As leisure travel resumes and lockdown lightens, many a seasoned traveller looks to get back to exploring our beautiful country once again. Those wanderers with a culinary inclination need look no further than KwaZulu-Natal’s Summerhill Estate.
Nestled in the quiet Durban suburb of Cowies Hill is where you’ll find this gem of a food-focused, boutique hotel. It is here where chef Johannes Richter serves up his hyper-local take on fine dining; utilising a host of seasonal, regional and sustainable produce to create mouth-watering dishes, showcasing KwaZulu-Natal’s culinary diversity in both flavour and ingredient.
The hard lockdown saw Richter, who owns and runs the estate together with wife Johanna and mother Christina, adapt to the times by first offering grocery delivery baskets of their fine local fair before launching tapas baskets of ready-to-eat small plates for home enjoyment. Their latest foray sees the launch of The LivingRoom Experience Culinary Getaway.
This is a two-day gastronomic experience sure to whet the appetite of the most seasoned gastronomes (those looking for a shorter stay may opt for the one-day reduced offering.) It is an experience that not only welcomes guests to indulge in Richter’s cooking but also explore the estate where so much of The LivingRoom’s food is grown, produced and, obviously, cooked.
The trip starts off with a check-in to one of the boutique hotel’s 16 luxury suites, before the first visit to The LivingRoom for dinner. It kicks off with the eatery’s award-winning five-course tasting menu. Seasonally and regionally focused, the menu changes based on what’s available. Expect the likes of Midlands reared lamb, Lesotho trout and Kolbroek pork all accompanied by herbs, vegetables and bakes from the estate.
Spend the next day lounging at the pool or exploring the gardens. You’re likely to find Richter picking produce, readying a light lunch for your enjoyment. It’s worth taking a closer look at what’s growing as plenty of it is region specific, heritage produce, the use of which makes the chef’s food so unique and KwaZulu-Natal specific.
Dinner is once again a grand affair, but this time rather than the tasting menu guests will be treated to a French-inspired delight. The Wagyu beef entrecote double complete with traditional sides of fries and béarnaise sauce is sure to impress before ending off the evening with truffled chocolates and a light and fluffy souffle accompanied by seasonal berries.
It’s an incredible option for the culinary traveller looking for a unique and different foodie experience. Richter’s Durban-centric approach to cuisine is worth the visit alone. The extended stay offers added opportunities allowing for a more in-depth understanding of what the chef and Summerhill as an estate have to offer. Skip the city buzz and book yourself in for a weekend of rest, relaxation and culinary exploration.
Where: Summerhill Estate, Cowies Hill, KwaZulu-Natal.
When: Culinary Getaways can be booked from Monday to Saturday
Price: Two-night getaway costs R5,900 for two people sharing, or a one-night stay for R2,950 for two people sharing (excludes entrecote dinner).
How to book: Call 063-529-1966 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org