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 Restaurants in South Africa

"BA" is "A" as well as "B"

"Bloody Agreeable" / British Airways (p)

"Bloody Agreeable" / British Airways (p)

"South Africa's Top 5 Restaurants"
-British Airways

Mick Goss Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss
Summerhill CEO

I'm sure we've all heard the by-line among those customers that swear there's nothing to touch British Airways in this part of the world, that the abbreviated version actually means "bloody agreeable".

I was on my way to Cape Town the other day, when I bumped into a few old pals who were about to depart on a BA flight, in the

lift. They mentioned that they'd just picked up in the Business Class lounge on BA's selection of South Africa's Top Five restaurants. These are them, apparently in no particular order:

The Test Kitchen, Cape Town
 - Chef Luke Dale-Roberts

An eclectic establishment with a contemporary approach that is producing the most exciting cuisine in South Africa.

DW Eleven-13, Johannesburg
Chef Marthinus Ferreira

This is the most sophisticated place in Johannesburg. Don't overlook their gutsy signature dish - a slow-roast farm chicken with pomme purée.

Hartford House, KwaZulu-Natal
Chef Jackie Cameron

Located in an historic mansion at South Africa's most famous stud farm, diners sit around the original dining table and eat tartare of ostrich or poached quail. Among the top three faraway eateries in the world.

Tasting Room, Le Quartier Français, Franschhoek
Chef Margot Janse

The most stylish restaurant in Africa? Diners choose between a couple of eight-course tasting menus which feature the very best local ingredients presented in a playful manner.

Jordan, Stellenbosch
Chef George Jardine

Located on a wine estate. Straightforward authentic cuisine, with the best cheese selection in the country.

Enough said.

hartford house logo

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

Why Twenty Twelve won't be 2012

Entrance to the Hartford Estate / Nicholas Goss (p)

Entrance to the Hartford Estate / Nicholas Goss (p)

"Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses"

Mick Goss Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss
Summerhill CEO

Mick GossThere've been all sorts of predictions on how 2012 would turn out, not the least of which is the foreboding suggestion that the world will come to an end on the 21st December. By our calculations, that leaves most of us with about a week to live, but if you believe the movie "2012", there is salvation for anyone living within reach of the Drakensberg mountains. In that context, it's comforting to know that we're just over half an hour from Giant's Castle, and if what they have in mind is a flood of proportions to which only Noah can relate, there'll be time enough for anyone booked into Hartford House to make it up there as well. The point of my note is that if you don't already have a reservation at Hartford, get one because, in the same instant, you can enjoy a "Last Supper" before the curtain call at what is now officially KZN's Number One restaurant!

From an operational perspective though, we'd have to say that the outcome of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale last month, is the principal reason why twenty twelve won't be 2012. By any stretch, the sale was a miracle, a tribute to good horses, good people and great customers, a convergence of all the ingredients in serendipity, and an alignment of the stars. Unless the Mayans had something else in mind, it seems that what they were predicting was that 2012 would be not so much the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning. In that case, we have much to look forward to in 2013, particularly if the market's assessment of our young stallions is any kind of yardstick. When it came to the Admire Mains, A.P. Arrows and the Mullins Bays, Ready To Run buyers voted with both feet, and the gratifying thing is that they had the benefit of hindsight at the gallops before they did so. For now, we can at least approach the New Year with positive anticipation. Despite a fairly significant reduction in broodmare numbers around the country, we've had an excellent season in the stallion barn, with encouraging demand for the new boys Visionaire, Golden Sword and Traffic Guard, while the vibes on the first of the Brave Tin Soldiers augurs well for their market debuts in the New Year.

Besides the frentics of the Ready To Run, 'tiz the season for awards, and the number of occasions we've had to don our dinner jackets in the past few months has me wondering whether there is time still for a final investment in a new tuxedo. Last time out, I was astonished to discover in my inner pocket, an invitation from the former Administrator of the old Natal, Stoffel Botha, to a function at King's House in 1983, and while that may be a compliment to the jacket's longevity, it's probably more an indication that this Zulu farmer either wears these things as little as possible, or that we just haven't won enough awards in the interim!

We never take these things for granted though, and they always come as a wonderful surprise. Often enough, they are a tribute to two great teams: an eighth Breeders' Championship, an award from each of Highveld and KZN Racing, and a string of podium visits at the KZN Breeders night out; for Hartford House, another national Top Ten Restaurant award, a sixth American Express Fine Dining accolade, the number one spot on the Top 100 SA Wine Lists and a Diamond class certificate from Diners International. That means those of us with a foot in both camps, have attended a lot of dinners lately. None of it possible without the support and encouragement of great friends and wonderful customers.

'Tiz also the season of many visitors, and this is the time when we top up our reserves of good conversation, fine wine and classic horses. If you're passing this way, please join us: we're bound to have other good friends from the neighbourhood. If not, this note comes with the best and the most grateful wishes of two of the best teams in their businesses.

As always, warmest regards,

MICK GOSS
SUMMERHILL STUD & HARTFORD HOUSE

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

Long Weekend at Hartford House in Mooi River

Rebecca Bourhill and Jackie Cameron

Rebecca Bourhill and Jackie Cameron

By Rebecca Bourhill

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to one of South Africa's top 10 restaurants in Mooi River to help out in the kitchen with the chef Jackie Cameron. The opportunity came by surprise when my aunt was going to Underberg and passing right through Mooi River. A few months before, Jackie said that I must let her know when I will be going in that direction and I can come and work with her in the kitchen. So this was the time!

I was spoilt absolutely rotten and did not let a minute pass without being busy or having fun!

Jackie is very passionate about what she does and you can see that passion and enthusiasm as soon as you walk into the kitchen! If there is a problem she fixes it right away and everything carries on as if nothing happened! Smooth running and faultless! As soon as I got there, I was put straight to work! And 30 minutes after I met Jackie she said 'ok girls we going out to supper'! That took me by surprise after thinking we should be doing dinner service or something! Comm'on it was a Friday night for goodness sake... is the restaurant not going to be busy? Like one would expect! The next day was just as fun! Busy the whole day and once again no time to think twice about doing something! You just get on and do it like Jackie would expect! In the evening I was asked to peel and cut 53 potatoes into chips! A grueling job that was!

Sunday was a sad day it was time to say good bye to the lovely place and the staff, they were surprised at my age and I would be able to do something like that! Saying goodbye to Jackie Cameron was the hardest thing for me as she became like my second mother while I was there and she looked after me so well! I really have no words to explain this once in a lifetime experience! I am looking forward to going back and learning a great deal more!

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