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Cowies Hill's LivingRoom crowned top restaurant in South Africa


Cowies Hill's LivingRoom crowned top restaurant in South Africa

For many years the Shelley Residential team have been dedicated devotees of the LivingRoom at Summerhill Guest Estate. In a previous Explorer article, we pegged this fine dining experience as a 'hidden gem' and 'Cowies Hill's best-kept culinary secret'. Now that LivingRoom has won the coveted Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant of the Year Award for 2022, their secret is out, and we can proudly claim that Cowies Hill is home to the top restaurant in South Africa! They are the talk of the town, their name is on every foodie's lips, and their fame is growing throughout the country. Accolades the hard-working team thoroughly deserve.

A unique and emotional dining experience
Led by a husband and wife duo, Chef Johannes Richter and his wife Johanna, the LivingRoom's sommelier and host, the restaurant and its tight-knit team have brought Durban a sublime culinary experience that is utterly unforgettable. In the words of Eat Out Award's chief judge, Abigail Donnelly, "It is unique. There is a sense of place...and it's just the sincerity of the food. It is an emotional dining experience."

The LivingRoom follows an ethos of local sourcing and recycling - a policy that promotes zero waste. Local producers with small businesses throughout Durban and up into the Midlands provide the fresh produce for the plates. The restaurant's own garden proffers homegrown herbs. And the entire kitchen system is cyclical - with scraps recycled back into the garden through the restaurant's brood of chickens. It's sustainable, seasonable and proving to be a smashing success. 

Eat Out Restaurant of the Year Award
Nowhere is this more evident than when they scooped the top prize in this year's highly anticipated Eat Out Awards. The lavish ceremony was held on 20th November at Cape Town's swanky Grand Arena at GrandWest and emceed by celebrity chef Zola Nene and leading South African radio and tv presenter, Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp. 

A new star-system rating and a transparent judging panel were used to assess the revitalised restaurant industry. The initial 300 restaurants were evaluated on everything from the ambience and the wine list to the food. Establishments were given a rating out of 100 with a minimum score of 70 netting a single star and 80 to 90 two stars. The highly sought-after three stars were awarded to restaurants achieving a score of 90+. This process whittled down 300 hopefuls to a shortlist of 42 star-awarded restaurants.

Special awards, like the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant of the Year Award, were selected by a six-person judging panel and revealed at the awards ceremony. The panel was led by the chief judge, Abigail Donnelly, a Galliova Award-winning food writer and long-time chief judge for Eat Out. She was joined by food activist and Gourmand World Cookbook Awards prize winner Anna Trapido as well as a fellow food writer and TV personality Karen Dudley. Rounding out the expert panel were gifted sommelier Moses Magwaza (two-time winner of the Eat Out Wine Service Award), Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen and food writer, chef and plant-based pioneer Mokgadi Itsweng.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating 
Using their years of industry experience and wealth of knowledge, the judges ultimately selected LivingRoom as their 2022 Eat Out Restaurant of the Year. In response to winning, a beaming Chef Richters explained on eNCA news, "We never obviously doubted what we do... But I think we were definitely caught a little bit off guard. We thought that maybe two, three years, we'd still have to put in a lot of hard work to be where we are now."

For an unforgettable award-winning culinary experience, make sure you book a table at the LivingRoom at Summerhill Guest Estate, 9 Belvedale Rd, Cowies Hill. A tempting fare combined with a cosy, intimate setting and a new trophy proudly on display, means reservations are essential to secure your place. Call 063 529 1966 or email

Author Shelley Residential
Published 08 Dec 2022 / Views -

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