It might be in bad form to arrive anywhere ‘fashionably early’, but when you’re a guest at the Four Seasons The Westcliff, the odious phrase of ‘fashionably late’ becomes socially unacceptable! You’ll soon discover that this is one location that you want to arrive ahead of time and allow yourself some time to capture it’s elegance, after all, this is one of Johannesburg’s finest breakfast, lunch and anytime spot – with a view.
If you’re old enough to remember dining at The (iconic) Westcliff Hotel prior to it being taken over by The Four Seasons group, you’d expect the same level of luxury that was once associated with this landmark hotel. Not only has the hotel retained all of it’s charm, it’s added an opulent approach to luxury with it’s fresh and minimalist design and splashes of modernity with their choice of furnishings. This is a hotel that wants to impress – and it succeeds.
There’s nothing average about The Four Seasons hotels. The efficient and charming staff know that service reigns supreme, and there’s nothing that they fall short of. Even after being seated, they allow you just enough time between drinks and your meal to inquire whether you are still comfortable. It is this reputation that has made the Four Seasons brand deservedly popular amongst luxury travelers.
I recently had breakfast at Flames, (situated where the ‘Polo Lounge’ was located) and thankful for great weather on both occasions. The earlier tradition of traveling up to the main dining area lives on, however there is a newly installed lift that takes you up to Flames. Made out of mostly glass, it’s a great visual experience of what you’re about to encounter. Upon arrival all guests are offered a choice between fresh Grapefruit or Orange juice which is complimentary. I’d request a table outside especially to enjoy the view if it’s your first time there. A pair of sunnies are optional, although I would advise taking them up with you if you are sensitive to light. Be mindful of requesting a quieter seat if you intend on snuggling up to a partner, as the tables are plentiful, but also quite close to each other.
Since omitting sugar from my warm beverages, I find it difficult to enjoy my coffee without sweetener. The coffee at Flames is rich and creamy and not too strong, which offers just enough flavour to avoid it becoming bitter. I particularly like the larger cups and I love that finer, subtle branding has added that incomparable charm to coffee art. I have not yet experienced their tea offering, but I’ve purposefully left that out in anticipation for their High Tea which launches later in April.
The Egg Benedict (as it’s referred to as in their menu, with the addition of Salmon for non meat-eating patrons) is one of the most popular breakfast entrees in the egg-loving world.
If you’re a brunch enthusiast, you will know that the formula is simple; poached egg (always order medium eggs, unless you’re a ‘runny-egg-lover’s‘ fan) on a toasted English muffin (which should never be firm but rather soft on the inside with a slightly crispy crust) and generously (and by generous i mean bathing in the stuff) buttery (lemony) Hollandaise sauce.
If there’s one item off their menu that has to be tried, let it be this. I always use a restaurant’s Egg Royale as a deciding factor of how good their breakfast menu is!
The Waffles with Chantilly cream (usually served with Chocolate sauce, but I asked for it with fruit instead) is pleasant on the palate. It’s crispy on the outside and soft and spongy on the inside. I found that the fruit replacement could have been slightly more impressive (at R75 for the plate), but instead a few berries and sliced banana were offered. I particularly appreciated that the honey and cream were in smaller, separate bowls making it easier to control the calorie intake.
If you’d prefer the complete Breakfast experience, Flames has a full continental breakfast with a range of fruit, seeds and nuts as well as breads, pastries and yoghurt. This is priced at R350 a person. Based on my personal recommendation, I prefer ordering off the menu.
The special touches like these rolling pins with prints in them add for interest, and double up as food description cards.
I love that they have created communal spaces that are intimate and exclusive, with interesting artwork on the walls.
The outdoor seating is light and refreshing. One would expect to be deterred by the highway noise alongside but this isn’t the case.
Although I haven’t earned my ‘badge of honour’ on being a self-proclaimed food snob, I can assure you that breakfast at The Four Seasons Westcliff should feature on your list of Summer must-do’s; firstly on the service being as good-as-a-new-broom and for the view before the colder months seep in. I find the breakfast at The Four Seasons The Westcliff exceptional value for money. We dined here with a total bill of R225, including 2 coffees! (We opted to choose off the a la carte menu). It’s a great spoil for a friend or partner, and definitely one to take your darling to if you want to impress on a budget!
Reservations may be made telephonically with an email that follows to confirm the booking. The assistant always asks if it’s a special occasion so be sure to tell her if it is!