Chef Johannes Richter follows a hyper-local approach to cooking, sourcing all ingredients locally and growing many on the property. He is serious about sustainability and there is a deliberate effort to create food and an experience that have as little impact on the environment as possible. He uses techniques such as fermentation and preservation to stretch produce and ingredients as far as possible, and his ambition to showcase Durban’s culinary diversity translates well into the food. Guests can choose between a five- or seven-course menu, both of which start with sourdough bread and butter, which is paired with Trizanne Wines’ Makeba Bubbly, bringing delicious acidity to this appetiser. The courses that follow may include pigeon peas, cauliflower and lime – a unique ingredient cooked with care, with the cauliflower and lime balancing the crunchy peas. The chef shows off his fermentation skills in the playfully titled “Return of the ‘ordinary carrot’” with fermented dhal, miso and mint. The next dish, Vanessa’s whole chicken with celeriac and amathungulu (num num or Natal plum) is a brave take on a humble ingredient, with the chicken simply cooked but truly delicious, a testament to the chef’s skill in coaxing every ounce of flavour out of the produce at his disposal. Bushpig with purple sweet potato and ibhece (melon) is eye-openingly good and paired with the stellar Weather Report Atlas Cabernet Franc. For dessert, Willowdale truffle, Hluhluwe queen pineapple and créme fraiche is a refreshing finale, not too sweet and beautifully paired with Genevieve Cape Classique. A vegetarian menu is available on request when booking, and dietary restrictions are accommodated with advance notice.
The extensive wine list is overseen by the chef’s wife, Johanna, who curates a selection of premium South African wines. The focus is on smaller producers who are sustainably minded. There are also well-considered non-alcoholic beverages comprising syrups, juices and kombuchas made in-house. There is also a small selection of classic cocktails made using local ingredients, such as a marula seed butter washed old-fashioned.
Service is relaxed and friendly, with servers confident in explaining the menu. The chef also interacts with guests, serving some courses. The restaurant’s capacity is limited to 30 guests, so reservations are essential.
The space is comfortable and unintimidating. As its name suggests, you should feel as if you’re at home in your own living room. There is sometimes live music and local art is showcased.