Ahead of the announcement of the winner of the 2017 Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award later this year, we’ll be running a series of articles highlighting ways that restaurants can be more sustainable. In the second of this series, we look at the current crisis facing our seafood stocks.Read More
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There’s a long-established legacy behind the food at Hartford House. The culinary pedigree created by previous head chefs like Richard Carstens and Jackie Cameron creates an enormous expectation to be fulfilled. But it’s evident that head chef Constantijn Hahndiek sees it as an inspiration.Read More
"Hartford House is certainly cooking and the star in the kitchen is head chef Constantijn Hahndiek. He’s fresh from an Eat Out top 20 nomination this year – and the only KZN restaurant mentioned." - Frank Chemaly / The Mercury Good LifeRead More
The latest Summerhill Sires brochure, penned in the hot aftermath of their tenth national Breeders’ Championship, ended with a piece on its sister business Hartford House, with a statement which in the heady context of what had just happened, might’ve smacked of exaggeration: “For every goal Summerhill has scored of late, Hartford has banged in two”.Read More
Book a room at Hartford House and stay the night, you won't feel like driving anywhere.Read More
A World Class Hotel on a World Class Stud Farm. Besides locality, there is another common thread to Summerhill Stud and Hartford House. They were both founded on dreams, widely disparate enterprises with a shared set of values. - Best of South AfricaRead More
For the first time in almost a decade, the Hartford House restaurant was a by-stander at the annual Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards restaurant awards held in Cape Town. Here are the awardees for 2014.Read More
"Seven Out Of Seven"
When Mike de Kock's son Mathew strode to the Equus Awards podium recently to receive his father's eighth Champion Trainers' title, he was breaking new ground in a new world. Likewise, when the Summerhill team took to the podium a few minutes later to receive its ninth consecutive Breeders' title, it had broken its own modern record. Just this past week, the finalists for Eat Out's national "Top Ten"restaurant championships were announced, and for the seventh consecutive year, the name of Hartford House was among them.
Strictly by the numbers, this means Hartford trails, so it calls for some perspective. The cut-and-thrust of De Kock's world involves more than 200 professionals, the cream of whom could compete with the best anywhere. The breeding world is populated by something of the order of a 1000 players, and the upper end is the do-or-die playing field of some of the nation's wealthiest families. It's hot-as-hell in our "kitchen", but the one Hartford chef Jackie Cameron and her team operate in, is a cauldron of more than 60,000 restaurants across the country. International food critics remind us regularly that South African cuisine stands its ground with the best on the planet, and that makes a place in the national finals worthy of serious festivity.
A glimpse at the list of those that've made the cut, tells you very quickly just how tough it is at the top, and especially so for restaurants beyond the confines of the Western Cape. Regular interaction with your colleagues, a proximity that enables you to measure yourself against the best, and the many encounters Cape-based restaurateurs have with a burgeoning international clientele, are the ingredients which underpin their standards. By comparison, the relative isolation of a place like Hartford means having to get up that bit earlier, working that bit harder, and turning it out that bit better than you ever did before, just to keep your hand in the ring. To illustrate the difference, the once-sleepy enclave of Stellenbosch boasts nine of the finalists alone, while Gauteng and KZN are home to just two and one respectively.
Remembering that when Hartford opened just sixteen years ago, there were no skills in the hospitality and culinary environs to speak of, just hope, determination and the creative potential of a comparatively "raw" local population, and you begin to get a taste of what it takes. None of it would be possible though, without the support and the encouragement of those that take the trouble to visit Hartford, from the four corners of the earth. We're always flattered that a little restaurant, twelve kilometers outside the dustiest little dorp in the Midlands, at the southernmost tip of what the civilized people in the North call the "darkest continent", should serve as a magnet for so many from so far.
From one champion team to Hartford's champions, well done -Team Summerhill
2013/2014 EAT OUT TOP TEN FINALISTS
- Bread & Wine
- Camphors at Vergelegen
- Delaire Graff Estate Restaurant
- DW Eleven-13 - Gauteng
- Five Hundred - Gauteng
- The Greenhouse
- Hartford House - KwaZulu-Natal
- Jordan Restaurant
- The Kitchen at Maison
- La Colombe
- Pierneef à La Motte
- Planet Restaurant
- The Restaurant at Waterkloof
- Rust en Vrede
- The Tasting Room
- The Test Kitchen
Thursday, 14 February
Valentine's Day is less than a week away. There's no time for complacency: some of us think we've got the chick that presses our buttons, and we can sit back and take it easy. That, it needs to be said, is the beginning of the end. You have seven days to re-energise things, and if you're still on your lonesome, you're in even more desperate straits. Pull finger!
One guy we know has got it all worked out. In a recent article for Eat Out, the magazine which claims the top spot in opinions on gastronomic matters, owner and sommelier at the celebrated Burrata restaurant, Neil Grant, knows all of the top eateries in the land, and had this to say:
"There are so many amazing restaurants for a romantic dinner. The Tasting Room, La Colombe, Rust en Vrede... They all offer amazing food with intimate surroundings. But honestly, if I really want to sweep my wife off her feet, a trip to Hartford House in the Natal Midlands is at the top of my list. The rooms are incredible and every meal, from breakfast to dinner, feels like a splurge. Gazing out at horses grazing on the stud property is really a special treat".
If you didn't heed Neil's advice and the wheels have come off, there's still time to make amends. The number is 033 263 2713.
"Described as a bucket list adventure, it won't disappoint."
Jackie Cameron's skills and knowledge of French classics allow her to push boundaries. This is evident in her ever-changing menu, which showcases Midlands produce and highlights her personality. Hearty English lentil tongue soup had me salivating for days. The chicken liver parfait (which was served with poached quail, Parma ham and sticky potatoes) is delicious - Asking for some more to spread over the homemade breads was so tempting. Ostrich tartar was fresh and delicate. Combinations of hot and cold on each plate accentuate the flavours just as described in the menu. The attention detail is what sets this restaurant apart. Described as a bucket list adventure, it won't disappoint.
The offering is designed for food and wine enthusiasts. You will find gems and a collection of older vintages - some
of the best South Africa has to offer. The food and wine pairings are well thought out.
Attentive, humble and genuine.
This iconic KwaZulu-Natal property is steeped in history and culture, and you can enjoy some spectacular South African art. Its colonial charm is breathtaking, and the combination of old and new is very sophisticated.
Do stay over. Breakfast is even better than dinner (if it's possible).
For further queries, contact Emma on 033 263 2713 or firstname.lastname@example.org