Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses.

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

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Africa.com Restaurant Guide celebrates Africa's Cuisine

Africa.com Platinum Restaurant Award / Hartford House (p)

Africa.com Platinum Restaurant Award / Hartford House (p)

"African cuisine is colourful, diverse and cultured, and is a largely unexplored aspect of the continent that offers a refreshing alternative to game drives and extreme adventures."

The recently launched Africa.com Restaurant Guide offers restaurants gradings in three tiers. The platinum establishments are the crème de la crème­, those that offer an exceptional dining experience. They are followed by the gold tier, which offers culinary excellence, and the bronze tier which offer solid choices for casual dining.

Restaurants are rated according to their service, quality of the food, wine list, general ambience and value for money.

Four restaurants; two from Gauteng and two from KwaZulu-Natal, were singled out for platinum status at the launch. There are also four in the Western Cape which have yet to be announced.

The restaurants are Five Hundred at the Saxon and DW Eleven-13, both in Johannesburg, and Ile Maurice and the restaurant at Hartford House, both in KwaZulu-Natal.

"We know we made the right choices," says Benny Masekwameng, a member of the Africa.com culinary council and a Masterchef South Africa judge. "We need to let people know what we can do. There's a lot that's said about our country in terms of other attractions, and now our industry has the chance to reach a wider audience around the world."

Masekwameng says the country has top-notch culinary talent, but that talent needs a platform such as Masterchef and now, the Africa.com restaurant guide.

All the qualifying restaurants were announced at the launch, and those achieving platinum also received a plaque which they can display with pride.

"Africa.com is the definitive address for information on the continent," says the culinary council's third member Richard Harden, who publishes a highly regarded guide to restaurants in the UK, "and we expect the restaurant guide will become the obvious choice for diners in Africa."

"What better way for a restaurant to get expert advice on what people want?" says Masekwameng. "From the top traveller with money to spend to average tourists, the list caters for everyone. But you need to make sure that your establishment delivers - it's all about consistency and keeping the reputation you've built."

Read more about the Africa.com Restaurant Guide

The RASA Rosetta Award 2012

RASA Rosetta Award 2012 / Hartford House (p)

RASA Rosetta Award 2012 / Hartford House (p)

"Award of Service Excellence"

Hartford House is honoured to have received the 2012 RASA Rosetta Award of Service Excellence.

The RASA (Restaurant Association of South Africa) Rosetta Award is an award given to restaurants and individuals that strive for Service Excellence in the restaurant industry. It is recognition of the highest honours for service excellence and overall contribution to the upliftment of the restaurant industry in South Africa.

www.restaurant.org.za

Eat Out Top Ten

Hartford House Restaurant / Sally Chance (p)

Hartford House Restaurant / Sally Chance (p)

Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards
25 November 2012

When we last checked the stats, there were more than 70,000 restaurants or eateries in South Africa. That was six years ago, and there are probably many more today, which makes the food business just about the most populous sector in the economy. If you look at the biggest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product, there are not that many mines, it's doubtful there are that many banks, it's unlikely there are more farmers, there certainly aren't that many car hire companies, and there are many more restaurants than there are hotels.

That means the food game is as competitive, if not more so, than any other sector of the economy, though the title of "best restaurant" is always going to be a subjective issue. Yet there are a few names and places that pop up consistently year after year, and when they do so in a number of competitions adjudicated upon by different judges, then you know that the acclaim is pretty much universal.

The point of all this is that last night in Cape Town, Hartford House once again made the nation's "Top Ten" at the Eat Out awards, the only restaurant in KZN to do so, and the only one to have made the finals in each of the past six years. Head Chef Jackie Cameron turned 30 on Saturday, which means that besides being voted South Africa's best restaurant in the Visa/House & Leisure awards in both 2010 and 2011, and Eat Out's most popular restaurant in the latter year, as a personal milestone, Jackie's been occupying the place of a finalist since she was 24, which in itself was a record.

