Thursday, December 6th, 2018
Reviewed by Jackie Cameron
The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands has, for several years, been home to a successful family-owned and run boutique wine estate. Ian and Jane Smorthwaite, with their daughter Laurie, run all aspects of the business. Ian and Laurie are the wine makers, and Jane the competent chef.
Jane serves the heartiest of hearty meals cooked with absolute love and care. Jane cooks food she knows and loves, such as the boards that comprise a Midland’s harvest, a tantalising vegetarian option and a chargrilled fillet steak – all are designed for sharing. Add-ons include a crispy pork belly bowl, a rich melt-in-your-mouth oxtail bowl and, my favourite, fresh trout wrapped in delicate phyllo pastry.
It’s a tough decision to pick between the Abingdon mess – meringues, ice cream, mixed berries in liqueur – or the warm dark chocolate fudge cake with coffee ice cream and a salted caramel sauce.
It’s best to pair your meal of choice with an Abingdon estate wine – my preference being the Viognier. The restaurant does also showcase wines from other estates.
Welcoming local hospitality. The team has mastered the fine balance of being attentive yet discrete.
On glorious sunny Midlands days, visitors can enjoy the relaxed country outdoor atmosphere, where seating is alongside the vineyards. When winter’s chill sets in, expect roaring log fires in the cosy indoor venue. The ambience here is so relaxed and homely that I always feel as though I’m sitting in Jane’s home.
Arrive early and enjoy an enlightening, educational, personalised wine tasting with either Ian or Laurie. An Abingdon experience is a worthwhile day’s excursion. It truly promises to please.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.