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The tasting menu (of four, five or seven courses) is a must. The menu is sparse – all of the talking is done on the plate, and the food doesn’t disappoint. Starters might include delicately plated Lesotho trout tartare with crunchy hits of celery and tart rhubarb, or plump mussels hidden beneath juicy green and red tomatoes and topped with shavings of subtly fragrant fennel.
The crisp C4 mutton belly with peas and pears is flavour and texture extraction at its best. The deboned, pressed and fried pig’s head with carrots and fermented rhubarb is an absolute wonder to behold. The finest beef bourguignon made from braised beef cheeks with parsnip mash and roasted porcini is a study in umami.
Dish after dish surprises and delights all the way to the end, with a sublime chocolate tart, salted persimmons and toasted sunflower seeds, an unlikely combination that simply dances on the tongue.
The tasting menu is expertly backed up by a short but expertly chosen wine list that perfectly complements the very precise and disciplined cooking.
The service throughout – from arrival at check-in through to drinks before dinner and during the entire dining experience – is absolutely impeccable. This truly is a family affair, with mother and daughter on the floor and son cooking in the kitchen.
Summerhill Estate truly is a hidden gem, a culinary oasis in the KZN. It’s a family-run retreat and there’s a clear African design motif that runs throughout the hotel and restaurant. There’s a clear attention to detail from a family that’s clearly been in the hospitality business for some time. The dining room and bar are warm and cosy, with an eclectic match of African and antique furniture.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.