La Popote Restaurant in Hilton – a little oasis of peace and tranquillity in the Midlands
The quaint little village of Hilton in the Natal Midlands is a pleasure to visit no matter what time of the year. The crisp, clean air is always refreshing and with a number of quality eateries to choose from, you are almost always guaranteed to find the perfect venue to tickle your taste buds.
La Popote Restaurant, situated amidst the beauty and tranquillity of Sue Tarr’s Summerhouse, is without a doubt one of the best eateries in the area as I found out when some friends and I popped in for Sunday lunch recently. Although more of a tea garden than a restaurant, La Popote offers a range of cuisine catering for most palates.
To ensure variety the menu changes regularly and upon learning that all meals, desserts and drinks are prepared on site I promptly ordered a home made ginger ale (R18). It was exceptionally refreshing, not to sweet yet full of flavour and just what I needed to quench my thirst.
I opted for the Bobotie (a local dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping) as a main course which was served in a mug and came with a helping of salad and vegetables. Although the presentation was rather unusual, I really enjoyed the dish. It was rather tasty, not over spicy (although it did have a bit of a zing to it) and hit the spot perfectly. The veggies were delicious too, and the salad tasty and crispy.
My mom also had the Bobotie and was equally impressed with her findings, remarking that the mince was “fine and tender making for a truly fantastic meal.” Not only was the Bobotie top notch in terms of quality and taste, it was also reasonably affordable. Dining out these days is generally quite an expensive undertaking but the good news is that this dish costs just R60 – not too shabby when you consider what that will buy you at a similar establishment.
Peta-Anne selected the savoury cheesecake which consisted of spinach, mushroom, onion and blue cheese accompanied by a helping of avocado salad. Although most definitely a dish I would not have chosen given my dislike for blue cheese, we all have our preferences and Peta-Anne really loved the dish, remarking that it was “delicious, not too salty and tastefully presented.”
While there’s no doubt that she really enjoyed her savoury cheesecake, I noticed that Peta-Anne’s portion was rather small. Had it been more substantial I would have given it a thumbs up in terms of value for money, but at R55 it most certainly wasn’t cheap. For that kind of money I would have expected a bigger portion, after all country cafés are known for offering larger portions than that of their city counterparts.
Mary-Anne opted for the parmesan and lemon chicken, a rather unusual combination to say the least but certainly an interesting one. She was most impressed with her dish, describing the chicken as “succulent” and the vegetables as being “full of flavour and rather tasty.” On this occasion the portion was thankfully more than adequate equating to a value for money meal that would be pretty hard to beat just about anywhere.
For dessert both Mary-Anne and I had the carrot cake (R25), which was outrageously delicious and exceptionally well-presented. I especially enjoyed the way my plate was drizzled with a ‘snow like’ decoration which spoke volumes for the exceptional care La Popote take in presenting their meals.
My mom decided that the chocolate fondant cake with berry coulis (R25) would be more to her liking and judging by her comments it certainly proved to be a good choice. She described it as “delicious and decadently rich” and something she’d “definitely try again.”
A few quibbles aside I was most impressed with my findings at La Popote Restaurant. The food was tasty and well-presented, the service good and the atmosphere very uplifting. But what I liked most about this venue was the beautiful and intimate setting of Sue Tarr’s Summerhouse – a nursery par excellence and a place where you can get just about anything for your home or garden.
So if you are feeling stressed out and need a break or if you just feel like enjoying a leisurely lunch amidst the greenery and tranquillity of nature then La Popote is the perfect place for you. It’s a little oasis of peace and harmony that everyone touring the Midlands should visit at least one. I thoroughly recommend it.
La Popote Restaurant Contact details:
Tel: +27 (0)33 343 2352
Physical address: Folly Hill, Dennis Shepstone Drive, Hilton, Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal.