Le Quartier Français has closed its Bistro iCi, which it opened six years ago, and has turned the informal dining room into a new one, called The Common Room, opening four days ago. The new no-reservations restaurant is a relaxed and informal one, and will serve tapas-style food, described as “food to share”.
“The Common Room, the latest addition to the exceptional Le Quartier Français culinary experience, offers diners a menu packed full of lip smacking delights designed by Margot Janse to serve as snacks or the building blocks of a more substantial meal. Margot, in creating this new experience says “Food is constantly evolving and changing and people enjoy food at different times. We have created a menu that will encourage people to chill out, taste, share and enjoy good times in great company. Being aware that not every meal has to be a “huge spend” we have kept the prices small and the idea is to share with friends” Fish pops with chakalaka ketchup, bone marrow with salsa verde crust, chocolate and milk ice cream sandwich, are just a few of the WOW-bites on offer”, says the announcement on the Franschhoek Wine Valley and Tourism Association website.
The menu follows below:
cup a soup 20
avocado / grapefruit / salted macadamia salad 30
little caesar 25
risotto / wild mushrooms / buffalo labne 45
grilled vegetables / aioli 25
chickpeas / chorizo / mint 20
fried parmesan gnocchi / spiced brinjal / swiss chard 30
chilli mieliemeal & chevre puffs 20
free range beef tartar 35
flat koek / lamb frikadelletjies / raita 40
springbok bitterballen / apple mustard 20
neil’s saucisson sec / pickles 35
duck rillette / crostini / butternut marmalade 35
chicken liver parfait / salted plum / corn bread 30
artichoke flan / broad beans / bacon / broccoli /
pine nut crumble 35
big bay oysters / each 15
prawn toast 20
grilled squid / preserved lime / smoked paprika / coriander 30
fish pops / chakalaka ketchup 40
mini salmon cakes / rough tartar sauce 40
saldanha bay mussels / mcc / five herbs 40
from the wood oven
warm roasted olives 25
roasted sweetcorn / smoked butter 20
little pan pizza / home made cheese / smoked tomato /
dalewood camembert / soldiers 30
butter roasted mozambican prawns / common sprinkle 55
crispy smoked pork riblets / garlic 55
chicken or beef?
whole wood roasted free range chicken / gravy 135
four hundred grams free range botswana beef fillet / buchu bÃ©arnaise 155
hand cut chips 20
roast potatoes 20
smoked mash 25
chocolate and milk ice cream sandwich 35
fried custard / vanilla ice cream / salted caramel 30
self saucing white chocolate and granadilla pudding 35
sticky bun ice cream / sugared almonds 20
“Occupying the space previously used by iCi, Le Quartier Français’s, bistro-style restaurant, The Common Room is poised to become Franschhoek’s favourite foodie hangout; the perfect place to relax and linger with friends over a tasty dish or two, the local grazing ground. Here guests can meet up for drinks and snacks or pop in, sans reservation, for a scrumptious breakfast, lunch or dinner. In a truly delightful twist The Common Room has a strict no-reservations policy. This ensures that it is refreshingly first-come first-serve in its attitude towards guests and great cocktails can be enjoyed while waiting for a table”. A stated rule on the menu is “No reservations, no whining, no swearing”, and the pay-off line for the restaurant is “Local grazing ground”.
“The decor is plush without being overwhelming, and in true Le Quartier Français style it is supremely comfortable. The Common Room themed elements add depth and humour to the experience. The Common Room combines the best ingredients, in both its menu and décor, to create another mouthwatering dining experience at Le Quartier Français.” The decor has been changed, and consists of owner Susan Huxter’s favourite colours, being turquoise, orange and pink.
NOTE: I will not be able to write a review about The Common Room myself, as I have been barred by the owner of Le Quartier Français, Susan Huxter, from all her and related businesses, on the grounds of a harmless remark of feedback made about the declining value for money of the iCi Bistro to one of her staff three years ago. She admitted in her letter that she was unable to meet my high service standards, and therefore thought it better to ban me from eating and shopping, and from seeing movies, there! She has employed a bouncer to make sure that I and others on her banned list do not enter her establishment.
The Common Room, Le Quartier Français. Huguenot Road, Franschhoek. tel (021) 876-2151. www.lqf.co.za (The Le Quartier Français website surprisingly does not contain any details of The Common Room). Mondays – Sundays, 7h30 to 22h00.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com