Just twenty minutes drive from Kruger, this restaurant at the Summerfields Rose Retreat and Spa offers some sophisticated suppers, lunches and breakfasts. Diane de Beer makes a pilgrimage to Summerfields, The Kitchen in Hazyview.
This is not the kind of food that you might expect of this area; it falls more classically into a fine dining category. The menu is small and specific and determined by the produce on the day. It changes rapidly, depending on what’s available in their extended vegetable and fruit gardens. It could be a smoked tomato soup or textures of tomatoes, dehydrated, pickled and poached with a basil dressing and buffalo mozzarella, followed by a light fennel-infused risotto with tomato and beetroot and a fennel foam, or line fish, sous vide fennel, salt and pepper squid, parsnip tortellini or a comfy Karoo lamb loin with celeriac, parsnip purée, couscous, anchovy and roast garlic jus. Dessert include sweet treats like a hazelnut chocolate soufflé and Madagascan vanilla bean ice cream, or a macadamia chocolate bar with praline shards, butterscotch and strawberry ice cream. The food may be a touch pricier than other options in the area, but the quality is very good.
It’s a small, expensive and well thought out list that offers the full spectrum for those who want the wine to match their food, with the cheapest glass an Iona Sophie Te’blanche (R55), or the Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc (R75).
Service is sweet and personal, with managers and staff keeping close watch on their diners.
There’s a romantic air, with white linen tablecloths, silver candlesticks and a flourish of roses from the Summerfield estate to add that delicate touch. Diners are seated inside and out, overlooking a vegetable garden, and the sounds of wild animals in the distance to remind you that the Kruger National Park is around the corner.
While it’s all very posh and quite charming, this is the Lowveld, where diners aren’t really expected to dress up. Besides, the heat doesn’t allow for any of that, so it’s informal with a laidback air.