Last week I spent two days in Franschhoek for a catch-up visit, after not having been to this lovely village known for its eateries and good wines in eight months. From having heard that the village was so quiet, and that many restaurants had closed down, I was pleasantly surprised to find the village bursting with excitement about new restaurants about to open in October, and later this year. I could not resist eating at Orangerie at Le Lude, what to me is one of Franschhoek’s best restaurants.
I met with Chefs Darren Badenhorst and Ryan Shell, having heard about the new Oku restaurant opening on 14 October, and learnt that between the two of them they are opening two new restaurants (Oku and Yama Sushi Emporium), and Chef Darren taking over Tuk Tuk as well as the food and beverage operation at Leeu House. An even bigger project is planned, but still under wraps. The details are below:
I took a walk down the main road of the village, and drove past some wine estates and popped in there, finding the following:
#. Boschendal Deli: I met Linda Louise Roosenschoon for lunch at the Deli, and we sat outside under the trees, loving the peacefulness of this restaurant, offering an interesting range of dishes, Linda ordering a Falafel salad and I a smashed avo on toast with poached egg, finished off with a classic ice cream and chocolate sauce. The service from Amanda was very good and proactive. I saw Morné Wessels for the first since he moved to the wine estate as its Food & Beverage Manager, and met Patrick Stout-Sheard, the brand new Retail Manager of the Estate, previously GM of Weylandts Green Point. I had to walk through their new Deli shop, which sells biltong, droë wors, and other meats, beverages, interior decor items, cheeses, and cakes and more treats. Well-known Paul Duncan curated the decor items and Petro Blommaert the food and beverage offering. Both were in the shop when I visited it. A must-visit.
#. Grande Provence The wine estate has opened a Deli too, with preserves, olive products, cheeses (sadly no Dalewood Fromage), beverages, cakes and sweet treats, flowers, and decor items. The service from the cashier was extremely poor, and the credit card machine did not work, despite it being a ‘Cashless Estate’, according to its website! The Restaurant offers Dinner from Friday’s to Sundays, and Lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
#. Place Vendome : In this centre at the entrance to Franschhoek the Good Food & Co has been keeping going, with a loyal local following, and consistent marketing presence. It is to get two neighbours: Fork (moving from Cape Town) is taking over the Beleef space, which has been standing empty for about two years) while the former Ziggy clothes shop space is to become an Indian restaurant, a former male chef of the former Marigold opening here.
#. Tapasco has opened where The Village Tart used to be, serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
#. Entrée Restaurant has opened next to Terbodore on the outskirts of the village, in a building which housed Village Grill & Butcher, and is owned by Chefs Archie and Dominique, previously of Café BonBon. Serve Lunch and Dinner Monday to Saturday, and Lunch on Sunday.
# Hussar Grill: Temporarily closed.
# Woolworths WCafé: Temporarily closed
# Epice is temporarily closed until the La Colombe restaurants have rearranged themselves in Franschhoek (see below):
Existing restaurants are open and operating as follows:
La Petite Colombe: The restaurant is based in Le Quartier Français currently, but is to move to Leeu Estates in November, opening there in a stand-alone building on 6 November. Lunch Thursday to Sunday, Dinner Wednesday to Sunday. Epice will move into the current La Petite Colombe space after the latter’s move to Leeu Estates.
Protégé : Serve Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner – operating days of the week not on the website, and the phone call to enquire was cut off!
Le Coin Français: Currently serves Lunch Friday to Sunday, and Dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
Le Chêne: Based inside the Leeu Estates Hotel, the restaurant will reopen as soon as the Hotel reopens later this year.
Arkeste: Chef Richard Carstens’ restaurant is open for lunch from Thursday to Sunday, and for dinner from Thursday to Saturday.
Pierneef a La Motte: Open Thursdays to Sundays.
Leopards Leap Rotisserie Restaurant: Open for Lunch Thursdays to Sundays
Le Petite Manoir: Breakfast Tuesday to Sunday. Lunch Tuesday to Sunday. Dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
Chefs Warehouse at Maison: Open Friday to Sunday.
Roca: Open Daily except Wednesdays
Marilyn’s: Open Daily except Wednesdays
Bovine: Open Thursdays – Mondays
French Connection Bistro: Open Daily for Lunch and Dinner.
Reuben’s: Open Daily for Lunch and Dinner
Foliage : Open for Lunch and Dinner from Wednesdays. No further details on the website.
Orangerie at Le Lude: Open for Lunch from Tuesday to Sunday. The restaurant was the busiest that I have ever experienced it since its opening. What a treat to be recognised by its Manager Jacobus Lochner, with mask and all, and my last visit being about two years ago. What lovely news to hear of Chef Nicolene Barrow’s engagement, and I had a few minutes with the radiant chef, looking transformed. I ordered the Special, the sirloin steak served with Café de Paris butter, fine onion rings creatively presented on top of a green salad with vinaigrette, aioli, thin fries presented in a copper pot, and mustard, at R165. The dessert treat was a scoop each of home-made vanilla and dark chocolate ice-cream. The service was impeccable, the waitress refilling my water glass regularly, it being a very hot day on Thursday.
There is definitely no shortage of fine, good, and casual dining opportunities in Franschhoek, with exciting new restaurants to look forward to too.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide, CAMPS BAY CLEAN. Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide
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