Given the beautiful sunny and rainless 24C October days, a daytrip out to the winelands was a must. The options were between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. In the end the reviews online sounded like Stellenbosch is a working town and not so special, whereas Franschhoek is a (potentially artificial) tourist village created but still with French charm.
Franschhoek won in the end for this French vineyard, selected mainly because the food is meant to be good (and the wine was probably alright too). The setting is beautiful with the windows opening onto a lush lawn with peacock roaming around, and the grape trees lining the foreground before the mountains filled the background. Spectacular.
The wine was ok (I can’t really tell), but the local brewed cider was very minimally alcoholic. 3 apples per bottle of cider it said. Nice I guess.
Food was 2 courses for R375 (or 3 for R440 but we were stuffed after 2).
Some too old white bread was served alongside some much fresher seeded bread, basil pesto and a very grassy EVOO but the balsamic was too deeply at the bottom.
- Prawn cocktail (La Petite Ferme heritage dish) – perfectly cooked and slightly crisp coated red velvet and Kuro ash crumbed tiger prawns. Served with Marie Rose espuma, heirloom tomato flakes, crispy mint, pickled cucumbers, micro cos lettuce, lemon pearls;
- Duo of pate – 3 pieces of black garlic-infused ciabatta toast (couldn’t really detect the garlic) with cured snoek pate and trout caviar on the sides and smoked Franschhoek trout with black caviar on the middle one. Topped with rocket pesto and Viking salted chips, and a smear of lemon curd jelly on the plate.
- Heritage lamb – slow-braised then pulled, compressed and panfried lamb tagine (quite good, maybe a little more seasoning), charcoal mash (a bit plain), white asparagus (which I think was actually just normal asparagus – nothing white about those on the plate), biltong dust micro peas (tasted like peas) and mint yoghurt gel;
- Duck 6 ways – crispy confit duck leg, duck liver parfait wontons (tasting as expected of foie gras), seared duck breast (meant to be medium-rare but served closer to medium-well sadly), duck pastrami, edamame beans, grilled bok choy, duck jus gras.
- Side of braai corn R – grilled corn. Nice and simple. Nothing too unique. I guess is braai is just the local word of describing it.
Overall a lovely setting a bit further out from Franschhoek centre itself. The food was overall good although the menu ingredients made it sound a bit too complicated and certainly some of the flavours weren’t discernible. Nonetheless nice.