The Forum Homini hotel has just turned 10 years old and boy it's certainly made the most of its years getting things perfect.
Set within a private game estate this 5 star hotel is barely half an hour from Johannesburg and offers quirky cave-style accommodation with cosy fireplaces that look like they're built under ground featuring eco-friendly grass-covered roofs. The entire place is inspired by the Cradle of Humankind and the exciting fossil discoveries made nearby with details like stalactite lights and fantastic artworks including a fire cradle by Marco Cianfinelli (the same guy responsible for the Nelson Mandela capture sit in Howick).
The whole place is a celebration of the birth of humankind in this area. The owner Hendrik Marais puts it perfectly saying 'Everything, from the earth-friendly design to the haute cuisine and the selection of art is carefully curated to stimulate a discussion on this human journey that began in Africa, not with skulls and bones as in a museum, but through living art, architecture, gardens and food – to celebrate humanity and how it evolved'. And they've done a great job. We visited for their 10th birthday and celebrated with a feast, soaking in the outdoor jacuzzi and sleeping in quirky caves.
Dinner was served by their new chef Chris Tustian (the name didn't mean much to me until after I devoured everything - click here for his recipes) and was a real event. Each of the six courses was professionally paired with a wine - the sommelier blew my mind with his intimate knowledge of wine origins, bottle times and grape varieties - and we ate into the evening.
Duck with vanilla and cauliflower, pickled beetroot, confit, duck cannelloni, hibiscus flower macaroons (!!!!) and mushroom sponge was just one plate. The most exciting and different dish had to be the ashes-rind goats cheese, parmesan crumble, candied cashews, pesto and gorgonzola ice cream with apple and celery jelly. Man, it was a proper tastebud rush.
We sat in the jacuzzi to end the evening in the proper celebratory style, slept well on the enormous beds and woke up with the guineafowls for the five-course breakfast.
A morning real kick-starter of strawberry yoghurt mousse followed by firm, flaky hake with burnt corn, cauliflower puree, roast potato and fennel then a pork terrine with poached egg, toast, broccoli, pickled beetroot, spinach and beetroot puree.
It's a fairly decadent stay costing from R4000 a room (including brekkie and dinner) and it's an exceptional celebratory stay, but they offer a Sunday special of R2500 a room and if this is still beyond budgets do yourself a favour and at least book a week-day dinner for R320 a person.