LOOK: Top SA restaurant’s new menu is a celebration of KwaZulu-Natal’s winter produce

Guinea fowl. Picture: Supplied

Guinea fowl. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 12, 2023


Winter is in full swing! This time of the year is the best time to get your favourite winter dishes in a restaurant or cafe.

People love to experience a change in everything and food is among their favourites. Winter is the most beautiful season and people crave warm and spicy food.

But at the same time, it is the season when you feel more hungry and your body requires more energy to cope with the freezing cold.

Also, winter brings cold, cough, fever and other common symptoms that can be easily avoided with a balanced diet.

If you are looking to dine out and indulge in comfort food, one of South Africa’s favourite restaurants The LivingRoom at Summerhill Guest Estate has recently unveiled its winter menu, which showcases the best winter produce its home province of KwaZulu-Natal has to offer.

The restaurant won the coveted Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant of the Year Award for 2022.

Co-owner and head chef Johannes Richter showcases the province’s culinary diversity from garden to plate, expressed through his fine French training and passion for Asian techniques.

Richter said their dishes are predominantly based on three ingredients, there’s no room to hide and every element has to shine.

“This only works with quality produce and having like-minded suppliers. We strive to treat our suppliers well and pay properly, ensuring a sustainable model where as we grow, they can grow with us,” he said.

Pumpkin. Picture: Supplied

For the first course, there is the golden nugget pumpkin farmed by husband-and-wife duo Dion and Chisomo Bean on their permaculture farm up in Howick.

The gourd is served in numerous forms and textures. Some are roasted off and glazed in miso and rolled in pumpkin seeds before being topped with raw marinated pumpkin for contrasting crunch.

Then there’s the pickle, purée and mousse which offers up flavours of pumpkin spices the likes of fennel, piment and cinnamon.

Guinea fowl. Picture: Supplied

Then there is the guinea fowl, the free-range and organic poultry from a local hunter sourced from maize fields up in Estcourt. The bird is broken down, ensuring as much of it is used as possible, mitigating waste.

What is not portioned and braised is minced. The mince and liver are used to make dumpling sausages glazed in a jus of Natal coastal plums.

These are then served together with textures of green banana - grown on the estate - together with dehydrated cherries preserved from the summer season.

Aubergine. Picture: Supplied

On the side is a textured and tender terrine made using the slow-braised guinea fowl, once again accompanied by green banana – here as a mousse and chips, candied coastal plum and freshly picked herbs.

When it comes to winter produce, one of the chef’s most coveted locally sourced ingredients is no doubt the black winter truffles, sourced from Willowdale Truffles in the Southern Drakensberg.

And while not in season just yet, the chef promises that they will be a special feature on the menu as it evolves and that they will be used generously.

If you are also looking at dining at a cosy restaurant with a fireplace, you can check out these Cape Town-based restaurants that make for the perfect winter’s dining destination.

You can read the latest Food digimag here.