Saturday the 23 July was a big day in this household.  Today was the inaugural secret lunch at Chez Shamwari; the full menu can be viewed here.

I have been looking forward to this day ever since Chez Shamwari became a reality some six weeks or so ago.  I wouldn’t be honest if I said there weren’t a few anxieties as I worried whether my homemade puff pastry was up to my high standards and if I had thought through the finer details sufficiently to make this an memorable and thoroughly enjoyable experience for my guests.

My guests arrived at 1pm and the conversation and merrity continued till 3.45pm when they made their departure; I took comfort and encouragement from the fact that no one seemed in a hurry to make an early escape!  The first round of coffees at the end of the meal were taken at the table but a second cuppa was enjoyed relaxing in the lounge; this gave me the opportunity to also sit with my guests and enjoy a coffee myself and indulge in a slice of the toffee & pecan cake I had offered for desert.

Ever the perfectionist, there were things that didn’t go quite according to plan … but everyone seemed very kind and forgiving.  A totally spontaneous comment from a guest was “this is the best Saturday lunch out I’ve ever had”!  … how nice wasthat.

I so enjoyed the whole experience of preparing for the event, planning the menu, doing the cooking and being the hostess.  I am looking forward to receiving more ‘formal’ feedback from my guests via an online questionnaire. As I expected, I didn’t have much time to talk to some of my guests in any great detail to get to know them a bit more as I was busy with so many other things.  However, the core philosophy at Chez Shamwari has worked it’s magic as the tiny seed of friendship has been sown to be followed up in the future.

So if the debut of Chez Shamwari is anything to go by, I really have discovered something wonderful in the world of secret lunches & afternoon teas.