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.

Filtering by Tag: Top 10 Restaurants in South Africa

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

Cape Town - Western Cape

Franschhoek - Western Cape

Stellenbosch - Western Cape

Stellenbosch - Western Cape

Stellenbosch - Western Cape

Johannesburg - Gauteng

Cape Town - Western Cape

Cape Town - Western Cape

Stellenbosch - Western Cape

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 :


wedding at hartford house kwazulu natal south africa

A Hartford Wedding

Durban, South Africa

 It’s always gratifying to receive feedback from guests who stay aHartford House, as an enormous amount of effort goes into making every guest’s stay a memorable one.  It was therefore with deep appreciation that we received these reviews via theripadvisor.com website.

We booked Hartford House for my daughter’s wedding.  We took over the whole hotel for two nights. What an unbelievable experience! All the guests from the United Kingdom and South Africa thought it was a very romantic location for a wedding. 

The food we had at the reception was, as expected, excellent. The accommodation in the suites which overlook the lake was out of this world.  I do not think I have stayed in a room anywhere in the world as large as the one at Hartford House.  We also took advantage of the guided tour of the stud farm which was very interesting and informative. 

My daughter could not have had a better wedding experience. The staff could not do enough for us during our stay.  A highlight was the performance by a local group of young Zulu dancers which the hotel arranged for the evening before the wedding.  They were the best we’ve seen.

London, England

hartford house south africa ezulweni lake suites

Ezulweni Lake Suites

During our stay I mentioned to the manager that they should put Hartford House on the TripAdvisor site, and I’m glad she did!

This is a fabulous place for ambience, countryside views, peace and tranquillity and excellent food.  We were lucky that, while we were there, a top South African jockey and his family were staying and, together with them, we had a guided tour of the stud farm with Mick Goss, the owner. They look after and breed for many of the top owners in the world. The horses are amazing! There are just fields of mares and foals.

They have several rooms, the best definitely being the suites which overlook the fishing dam which is quite good for fly-fishing. My husband also went on a fly-fishing trip on the small trout rivers nearby which were demanding but, apparently, very good.

I would thoroughly recommend Hartford House.

Cape Town, South Africa

hartford house south africa siyabongo suite bedroom

Siyabonga Suite 15 Bedroom

We booked at Hartford House in Natal for 2 nights, due to the fact that the on-site restaurant was voted as one of the Top 10 restaurants in South Africa.

The Siyabonga Suite we stayed in is completely separate from the whole estate, overlooking the dam. The suite itself was massive with a complete lounge with fireplace, entrance area, and a big bedroom with seating space. The bathroom was the cherry-on-top with 2 freestanding baths next to each other for bathing. A massive shower room with separate toilet and dressing area completed the suite. Everything in the suite was in neutral earthy colours and our suite even had a grass roof. The materials used to build the suite were made by the locals with their local building materials.

The main building is absolutely beautiful. The building is still the old original sandstone farmhouse. Inside, portions of the ceilings are even stained glass, which lets light through during the day and is absolutely amazing. The main building houses the restaurant, lounge, porch and breakfast area. Everything has old world charm, yet is updated with modern style and done tastefully. It is a beautiful house.

The estate itself is on a working stud farm and apparently breeds some of the best horses in the world. We did see some horses and it's understandable why. The estate is massive with every inch of ground manicured to perfection.

The highlight of our stay, however, was the restaurant. Being avid “foodies”, the dinner and breakfasts during our stay were mouth-watering sensations each time. I'm not going into detail, but each course was made with fresh ingredients from the estate and had a perfect combination of tastes. Even breakfast was a three-course meal, and not the normal buffet with a selection of everything. The three-course breakfast was a refreshing experience with exquisite combinations.

All in all, this estate combines everything perfectly. The proximity to the Drakensberg is also very nice, as it's only 50kms from Giant's Castle.

We loved our stay here and will be back again and again.

