I stopped trying to update my About page some time ago. Frankly, I don’t know what I’m about really. I’d just about made peace with the fact that I’d be living out of a suitcase and getting by in a kitchen with one coffee mug, no cream and these ridiculous, tiny little floral things the Chinese call plates for the next few years, and a year later I found myself back in my home town, running a driving range (Matt Damon bought a zoo, we bought a driving range) and trying to Skype my husband in China with a connection that keeps freezing the video at the most inopportune times. I think he’s forgotten what I look like without one eye half closed and my mouth pulled like I’m trying to imitate Sly Stallone after a particularly hard hit from that Russian dude. So if you’re confused, know that I’m confused too.
So anyway, I might not know where I am or where I’m going most of the time, but where I’ve been is a little easier to pin down. Vereeniging, Gauteng. A nice place to come from and the location of a lovely little eatery called Anna’s Kitchen. Now I’m not going to lie to you – I went here with my brother and dad, and in an attempt to solve the Middle Eastern crisis, end World Hunger and come to grips with the best way to treat a Dollar Spot outbreak on your greens (I have been taken into the fold) we were on our fourth bottle of wine two hours in and hadn’t really thought about food, so I can’t tell you too much about it with any real authority. And my camera battery died, so I can’t really show you either. Frankly, If I were a journalist, I’d be miming on the street to supplement my income. But what I can tell you is that sitting under the Stinkwood (no actual stink involved) at Villa Anna Sophia on a warm Autumn day will make you feel like you are a thousand miles away from any sort of industrial town – somewhere a vast number of people who live in Vereeniging would often like to be. With the soft trickling of water from the fountains and the stone urns scattered amongst lavender and white roses in the garden, you could be sitting at a chateau in the French countryside or a villa in Italy. (I haven’t actually been to either, but I’ve watched long, drawn out movies of divorced women trying to find themselves in those kinds of places.). Oh and of course, there are Hadedas there to remind you that you’re still in South Africa, just in case the Bobotie and boerewors on the menu didn’t tip you off.
So on to what little I can say of the food. Firstly, it was beautifully presented. We oohed and aahed over every plate that came past before forgetting again to order. Expect to find a little more than the usual fare. I’ll be going back for the crispy potato and haloumi breakfast, and the fresh fig and goats cheese pizza and – brace yourself – the Lindt chocolate orange milkshake. And the Turkish Delight milkshake. And the fig and port milkshake. Other notables on the menu include Cape Malay Style Lamb Curry, Roast Beef Biltong Salad and the Pancetta & Chorizo Pasta. The last I can actually vouch for, as it formed part of my pasta trio and was delicious nestled between the seafood on the right and the chicken and sundried tomato on the left – the perfect solution for when there are too many things on the menu for you to choose just one without risking order envy. I tend to judge the quality of an establishment’s food on their cream based sauces. The closer it is to something that resembles real cream, packed with flavour, and the further it is from the Béchamel based sauces my grade 9 Home Ec teacher tried to pass off as a cream sauce, the happier I am. I was very happy at Anna’s Kitchen.
We were told by others to expect slow service, but our waiter was pretty efficient. The food didn’t exactly get there in record time, which suited us, but would probably be a bit annoying if we lunched like normal people instead of turning it into a 4 hour marathon. There is a large deck outside under the trees and ample green lawn in a secured area where the kids can play, so it’s family friendly, or get a sitter and go for a quiet dinner and a slightly more sophisticated menu. The wine list is small and somewhat pricey. You can buy freshly baked foccacia, ciabatta and other goodies on the premises which – if the bread plate served with sundried tomato pesto was anything to go by – is highly recommended.
Phone: +27 16 423 5831
Address: 52 Golf Road, Three Rivers, Vereeniging
Cuisine: Contemporary with a South African twist and Italian touches.
Breakfast: 6.30am-11am, Monday to Sunday
Lunch: 11am-4pm, Monday to Sunday
Dinner: 6.30pm-close, Wednesday and Saturday