Overall impression : Carnivore, a large yet welcoming restaurant able to seat more than 500 diners, was a must-stop for the game and meat lovers among us. During our visits, we enjoyed some of the greatest selection of game meats we have found in an urban restaurant anywhere. T he centerpiece of the restaurant was a large circular fire area with 52 spits and a 5.3 meter diameter extractor fan. It was there that expert cooks charcoal grilled our food to perfection.
In addition to lamb, beef, pork, ribs and sausages, Carnivore offered venison. Some of the game meat dishes available included crocodile, waterbuck, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, elephant, ostrich, hippo, warthog, hartebeest, buffalo, blesbuck, eland, sable and kudu. Plentiful and tasty dishes including vegetarian selections, a pleasant bustling ambiance and efficient service combined to make our meal worth remembering. We look forward to visiting Carnivore again.
Location: On the outskirts of Johannesburg , next to the Misty Hills Country Hotel. On the edge of the Kromdraai Conservancy in the artistically oriented Crocodile Ramble.
Owned: Recreation Africa Leisure Industries
Chef: Mark Ncube
About the chef: Zimbawe-born Chef Ncube always wanted to be a chef. He joined Carnivore in 1995. Later, the restaurant sent him to the Christina Martin School of Cooking in Durban for two years, from which he emerged able to enhance his chosen career.
Restaurant manager: Graham Shipway
Type of food : Grilled meats
Specialties : Game meats
Size: Seated up to 550 guests
Special menus/pricing : Lunch 125 rands for all you can eat menu including honey baked bread, soup, six salads and meats. A similar selection was available for dinner for 145 rands.
Ease of reserving : Advance reservations advisable on weekends
Languages spoken : English
Style of décor: Contemporary with African accents. There were original sculptures from Adam Madebe from Zimbabwe .
Conference facilities/private meeting rooms: There were 12 conference rooms on the premises at the Misty Hills Country Hotel, which was owned by the same company as Carnivore.
Wine and spirits details : There was a selection of South African wines and mixed cocktails including a lip-smacking sweet drink made with lemon, lime and vodka.
Food : Following bread, soup of the day and salad appetizers, several waiters brought us a series of hot-off-the-grill game meats skewered on Masaai swords. There was a selection of meat sauces, traditional “pap” and baked potatoes.
We relished our mouth-watering, juicy selection of about a dozen dishes in a seemingly never ending succession. Though we could have placed an a la carte order, everyone in our group chose the grilled meat selection: chicken yakitori, rump steak of beef, chicken livers peri-peri (with hot sauce), chicken wings, pork sausage, venison sausage, leg of lamb, leg of pork and four types of venison.
During our last visit, we had sable, hartebeest, ostrich and kudu. Ordering from the set menu meant we were entitled to eat as much meat as we wanted. Only when we raised a white flag next to our plate would the servers stop offering us tempting meats. We became full sooner than we expected and were left wanting to return to savor more Carnivore food.
There were five different desserts (chocolate mousse, fruit salad, ice-cream, malva pudding and cheesecake) and coffee or tea. None of us could muster the courage to sample the desserts after the immense carnivore gourmand experience we had.
Service: Servers were efficient and able to cut a slice from the swords according to our request (well done, rare, etc.).
Other: Carnivore was on the outskirts of Johannesburg . Though it was a bit of a trek, once we arrived and found a spot in the crowded guarded parking lot, we were happy we had made the drive. We prefer to go for lunch rather than braving the dark roads at night. Carnivore was the recipient of the July 2004 Hello Johannesburger recognition.
Latest visit/date of review: June 2004
Would you dine there again? Yes