The LivingRoom – Summerhill Guest Estate

The LivingRoom, located in the Summerhill Guest Estate in Kwa-Zulu Natal, is an award-winning restaurant that offers a fine-dining experience with exceptional food, premium wines, and impeccable hospitality. Chef Johannes Richter showcases the province’s culinary diversity from garden to plate, combining his French training and passion for Asian techniques.

Summer Hill Guest Farm

Summer Hill Guest Farm

Food & Wine Pairings

Johannes’s wife and co-owner, Johanna – front-of-house manager and Lady of Wine – oversees the extensive wine program, which offers a well-considered and comprehensive list of premium South African wines. The LivingRoom’s five and seven-course menus are both available with wine pairings, which sees a choice selection of these wines expertly paired with Chef Johannes’s dishes. Additionally, Johanna offers a non-alcoholic pairing, containing house-made syrups, kombucha, juices, and tonics made in-house.

Greeting of bread, beans & tomato.

Greeting of bread, beans & tomato

The Wine List

Johanna compiles the wine list and says: “The wine list is adjusted when we find a wine that fits into our portfolio and matches our ethos and philosophy. Some additions are vintage specific, some variety specific and some are simply because we are super excited, we found them. Our focus is, as with produce in the kitchen, on local wines and spirits. There is such a wonderful variety in styles, that we love to showcase. South Africa very often underestimates itself, especially on wines and spirits.”

5 & 7 course wine parings are available

Five and seven-course menus are both available with wine pairings

A Shared Passion

Our wine list focuses on smaller winemakers and producers, especially those that have the same passion and share The LivingRoom’s thoughts on sustainability and are conscious of the ecological footprint they leave. The LivingRoom hosts winemaker dinners on special occasions. Chef Johannes, Johanna and the winemaker are all instrumental in pairing the food with the wines showcased on the wine dinner evening.

Chef Johannes Richter

Chef Johannes Richter

The Diversity of South African Wine

“As soon as Chef Johannes creates a new dish, we taste through the components and pair them with different wines. We try to enhance the flavors of the dish and the wines and see how we can showcase not only the food, but the specific wines paired with the dishes. Preferably we will pair with wines that you won’t drink daily and also favor wines that might be different or a bit funky.

“Our main objective is to showcase Durban and South Africa from a culinary point of view. Therefore, our wine offering plays an important role in portraying the diversity of South African wines and pairing them with our local produce.”

co-owner, Johanna - front-of-house manager and Lady of Wine

Co-owner, Johanna – front-of-house manager and Lady of Wine

An Exquisite Portfolio

They currently have more than 200 wines on their wine list. The rarest vintages include the Waterford Estate The Jem 2014 and the Sadie Family Wine Columella 2019.

Some of the wines you can enjoy include: Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc and Beaumont’s Hope Marguerite on the whites, while the reds offer up the likes of Haute Cabriere Unwooded Pinot Noir, Waterford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Sijnn Red. Buy these wines here.

The wine list is carefully curated to complemented each seasonal dish

The wine list is carefully curated to complement each seasonal dish

Restaurant Of The Year

The LivingRoom opened in 2017 and was awarded the 2022 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant of the Year in November 2022. The LivingRoom at Summerhill was also awarded three stars at the event – one of five restaurants in the country to do so. The couple, who launched the dining destination in 2017 in their family-run guesthouse, dedicated the award to their team at The LivingRoom.

The LivingRoom team

The LivingRoom team

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. Read more about Salsify at the Roundhouse here.

Sustainability & Seasonality

Sustainability and seasonality are at the core of all they do at The LivingRoom. The multi-course menu is driven by a hyper-seasonal and endemic approach to cooking, using locally sourced ingredients with a strong focus on sustainability and ethical farming practices. The menu undergoes complete changes every two months in line with seasonality, with the majority of the produce used either from their own gardens or carefully sourced local suppliers.

Seasonal ingredients are always top of the menu with food and wine

The menu undergoes complete changes every two months in line with seasonality

Summerhill Guest Estate

Summerhill Guest Estate is family-owned and run and offers a unique location between Natal’s Midlands and coastline, making it the ideal home-away-from-home for the corporate traveler, while also offering leisure travelers the opportunity to escape from the city.

Sipho Gumede junior suite

Sipho Gumede junior suite

Boasting spacious and elegant en-suite bedrooms together with lush green park-like gardens, the estate is a tranquil, calm and reinvigorating environment. Each room has been uniquely decorated and is named after a South African Jazz musician, who has played and stayed at Summerhill Guest Estate.

The LivingRoom’s Spanspek Melon Gazpacho

The LivingRoom’s Spanspek Melon Gazpacho is the perfect accompaniment for the Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc.

Spanspek melon gazpacho

Spanspek melon gazpacho


1 ripe spanspek (melon)

One salad cucumber

2 limes

150 g cashew butter

100 ml olive oil

One red Chili

One tablespoon roasted fennel seeds




Fresh basil


Hard Cheese

1 ripe spanspek (halved and balled)


Juice the spanspek (melon) and cucumber and zest and juice the limes. Crush the roasted fennel seeds.

Blend spanspek and cucumber together with lime juice, lime zest, chili, cashew butter and fennel seeds. Emulsify with olive oil and season with salt and sugar.

Strain and serve chilled.

Garnish with balled spanspek, fresh basil, rocket and hard cheese shavings.

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An aerial view of the estate

An aerial view of the estate

BY Maryke Roberts | May 12, 2023

Maryke is an award-winning, Cape Winelands based journalist who has been writing about local and international wine and travel for over three decades. When she's home, her days are almost exclusively concluded with a walk on the beach and a glass of South African fine wine or spirits.

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