Situated in the heart of the Midlands Meander and only a five minute drive from the N3 highway is Rawdon’s Estate, probably one of the oldest hospitality establishments on the Midlands. The first thing that struck me about Rawdon’s was its unique, old world charm.
Closely resembling an English country estate of a bygone era the establishment is furnished with a variety of prize antiques that create an atmosphere of class and sophistication. Walking through its numerous hallways and investigating its many nooks and crannies was an absolute delight and I especially enjoyed the countless, animated framed sketches that adorned the walls.
Although Rawdon’s is most famous for its pub, The Boars Head, where visitors from far and wide come to enjoy a pint (or two) of their favourite brew, it’s also home to a first class restaurant as I discovered when I dropped in for lunch recently.
After perusing through the menu I was tempted to request an offering of roast beef, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding (R65) but I decided to select the de-boned Berg trout, known to be a speciality and a signature dish of the Midlands, instead. Although I found the taste a little unusual I rather liked the trout (R68) which also came with a hearty helping of vegetables and a garnish of your choice. My friend Mary-Anne, who had accompanied me for the afternoon along with my mom, also had the trout. She, too, enjoyed the dish although she did feel that had she applied less of her lemon and herb butter garnish (I opted for the garlic butter), she would have enjoyed it even more.
Considering this fish already has a rather unique flavour of its own, the key to a superb tasting trout seems to be the application of as little garnish as possible. However, since this was the first time either of us had eaten trout, we weren’t aware of quite how to proceed resulting in the rather over zealous application of our respective garnishes. Oh well, as they say you live and learn in this life and I’m pretty sure that both of us will keep this in mind next time we order trout.
My mom, who had a Greek salad (R32) as a starter, opted for the roast beef, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding (which also came with a helping of vegetables) for her main course. She had nothing but good things to say about the meal, remarking that the beef was “exceptionally tender”, the potatoes “crispy and very tasty”, the Yorkshire pudding “light and fluffy”, and the veggies “nice and crunchy”.
After lunch Mary-Anne and I decided to take a leisurely stroll along Rawdons’ neatly manicured lawns. We soon ended up exploring further and were most impressed by the beautiful lake that teemed with various types of birdlife. It was certainly one of the most tranquil settings I had encountered during my travels around the Midlands and the perfect remedy to calm jangled nerves.
I really enjoyed my visit to Rawdon’s. The food was tasty and affordable, the service top notch, the atmosphere very relaxed and the hospitality first class thanks largely to the personal touch applied by senior manager George who has worked at the establishment for 52 years.
George is probably one of the friendliest souls a person is ever likely to meet and his welcoming attitude and hospitable nature made us all feel right at home. He is a credit both to Rawdon’s and the hospitality industry in general and I’m sure it won’t be long before I return to experience the good old fashioned service this popular Midlands venue has became famous for.
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Rawdon’s Contact details:
Telephone: +27 (0)33 266 6044
Physical address: Nottingham Road, Natal Midlands (off R103), KwaZulu Natal