KZN Hidden Gem, The LivingRoom at Summerhill Guest Estate, Named Restaurant of the Year
A hidden gem in Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Cowies Hill has received top honours in the 2022 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards. The LivingRoom at Summerhill Guest Estate not only received Three Stars at the event – one of five restaurants in the country to do so – but also clinched the industry’s top-spot as Restaurant of the Year.
The LivingRoom is where chef Johannes Richter showcases the province’s culinary diversity from garden to plate, expressed through his fine French training and passion for Asian techniques. Family owned-and-run, the team deliver a fine-dining experience combining exceptional food with premium wines and top-notch hospitality.
The LivingRoom, a Memorable Dining Experience
On announcing the award, chief of the judging panel Abigail Donnelly, explained the rationale behind the judges’ decision: “With a unique sense of place, this restaurant pays homage to local ingredients, serving its diners elegantly simple food of astounding depth and flavour. From what would be considered a humble setting for a fine dining establishment, our winner connects with its community on every level – sourcing all key elements locally, from crockery to its ingredients. Its chef combines his formative upbringing with classical training and an innovative approach to sustainable cooking to produce a deeply memorable dining experience.”
Eat Out reviewed over 300 restaurants for the shortlisted 42 and scored them out of 100 based on menu composition (15 points), presentation (10 points), taste and technique (30 points), beverages (20 points), service (20 points) and ambiance (5 points). Only five restaurants scored over 90% to receive their Three Star rating – La Colombe, Pier, Salsify at the Roundhouse, The LivingRoom and Wolfgat.
The award is a tribute to the ethos of The LivingRoom – a hyper-seasonal and endemic approach to cooking, locally sourced ingredients, a strong focus on sustainability and ethical sourcing practices. The team also incorporate a range of ancient fermentation techniques and preservation methods are used to stretch produce and by-products across seasons – minimising wastage and adding diversity and depth of flavour across the menu.
“It is an incredible honour to be recognised among some of South Africa’s finest dining destinations – but also tribute to how culture shapes our industry. We’ve worked so hard – we all do – and the acknowledgment of that is truly humbling,” says chef Johannes.
Food & Wine Pairing at The LivingRoom
The extensive wine programme overseen by Johanna Richter, offers a well-considered and comprehensive list of premium South African wines. The menu is available with a pairing option, which sees a choice selection of these wines expertly paired with chef Johannes’s dishes. Additionally, Johanna offers a well thought through non-alcoholic pairing, made with in-house syrups, tonics, kombuchas and juices.
Chef Johannes Richter, and his wife, Johanna, received the award on Sunday evening (20 November n2022) in Cape Town. The couple, who launched the dining destination in 2017 within their family-run guesthouse, dedicated the award to their team at The LivingRoom.
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