In a beautiful old railway station, beside a quiet lagoon in the tranquil town of Great Brak River, Transkaroo dishes up plates full of passionately created South African cuisine. The vaulted wooden ceilings, delicate ostrich egg chandeliers, and rustic wooden benches that are perfect for al fresco dining on a warm evening or sunny afternoon, all serve to create a warm, relaxing atmosphere that feels a little more special than the norm when you enter. Here we spend hours cooking lamb neck till you could eat it with a spoon, skilpadjies are made from scratch and served with onion marmalade and pies didn’t come from the 24 hour garage shop. Chef Maurice Fouche is serious about making everything from scratch. His kitchen uses the freshest, local, seasonal ingredients to influence the dynamic menu. But it’s not only the menu that changes regularly to keep up with what’s good right now. The wine list comprises a trip to the wine racks in a corner of the restaurant, where the selection on offer changes as new favorites are showcased. Dishes are unpretentious, but exceptional. As the menu changes so often, it’s difficult to recommend a dish. But no matter what you choose, you can be sure that it will be rich, packed with in-your-face flavors, and not found in any diet recipe books. It’s best not to set your heart on a firm favourite, but should you come across them, to start, the snails vol au vents blanketed in the silkiest, creamiest blue cheese sauce to ever enrobe a molusc is an absolute must. We also had the curried coconut fish cakes which packed a real Cape Malay flavour punch and the balsamic onion marmalade and Camembert tart . As a main, the lamb neck – Transkaroo’s signature dish – is highly recommended. The lamb is cooked for 4 hours and would fall off the bone if you shook your plate too vigorously! That is, of course, if you can look past the lavender crème brûlée. Starters range from R30 to R50 and mains from R85 to R160. The service doesn’t feel like service. It feels more like a friend offering you a plate of food while you’re visiting them. The minute you walk in the door, everyone makes you feel like they’ve been waiting specially for you to arrive. That said, they won’t hover unnecessarily around you, but will keep your glass topped up ever so discreetly. For a taste of the best traditional dishes South Africa has to offer, with a touch of something a little more special, Transkaroo is a great choice! And if you’re lucky, a train will roll past to add to the charm.