She'll be the first to admit though, that these accolades come courtesy of a team effort, and she'll point immediately to her long-serving (and long- suffering!) assistant Elaine Boshoff, to a great back-up team in the kitchen, to a marvellously hospitable crew in the front of the house, and to an ambiance and atmosphere that belongs only to an historic property like Hartford and its award-winning gardens. We do need to acknowledge though, that our location puts Hartford at something of a disadvantage. We're ten kilometres outside a dusty little dorp in the KZN Midlands, at the forgotten end of what the civilizations to the North of us have often referred to as the darkest continent. We do not see anything like the traffic that traverses the winelands and the environs of Table Mountain, nor for that matter, the populations of the greater Johannesburg, Pretoria or Durban areas, which makes this award all the more commendable. That there are just two restaurants outside of the Western Cape in the "Top Ten", illustrates just how deep the culinary waters are in that part of the world, and equally, how good you have to be to be counted in their illustrious company.

In all of this, we need to pay our respects to those who've guided our team over the years in arriving at this day. Fundis like Victor Strugo, Anne Stevens, Eat Out's Abigail Donnelly, Derek Taylor, Anna Trapido, Paula Mackenzie and the late Lannice Snyman, among critics of the printed media, Justin Bonello of BBC Food's "Cooked In Africa", Masterchef's Pete Goffe-Wood and members of organisations such as Chaine des Rotisseurs have all been inspirations, and let's not forget the encouragement and the acclaim of our guests. Customers are the lifeblood of our business, and their appreciation of the Hartford food experience has not only nurtured the creative spirit in our kitchen, but it's reminded the team that sets the tables and carries the plates that in Africa, by contrast with many other places in the world, it remains an honour to serve.

"It has been a dazzling year of fun dining," said Eat Out editor and judge, Abigail Donnelly. "I have seen local chefs prepare astonishing, world-class food, and the top restaurants in South Africa have shown tremendous talent, continuing to push the boundaries in terms of creativity, confidence and full-on  flavour." International judge Bruce Palling was similarly impressed by the standard of cuisine on offer in this country. The UK-based food columnist, who writes for the Wall Street Journal Europe and is on the judging panel of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, praised the range and dedication of South Africa's leading chefs. "Some of the chefs would rank in my personal top twenty anywhere in the world."

Top 10 Restaurants

THE TEST KITCHEN BY LUKE DALE-ROBERTS
Cape Town - Western Cape

TASTING ROOM AT LE QUARTIER FRANCAIS
Franschhoek - Western Cape

JORDAN RESTAURANT
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

OVERTURE
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

RUST EN VREDE RESTAURANT
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

DW ELEVEN-13
Johannesburg - Gauteng

LA COLOMBE
Cape Town - Western Cape

THE GREENHOUSE
Cape Town - Western Cape

TERROIR
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

HARTFORD HOUSE
Mooi River - KwaZulu-Natal

Other Awards

Restaurant of the Year
The Test Kitchen

Chef of the Year
Margot Janse of The Tasting Room

Service Excellence Award
Rust en Vrede

The Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award brought to you by Paarl Media
Alicia Wilkinson of Silwood School of Cookery

Best Bistro
9th Avenue Bistro

Best Steakhouse
Carne SA

Best Country-style Restaurant
Fresh at Paul Cluver Wine Estate

Best Asian Restaurant
Saigon (Gardens)

Best Italian Restaurant
Café del Sol

Boschendal Style Award in association with Visi
Green House at Babylonstoren

For more information visit :
www.eatout.co.za

Hartford House scores Platinum at AMEX Fine Dining Awards

Head Chef Jackie Cameron and Hartford GM Vanessa Coetzee receive Hartford's AMEX Platinum Award / American Express (p)

Head Chef Jackie Cameron and Hartford GM Vanessa Coetzee receive Hartford's AMEX Platinum Award / American Express (p)

AMERICAN EXPRESS FINE DINING AWARDS 2013

The recipients of the 2013 American Express Fine Dining Awards were announced recently and we're proud at Hartford House to have been awarded the Platinum accolade; counting Hartford among the nation's most prestigious fine dining establishments. This is the 15th year in which the Awards have been held and sitting on the judging panel were renowned food critic Victor Strugo, food writer Anna Trapido and Cape Town-based 'foodie' Tamsin Snyman, assisted by a team of anonymous and experienced assessors. Congratulations to Head Chef Jackie Cameron, GM Vanessa Coetzee and the entire Hartford Team.

