Au revoir Restaurant Christophe!

It was sad to eat a farewell dinner at Restaurant Christophe in Stellenbosch on Friday evening, one week before the closure of this restaurant gem.  Chef and owner Christophe Dehosse was philosophical about the closure, having made the decision himself, but he does love his restaurant and I am sure he will be sad too when he serves his last dinner there next Friday evening.

Chef Christophe is taking an overseas holiday break, and then returns to the family Joostenberg Deli and restaurant, which is their ‘bread and butter’, he said.   They attract an interest mix of clients, ranging from nearby Kraaifontein to Constantia.  Chef Christophe was a Top 20 finalist for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards last year, but probably was not ‘sexy’ enough in schmoozing any of the four judges at that time.  He is a hard-working hands-on chef, who makes an extra-ordinary amount of time in going to all his client tables, and to chat to them.   He is a mine of information about other chefs, being good friends with many of them, having worked at Chamonix in Franschhoek, Au Jardin in the Vineyard Hotel, and Joostenberg.  He believes in building business one-by-one, and does not want a PR agency or bloggers’ lunches to spread the word for him.

Restaurant Christophe has an amazing four-course Winter Special at R150, and Chef Christophe was very generous in allowing one to swop from the a la carte menu.  Each course was paired with a wine recommendation, ranging in cost from R35 – R45.  We chose to drink AA Badenhort’s Secateurs Red Blend 2010, at a most reasonably priced R35 per glass.  The starter was an interesting foie gras salad, which contained celery strips, edamame beans, and snow peas, over which was drizzled a sunflower seed and walnut oil dressing.  This was served with toasted brioche.  Then came a baked goat’s cheese with cream, tomato and garlic, and everyone in the restaurant going oooo and aaaa!  

 

 

One of Chef Christophe’s signature dishes is roast pork belly, and this main course came with honey and fennel seeds, mashed potato and braised cabbage.  The crackling was delicious.  Joostenberg specialises in pork, and 150 – 200 pigs are slaughtered every week, Chef Christophe told us.  Joostenberg sells home-made stock, bread, croissants, patés, pies, cream, butter, and terrines, as well as home-made meals.   The meal ended with a classic Apple Tart Tatin, served with a thin vanilla sauce.

We say Au Revoir to Restaurant Christophe and its team, and wish Chef Christophe all the best in his original home at Joostenberg.

Restaurant Christophe, Van Reyneveld Street, Stellenbosch.  Tel (021) 886-8763

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

5 replies on “Au revoir Restaurant Christophe!”

  1. suzanne says:

    Sad news about Christophe closing restaurant – he is a brilliiant chef and a wonderful person. Will look forward to seeing him back at joostenberg

  2. Tom Robbins says:

    How sad – a brilliant chef with a charming and informative table-side manner. Hard to know why he wasn’t better supported. Was it the location,no PR or the X-factor?

    Joostenberg Deli’s gain. I will be returning there when he’s back behind the stove.

  3. I agree Tom.

    Stellenbosch is not an easy town for a restaurant, dominated by thousands of students, who would not necessarily have eaten there. It has also become very competitive, with four Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants (Rust en Vrede, Overture, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, and Terroir), new Casparus, new Tokara, and Delaire Graff all competing for the Stellenbosch residents’ Rands, which must be diminishing, due to the recession.

    Joostenberg does not have the charm that Chef Christophe’s Skuinshuis restaurant has. I am sad to see it go.

    Chris

  4. Alton van Biljon says:

    It is always sad to see a restaurant close, but unfortunately a reality in these times. Restaurants can no longer rely on serving good food – it takes more to build a following and definitely agree on building it one customer at a time. But we also need ppl to get out there and try new & exciting restaurants – unfortunately too many diners never venture out.

  5. I agree Alton.

    Many restaurant patrons go to their ‘comfort zone’, always going back to their favourites, instead of trying new restaurants.

    Chris

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