By: Natasha Archary
I’m a sucker for intimate dinners, scented candles, roses and some moderate public hand-holding. When SunSquare Montecasino offered us the #DateNight package, I was in my giddy-girl element. This was exactly what my love-game needed and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Beneath the tough-girl, adrenaline-charged, shark-diving exterior, is still a hopeless romantic at heart. You know my take on traditional dating and meeting dating potential organically so call me a dating traditionalist.
Stressed to the max and with little time in between the madness that is life, this mini getaway seemed like the perfect opportunity to reconnect. We tend to get so stuck in our scheduled routines and lose the spontaneity that keeps things exciting. It’s not been easy trying to plan a weekend out of the city because of said schedules.
Thanks love Gods that Montecasino is a mere twenty-six minutes away from home and conveniently located in Fourways.
The #DateNight package includes a night’s stay at SunSquare Montecasino, dinner, unlimited house wine at Aarya restaurant and breakfast the next morning(for two). The package ranges from R 1,950 per room and this special runs until 31 January 2019.
My previous date at Montecasino had us taking up their #NightOutForTwo special and I love how they champion lovers on. Checking into the hotel at 14h00pm was a breeze, with the reservation done hassle-free and accomodating my request to change the dates. Hotel staff at Sunsquare Montecasino deserve a mention for their impeccable professionalism and attention to detail.
All the spoils
The room is a combination of modern-comfort meets cosy-luxury. Complimentary bubbly and THREE DOZEN red roses were the added extras that made this night truly special and a big thank you for making me squeal like a little girl. (Sucker for roses)
A queen-sized bed and the most inviting pillows were calling my name and I jumped on and took a siesta. My partner would be joining me just before dinner and I was not going to pass up the opportunity to catch up on some much needed zzz’s. All refreshed from the nap, it was time to get glammed up.
The bathroom is optimally designed into the room, it’s the modern element I mentioned earlier. Sleek, impeccable and with a shower large enough to accommodate two. I know you were wondering.
I’ve sampled the seasonal menu change at Aarya earlier this year. The restaurant is run by MasterChef SA’s first winner, Deena Naidoo. I had the pleasure of meeting both Deena and his lovely wife at the media launch earlier this year and I admire them both.
I have been raving about the prawn curry ever since and was really looking forward to dinner. The #DateNight menu is set offering with two course meal and unlimited house wine. The choices are:
- a 200g beef fillet, served with chakalaka and your choice of mushroom or pepper sauce. With either fries or mashed potatoes
- Butter chicken. Deena’s award winning, creamy, mild chicken curry. Served with a selection of condiments including raita (yoghurt sauce), salsa, a chutney and jeera basmati rice.
- Vegetarian option of penne basil pesto pasta.
Decadent fudge picasso with caramel sauce
The staff on duty went above and beyond to ensure our night was special. We were offered the full menu much to my delight because I wanted nothing more than that prawn curry and soft roti again. I was brought the Chef’s signature trio of curries. A scrumptious butter bean curry, accompanied by the butter chicken and my favourite prawn curry.
My partner settled on the beef fillet with mushroom sauce. Men and a good cut of meat. The steak? Cooked to perfection and seasoned something special is given a kick with the South African flavours of chakalaka.
The food at Aarya restaurant is exceptional. I highly recommend that tiger prawn curry. It’s out of this world, honestly. Sweet, plump prawns in a delicately spiced tomato gravy that is heavenly. It takes me back to the seafood curries that KZN is synonymous with. Presentation was beautiful and the delicate aromas wafted up and sent my tastebuds into overdrive.
I love a good merlot. Something heady, berry fuelled, dark, smooth and semi-sweet. I’m not much of a wine enthusiast but I drink enough merlot to say that the house wine, the Klawer merlot, pairs well with the #DateNight menu. I don’t remember how many glasses I had but let’s just say it really uhm heightened things.
I met him when I was 19. Fifteen years later and with so much history between us, the good wine flowing, brought a certain nostalgia to the evening. There’s a certain charm in getting wrapped up in conversation with someone special. It took me back to when I first him.
Dessert was divine. A rich, decadent, chocolaty and airy mousse served with a sticky, caramel sauce. It was the perfect sweet ending to the night.
We headed back to the room, popped open the bottle of sparkling wine and the rest as they say…
The morning after we headed down to breakfast at Aarya’s. A full buffet with just about everything I needed to satisfy my hangover. My hangover cure is a generous splash of tabasco over sausages, eggs and bacon. Don’t ask me why but it works everytime. Fresh fruit and a croissant with fresh cream rounded off my calorie heavy brekkie. I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about Aarya restaurant or SunSquare Montecasino.