Hartford voted Top 10 South African Restaurant

Hartford House Head Chef Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal - Hartford House (p)

Hartford House Head Chef Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal - Hartford House (p)

On Sunday evening South Africa's Oscars of Cuisine descended on Cape Town's Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays Hotel. This year's Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants Awards evening was once again a glittering occasion with seven new restaurants making the final Top 10 list.

We are proud to announce that the Hartford Restaurant, with Executive Chef Jackie Cameron at the helm, was voted into the Top 10 Restaurants in South Africa. A special note is that Hartford was the only restaurant in KwaZulu Natal to receive this coveted accolade.

Congratulations to Jackie Cameron and the Hartford House Restaurant team on this extraordinary achievement.

The 2008 Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants results are as follows :

  • La Colombe (Cape Town) - Chef: Luke Dale-Roberts
  • Jardine (Cape Town) - Chef: George Jardine
  • Terroir (Stellenbosch) – Chef: Michael Broughton
  • Overture (Stellenbosch) – Chef: Bertus Basson
  • Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient (Pretoria) – Chef: Chantel Dartnall
  • Rust en Vrede (Stellenbosch) – Chef: David Higgs
  • The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek) - Chef: Margot Janse
  • Roots at the Forum Homini Boutique Hotel (Joburg) - Chef: Philippe Wagenfuhrer
  • Bizerca (Cape Town) – Chef: Laurent Deslandes
  • Hartford House (KwaZulu-Natal Midlands) – Chef: Jackie Cameron

Prudential Eat Out Restaurant Awards this Sunday

Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal (p)

Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal (p)

The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays Hotel will this Sunday play host to the Prudential Eat OutRestaurant Awards,the Oscars of the South African restaurant industry. South Africa's top restaurants will be celebrated and tribute paid to the Nation's finest chef's.

Hartford House is one of the 20 nominees for the 'Oscars of Cuisine' and Executive Chef Jackie Cameron and her team are delighted to be amongst the finalists.

Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, together with funnyman Marc Lottering, will announce the Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants, as well as the Eat Out Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.

Restaurant lovers are invited to read about the event and nominated restaurants, as well as to predict the Top 10 Restaurants on www.eatout.co.za.

The 20 nominated restaurants in the 2008 Prudential Eat Out Restaurant Awards are:

9th Avenue Bistro (Durban) - Carly Goncalves
Aubergine (Cape Town) - Harald Bresselschmidt
Bizerca (Cape Town) - Laurent Deslandes
Bread and Wine (Franschhoek) - Neil Jewel
Food Barn (Cape Town) - Franck Dangereux
Hartford House (Mooi River, KZN) - Jackie Cameron
Jardine (Cape Town) - George Jardine
La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig (Cape Town) - Luke Dale-Roberts
Linger Longer (Johannesburg) - Walter Ulz
Mosaic Restaurant (Elandsfontein, Pretoria) - Chantel Dartnall
Myoga (Cape Town) - Mike Bassett
Overture (Stellenbosch) - Bertus Basson
Reubens (Franschhoek) - Reuben Riffel
Roots at the Forum Homini Boutique Hotel (Johannesburg) - Philippe Wagenfuhrer
Rust en Vrede (Stellenbosch) - David Higgs
Saxon (Johannesburg) - Rudi Liebenberg
Showroom (Cape Town) - Bruce Robertson
Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais (Franschhoek) - Margot Janse
Terroir (Stellenbosch) - Michael Broughton
Zachary’s at the Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa (Knysna) - Geoffrey Murray

Hartford's Restaurant nominated for Prudential Eat Out Award

Hartford House Restaurant

Hartford House Restaurant

After months of adjudication across the length and breadth of South Africa, a shortlist of 20 restaurants has been released for the coveted Prudential Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2008.

Hartford House is one of the 20 nominees for the 'Oscars of Cuisine' and Executive Chef Jackie Cameron and her team are delighted to be amongst the finalists.

The awards evening, where accolades will be presented for Chef of the Year, Top 10 Restaurants in South Africa and Restaurant of the Year, takes place at the Westin Grand in Cape Town on Sunday 30 November 2008.