Paula Mackenzie and Jackie Cameron at the Eat Out Awards 2010
THE CRITICS HAVE SPOKEN
Hail Hartford, national Top Ten Restaurant again. Two months ago, this little hostelry was voted the nation's choice by the South African public in the face of competition from two "World Top Fifties". On Sunday evening Eat Out celebrated the critic's "Top Ten" at a gala function in Cape Town. David Higgs' Rust en Vrede took top spot in both the restaurant and best chef categories, while Hartford House was the only KwaZulu Natal-based restaurant counted in the top ten. Notable absentees in what is an increasingly competitive line-up, include last year's winners, Le Colombe and Mosaic as well as the quite exceptional Green House. Considering the remoteness of our location, this is a signal achievement for Jackie Cameron, her sous chef, Elaine Boshoff and their kitchen crew, but it isn't a matter alone of where we are, it's what we are. It is a victory for our social consciences, a message to the world of what's possible in what might have seemed impossible circumstances. Your patronage and encouragement has revealed a new world to a community of people who never knew life beyond Mooi River before, to our service staff, the scullery team and even our gardeners. To Paula Mackenzie who's God given talent picks the wines, and to her fellow managers Scott Morgan and Emma Stephenson.
You see Hartford is different. It is different because it is not just about the cuisine; it's the only member of the Top Ten that combines a world class restaurant with a matching accommodation establishment. It's both a cultural and a philosophical experience, where luxury is part of the journey, but it isn't the destination. A place without pretence, yet comfortable beyond imagination.