A feast for all senses

The Secret Diner


Where: 239 Boom Street, Pietermaritzburg

Open: Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm, Saturday 8.30am to 2pm.

Call: 072 395 9924

The gardens at Rosehurst are delightful, and in full bloom. Roses of all description, from humble dog roses and ramblers to laden floribundas, are releasing their scent. There are beautiful buttercup yellow irises, pansies and even moonflowers.

There can be few more beautiful places than to sit on the patio and drink in the sights and sounds and smells of this perfectly manicured garden.

Being right in the middle of the city, it also provides an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. You could easily be out in the countryside.

Inside there’s a series of shops that sell antiques and home industry artefacts and jewellery. You could get lost browsing around here for a bit.

We relaxed, just enjoying the gardens over an excellent cappuccino and their own pink lemonade, while scanning the chalk board menu.

Croissant with smoked salmon, cream cheese, scrambled egg and avo and a wrap with hummus, falafel and salad.

It is simple, a small range of breakfasts and lunches that can either be served as a salad, on homemade sourdough bread or in a wrap. There are also some toasted sandwiches and a soup of the day. Everything looks fresh, is homemade and many of the pairings are imaginative.

Breakfasts include a parfait which is layers of yoghurt, fresh berries and homemade granola. There’s the Mexican, which is eggs, avo and salsa on corn bread, or the Rosehurst, described as cream cheese, caramelised “mushies”, avo and eggs. You could always add bacon if you desired. I settled on a croissant with smoked salmon, cream cheese, avo and scrambled eggs (R90), which was delicious and generous with ingredients. It also looked beautiful, garnished with micro herbs and edible flowers.

Lunch could look like the Generous Gardener with bacon, avo, feta, pepperdews, roasted tomatoes and onion cream cheese, or even the Queen Elizabeth which involves coronation chicken.

There’s a Sunshine Sally of grilled pears, prosciutto, feta, toasted seeds and balsamic drizzle.

My friend opted for the Green Sleeves (R80) which was home-made hummus, falafels, avo and tzatziki as a wrap. It was a super generous portion that came with salad greens and looked every bit as pretty as the gardens we were admiring.

Pink lemonade and a cappuccino at Rosehurst.

Scones and cakes are obviously popular, with a range of fresh baking that looked so inviting. There’s even a scone menu.

The lemon berry takes in lemon curd, fresh berries and creme fraiche, while the Rhapsody in Blue features mascarpone and nastergal preserve. The Lady in Red is a red velvet scone, chocolate butter truffles, and a white chocolate and cream cheese topping.

I had previously had their chocolate scones with chocolate butter and chocolate sauce, which were decadent in the extreme. It all sounded too delicious, but sadly an appointment back home in Durban had to be met. Later, I wished I’d taken a slice of that delectable looking carrot cake home with me.

Food: 4

Service: 4


The Independent on Saturday