting you can now successfully get more people in the shot without extending your arm out of it's socket. You can also now create your very own AR Emoji that is supposed to look like you & can imitate your facial movements. A very cool feature, but sadly, it doesn't pic up all of my beard, and well, that's pretty much a trademark of mine, so my AR Emoji, looks like me back just after leaving high school.

The S9 has been released in a range of colours. Midnight Black, Titanium Grey, Coral Blue & Lilac Purple. 

Image result for s9 colours

So far I have been pretty impressed with the phone overall & it is a very impressive phone. But it will set you back a good few rands, starting from R15,499 for the S9 & R17,499 for the S9+. 

What this phone features that is really growing on me, is the Infinity Display, with its uninterrupted end-to-end display. 

Check it out online. #Unpacked #GalaxyS9