HARTFORD HOUSE RESTAURANT FLYING SOLO IN KZN

Hartford House Restaurant / Sally Chance (p)

Hartford House Restaurant / Sally Chance (p)

EAT OUT DSTV FOOD NETWORK RESTAURANT AWARDS 2012

The nation's top twenty restaurants were named by Eat Out magazine last evening. The list recognises the best restaurants in the land, and is one of the gourmet world's most prized accolades. The Hartford restaurant is included for the 6th consecutive year in what is billed the "Oscars" of the South African food industry, and it's a wonderful tribute not only to Jackie Cameron, Elaine Boshoff and their team in the kitchen, but to the whole show. Eat Out recognises a restaurant not only for its food, but for its service, its ambiance, and the broader experience, and it's a matter of some pride that we remain the only KZN-based restaurant in the list in 2012, and of course, to have made the finals in each of the last six consecutive years.

RESTAURANT AWARDS NOMINEES

BABEL
Simondium - Western Cape

BIZERCA BISTRO
Cape Town - Western Cape

DELAIRE GRAFF ESTATE RESTAURANT
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

DW ELEVEN-13
Johannesburg - Gauteng

THE GREENHOUSE
Cape Town - Western Cape

HARTFORD HOUSE
Mooi River - KwaZulu-Natal

JORDAN RESTAURANT
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

LA COLOMBE
Cape Town - Western Cape

MAKARON
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

OVERTURE
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

PIERNEEF A LA MOTTE
Franschhoek - Western Cape

PLANET RESTAURANT AT THE MOUNT NELSON
Cape Town - Western Cape

RESTAURANT MOSAIC AT ORIENT
Pretoria - Gauteng

THE ROUNDHOUSE
Cape Town - Western Cape

RUST EN VREDE RESTAURANT
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

TASTING ROOM AT LE QUARTIER FRANCAIS
Franschhoek - Western Cape

TERROIR
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

THE TEST KITCHEN BY LUKE DALE-ROBERTS
Cape Town - Western Cape

TOKARA
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

For more information visit :
www.eatout.co.za

LIVE THE MOMENT

la motte and hartford house restaurant

La Motte Eat Out People's Choice Award

When fortune smiles on you, you'd better remember just how illusive these things are. The six consecutive National Breeders' Titles that've befallen Summerhill in recent years, have been matched almost blow-for-blow by the "little sister" Hartford House, and it's much acclaimed restaurant.

Most followers of these columns are already aware that Hartford once again made the Country's Top Ten Restaurants at the Eat Out Gala Function in Cape Town last weekend, the only recipient in KwaZulu Natal. And that this followed hard on the heels of it's second year-in-row billing as House and Leisure / Visa's Best Restaurant in South Africa in October.

But there was more to come; in a brand new initiative this year, Eat Out launched a parallel competition on the web to find South Africa's most popular restaurant, sponsored by the makers of La Motte wines, spectacular gems of Franschoek.

By a margin of more than double of it's nearest pursuer, Hartford House was polled the "Top Dog", the best sign if ever it was needed, of the loyalty of its customers and that it is, without any doubt, the "People's Choice".

Spare a thought though for where we are. Surely the remotest of all the leading 20 restaurants in the nation, and in a province, assuming the critics got this right, not entirely celebrated for it's culinary hot spots, on a little old Zulu farm 10km outside of the dustiest dorp in the KZN Midlands.

Goes to show, when the show's good, anything is possible. We look forward to that case of La Motte. If you voted for us, come and enjoy it with us!

hartford house logo

For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za