ANDREA ABBOTT finds tasty morsels in the KZN Midlands
The Farmer’s Daughter Kitchen, Tweedie
It was a grey, cold day. Eishkom was behaving badly. We left home during a bout of load shedding and arrived to the same in Howick. We’d arranged to take Mother to lunch but she was pessimistic. “No point in going out to eat.” We went anyway.
At the quirky Farmer’s Daughter, the ethos is about freshness – all the ingredients sourced locally, some grown on site. Despite the blackout, the place was chock-a-block, everyone indoors on account of the weather. Candles generated soft light and a guitarist strummed away. Anticipating a sandwiches-only lunch, we were amazed that just about everything on the menu was available. Everything except for coffee, the machine standing as idle as an Eskom power station.
Mother chose Chinese Quack – a huge marinated Chinese salad with toasted cashews and crispy duck (R65). John, who is from Dorset, England, recited a line from an old West Country song:
“A man’s best friend is his duck.” Undeterred, Mother relished her fowl but couldn’t eat it all and took half home for supper. Good planning – there was another outage that night.
John had the Spencer Burger – a Moroccan-spiced lamb burger with beetroot chutney, double Greek tzatziki, house salad and shoestring fries (R65). It was presented attractively on a board, the chips in an enamel mug, and the salad in a glass jar. John wasn’t madly impressed but couldn’t say why.
The Ladies Who Lunch Favourite (R65) intrigued me. The black cherry and Brie tart served with baby greens and goats cheese was nice enough, but the pastry was a bit stodgy, which proves you can’t choose a tart by her name.
For dessert, John had lemon meringue pie (R30) that, to his amusement, also came in a glass jar. No complaints this time. I got the choc fix I needed from chocolate brownies with double cream (R30). A pity the power was still out; a cappuccino would have been the ideal complement. Mother ordered the High Tea Scone (R20); I suppose it almost was tea time by then. It was a hit, and Mother loved the presentation: everything on a board, the butter, jam and a big pile of cream in dainty containers.
The staff coped admirably without power, and despite our minor grumbles, the food was good and the ambience charming.