I’ve never been to Switzerland, but I got the chance to experience just a taste of what that might be like when I visited Gunthers on the Midlands Meander recently. Gunther’s is not really a restaurant in the traditional sense, serving only light meals of German / Swiss sausages washed down with your favourite draft or glass of wine, but even without a formal menu it certainly is a venue that has a lot to offer.
The secret to its success is the hands on approach adopted by owner Gunther Janz, a man who clearly has a passion for the hospitality industry and a love for traditional German / Swiss cuisine. Born in Switzerland, Gunther moved to South Africa at a young age and quickly fell in love with its stunning, natural beauty. He decided to stay and, together with his wife Carmen, established Gunther’s some years ago.
Billed as ‘a little piece of Switzerland in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands’ Gunther could not have picked a more beautiful spot for his beloved creation. Situated high on a hill overlooking the perennially majestic Caversham Valley, Gunther’s resembles a setting straight out of the pages of an international travel catalogue and in the winter months, where snowfall is common in the Midlands, it certainly must be an awesome sight to behold.
Gunther’s even sports a pair of huge St Bernard’s, aptly named Hansel and Gretel, which make their home on the establishment’s lush, green lawns. The huge hounds are obviously very used to people as they hardly made an effort to greet us as we strode towards the ‘restaurants’ entrance, but they still made for quite an attraction and if I had the money and the space I’d probably consider getting myself one of these gentle giants. There is just something so adorable about them.
Upon learning that a menu wasn’t available, I asked Gunther what he had to offer. Ever the gentleman, he encouraged me and the rest of my lunch party to make our way to the serving counter where we sampled some of the fine German / Swiss sausages that were on offer.
After careful consideration I selected the Schueblig sausage (R55), a herb flavoured pork and beef combination that is a firm favourite in the north east of Switzerland. Served with a helping of fried onions and a large, crispy roll it was truly delicious.
Seldom have I enjoyed a better meal for that kind of money and it soon became apparent that when it comes to sausages, Gunther is certainly a man who knows his stuff. My friend Craig, who had accompanied me and my good friend Mary-Anne for the afternoon along with his wife Tandy and their four children, also opted for the Schueblig sausage and was similarly impressed with his findings.
His only quibble was that the meal was a tad pricy (a view with which I most certainly cannot concur given my findings on the Midlands during the course of this past year) and that the venue was ‘not family orientated’ given the lack of a jumping castle or a jungle gym to keep the kids busy.
Mary-Anne decided that a Bratwurst sausage (R55) would be more to her liking and she certainly wasn’t disappointed with her choice, giving it the thumbs up in every department. In addition to enjoying her meal she liked the “relaxed and friendly atmosphere” and stated that a return visit was “an absolute must.”
Tandy also opted for the Bratwurst sausage and expressed similar sentiments regarding both her meal and the venue itself. “The sausage was very tasty and I really liked the potato although I didn’t care much for the Sauerkraut (a R17.50 side order which we shared among the four of us). All in all it was an enjoyable experience and I would definitely come back given the unusual cuisine and friendly atmosphere,” she remarked.
After settling my bill and bidding Gunther farewell, I had plenty of time to reflect on my experiences and can most certainly concur that Gunther’s is indeed a venue well worth a visit. The service was first class, the atmosphere relaxed, the scenery most beautiful, the cuisine tasty (albeit a little unusual) and the hospitality some of the best you’re ever likely to encounter on the Midlands. My only reservation though is that Gunther’s is not a venue for vegetarians given the lack of options available for non meat eaters.
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Gunthers Contact details:
Tel: +27 (0)83 600-0923
Physical address: Caversham Cottage, Caversham Valley, Kwazulu-Natal Midlands