On the outskirts of Pretoria is a magical restaurant where flowers adorn your plate and each dish transports you gastronomically to a place you had never thought of before.
Restaurant Mosaic of The Orient Hotel has been a pilgrimage site for discerning foodies over the past 10 years, but last year was a particularly good one for its chef-patron Chantel Dartnall. Not only did she rise to second spot on EatOut’s best restaurant list, but she also snapped up the coveted best service and wine awards. To top it all, she was crowned the best lady chef in the world at the international Best Chef Awards in Warsaw, Poland.
Dartnall says the impact hasn’t really hit her yet, especially since last year’s recognition occurred without a sharp change in her style or a radicalisation of her menu. Instead, Dartnall has continued her pursuit of excellence, and her execution of the botanical style she has mastered over many years has grown in confidence.
Dartnall studied at the Prue Leith Chef's Academy before she ventured overseas to London, where she worked under three-Michelin-starred chef Nico Ladenis and two-starred chef Michael Caines. Upon her return to Pretoria, she worked as a waitress at a small bistro, before hustling into their kitchen one month later. She stayed at Carlton Café until her dream kitchen was built on her family farm, and Restaurant Mosaic was born. It won an American Express Platinum Fine Dining Award four months after it opened (and has done so every year since), and has found a steady home on EatOut’s Top 10 list.