Conor O'Hagan Ward
2 minute read
2 Oct 2021
06:07

Wining and dining in the Midlands

Conor O'Hagan Ward

I spent a few days of R&R recently at what is certainly not the best-kept secret in the Midlands, Rawdons Hotel. My travels abroad, presently curtailed by the dreaded … and makes me see “red”, are structured around character, historic, quaint, soulful, picturesque, and peaceful. No further need I go than the rolling hills of Nottingham Road. […]

I spent a few days of R&R recently at what is certainly not the best-kept secret in the Midlands, Rawdons Hotel.

My travels abroad, presently curtailed by the dreaded … and makes me see “red”, are structured around character, historic, quaint, soulful, picturesque, and peaceful. No further need I go than the rolling hills of Nottingham Road.

South Africans are now discovering home, and that’s a good thing. Under the thatched roof of Rawdons lies the glorious history and splendour of a bygone era. Most of the luxury accommodation looks over the dams and forests. The Boars Head Pub is of course the centrepiece which, inter alia, presents an impressive array of “taps”, each presenting a novel draught beer.

“You would be fortunate if you witness the occasional “ghostly” bark of a dog directed at an inquisitive horse.”
Conor O’Hagan Ward

There are three profoundly drinkable ready mixed G&Ts in various flavours on tap as well. A brilliant choice of “grub”, way beyond “pub”, is a “must do”. This is no generic of the genuine English pub, but dare I say, is better than most that you’ll find on the “little island”.

A short 30-second stumble across a shaded leisure courtyard is The Nottingham Road Brewery, the first craft brewery in KZN, and Craft Gin centre. You can even make your own!

On your next visit, pause next to a painting on the right of the manager’s office door.

You would be fortunate if you witness the occasional “ghostly” bark of a dog directed at an inquisitive horse.

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I say no more! So I gaze over the manicured lawns across a set of sparkling dams with abundant birdlife and wonder, how far do I really need to go to find sheer nirvana. At Rawdons lurks my karma.

Take a leisurely drive on the scenic route to Howick along the Curry’s Post Road and enjoy a lunch at the best-kept secret on the Meander, the Tumble Downs Restaurant, beautifully situated among trees. The veranda is the place to “seat’ ’n eat” as you enjoy the incredible view across a conservancy where the Oribi antelope roam, not to mention the bird life.

Werner will welcome you with genuine warmth and see to it that you are served the finest meal, perchance washed down by a well-chilled Pino Grigio. There is no doubt that ambience compliments great food. Tumble Downs has it in spades. Local is better than lekker, it’s the best.

• Conor O’Hagan Ward is a retired hotelier with a penchant for wine, women and wild life.