And the Boutique Restaurant of the Year Award goes to…the Elephant Café!
This exclusive restaurant is The Luxury Travel Guide’s (www.ltgawards.com) Boutique Restaurant of the Year (Africa & Middle East) in the international 2017 awards.
“This is our second major award since opening in July 2016!” says Annabel Hughes, chef de cuisine of this unique restaurant.
“We are over the moon at the positive recognition from the hospitality industry,” says Graham Nel, MD of Safari Par Excellence, Zambia, “especially as the restaurant is a relative newcomer in the area.”
The Luxury Travel Award follows The Elephant Café being voted Zambia’s Best New Restaurant for 2016 by the Zambia Hospitality Awards, just four months after opening last year. The Elephant Café has captured the imagination and has been featured in media around the world – including the United States, Canada and Hong Kong – as well as on Australia’s 9 News Elsewhere.
Hughes believes a number of factors set The Elephant Café apart from other gourmet-dining experiences in the Victoria Falls area.
“Our setting is enchanting – a deck overlooking the Zambezi River, just a few kilometres upstream of one of the natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. There is also the unique dimension for guests to interact, feed and be photographed with our special herd of 10 African rescue elephants. These gentle giants often graze just a few metres away from our diners, providing amazing photographic opportunities.”
However, it is The Elephant Café’s unique menu which is captivating everyone.
“I like to call it ‘bush gourmet cuisine’,” says Hughes. “Dishes are created from garden-to-table indigenous and wild ingredients which are presented in a fine-dining format, with the menu changing on any given day.
“Some of the flavours are seldom tasted outside Africa. Ingredients include wild edibles and the fresh, organic ingredients are all sourced within a 30-kilometre radius of the restaurant. Food is unprocessed, preservative-free, original, flavourful and beautifully presented.”
Some of the wild edibles used in preparation are even a favourite of the elephants themselves.
Inspired by Mediterranean, South East Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine – as well as the self-sufficient lifestyle of the San Bushmen in Botswana – the widely-travelled Hughes constantly experiments with and fuses the indigenous Zambian ingredients and wild edibles with fresh organic produce.
Hughes and her senior chef, Adelina Banda, pick fresh ingredients early in the morning as well as source produce from market gardeners nearby. The other Zambian chefs in the kitchen assist by leading Hughes to indigenous ingredients in Livingstone’s native markets. It is her hope that by promoting the use of these diverse, and largely unexplored, natural resources, Livingstone’s local economy is also enriched.
Guests access The Elephant Café by road or via a 30-minute speed-boat ride from The David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa, just above Victoria Falls that also allows exploration of hard-to-reach channels. The restaurant seats 24 people exclusively for breakfast, lunch or dinner or 36 clients for High Tea. Bookings can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org
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