Lunch at Monneaux Restaurant

Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee

Monneaux Restaurant is set in the lush gardens of the Franschhoek Country House & Villas. The tables look out onto the most magnificent surroundings which set the tone for a long lazy lunch. The husband and I were invited to experience the new menu from chef Calvin Metior who was most recently the executive sous chef at La Motte. We arrived on a beautiful sunny afternoon and were greeted with two glasses of ice cold L’Ormarins MCC.

Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee

Before I set eyes on any food my very first impression of Monneaux came from the restaurant staff. I was blown away at their friendliness and seamless service. Clifford, the restaurant manager, introduced himself to us and offered to pair each one of our courses with a local wine of his choosing. He was confident and charming and I knew we were in very good hands!

Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee
Photograph by Tasha Seccombe

The menu is divided into four parts. Snacks, small plates, mains and desserts. I love this concept as it lends itself to sharing and therefore being able to try many different things which is of course the biggest win. Kofi and Nerbert looked after us throughout the afternoon and were fabulous with suggesting what we should order and made sure our glasses were never empty.

Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee
Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee

We started off with the buttermilk fried chicken wings which were served with homemade mayo and some insanely delicious kimchi. With that we indulged in the chicken liver parfait served with chutney and flawlessly toasted brioche. The texture of the parfait was sublime. Extremely creamy and luxurious. It reminded me of foie gras on toast and there was not a morsel left. The chicken wings were juicy and crunchy and the kimchi was a refreshing bite in between the richness.

Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee
Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee

Next up on the small plates section came a beef tartare that totally rocked my world. The beef is aged and it is served with a coal emulsion, fermented garlic stems, burnt onion paste and warm ciabatta. The husband and I actually fought over this dish. It was supremely well balanced and was loaded with texture which I really appreciate in a dish. Calvin’s homemade mustard was a revelation and reason enough for me to keep going back!

With the tartare we had the local caught skipjack with sesame, lime, wasabi and avocado. This dish was light, bright and summer on a plate. And I mean look- it’s utterly gorgeous. I could eat this all summer long with a cold glass of Chenin Blanc in hand. Calvin’s plating is very delicate and incredibly beautiful. Things are meticulously placed but they remain looking natural and enticing.

Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee
Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee
Photograph by Tasha Seccombe

On the mains side of life was a perfectly cooked fillet of east coast hake with asparagus, chives and an oyster beurre blanc. I so appreciate when fish is cooked just right. It flaked apart delicately and the beurre blanc was sensational.

The honey glazed free range duck breast was served with turnip, cherry and coriander. The duck was beautifully cooked and ever so tender. Every element of each dish is so well seasoned. Calvin has tremendous respect for all of his ingredients. His focus is on seasonality, responsibly-sourced local produce and self-sustainability. He also loves making pretty much everything from scratch. He makes phenomenal kimchi, hot sauces, miso and mustard. He enjoys smoking all sorts of things in the garden and herbs and veggies have been planted all over the property so that the kitchen can have the freshest supply.

Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee
Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee

Dessert was the pièce de résistance. Calvin came out and told us he had just flipped out a spiced apple tarte tatin and it had our names on it. The tarte tatin serves two and comes with a heavenly ginger ice cream. The pastry was ever so crisp and crunched with every bite. The apples were cooked to tender perfection and the caramel was taken far enough that it wasn’t sweet and balanced out the dish perfectly. It was the most sublime end to a fabulous meal.

Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee
Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee

We are supremely grateful for the amazing spoil from Monneaux and Franschhoek Country House & Villas. I highly recommend visiting the restaurant as well as staying over at the incredibly luxurious house and villas. The accommodation is world-class and if that’s not enough to convince you there is a giant heated swimming pool with views for days that is just begging for a dip and a poolside glass of bubbles.

For reservations and enquiries, contact Monneaux on
+27 21 876 3386 or click here to book online.

Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee
Monneaux | The Secret Life of Bee

lunch at la petite colombe in Franschhoek

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Last week Friday I had the pleasure of experiencing the winter special menu at La Petite Colombe in Franschhoek. The food was exquisite. The attention to detail on every dish was inspiring. This was hands down my favourite fine dining experience in the country so far. Every single course was a celebration of its ingredients and it was evident that a lot of love and care went into each element. The winter menu is exceptionally good value for money and runs until 31 August so if you haven’t been I suggest you get yourself there with a touch of speed.

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

We were also fortunate enough to be treated to the wine pairing along with the winter menu. Andrew, the sommelier, was outstanding and the wine choices were flawless. They complimented each dish beautifully, some were old favourites while others I had never experienced before. The Saxenberg ‘Limited Release’ Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon 2011 (Stellenbosch) was a particularly delightful white blend that I am still dreaming about today.

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

It is almost impossible to pick my favourite dish. The tortellini of prawn, quail, curried hake velouté, cauliflower and coriander was as good as it gets. The textures and flavours sang together. The tiny little angel hair like wisps of fried sweet potato were a revelation. They were so good we asked one of the chefs how to make them!

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Another highlight for me was the “meet the chefs” which is a R70 supplement and you get to head to the kitchen (glass of wine in hand of course) and enjoy a surprise course right next to the pass. Ours was a play on eggs & soldiers. The soldier was toasted brioche with a foie gras filling. Let’s just say I could have eaten one hundred of those fine morsels. It was sublime!

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Another major ‘ooooh’ moment was after dessert when we received our La Petite Colombe Treasures. That little nugget of gold was something else. It was full of creamy chocolate ganache, nuts and popping candy! We were all utterly charmed and it left you with a feeling of delight and playfulness. 

Here’s a look at the utter perfection we were lucky enough to experience:

Caraway sourdough, home churned butter, sesame and roasted yeast

Môreson Solitaire Blanc de Blancs (Franschhoek)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Poached oyster, pernod, grapefruit, verjuice, dill, apple, celery

Colmant Brut Chardonnay 2006-2013 (Franschhoek)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

or

Yellowfin tuna, aubergine, miso, kalamansi, avocado

Mullineux ‘Old vines’ 2016 (Swartland)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Tortellini of prawn, quail, curried hake velouté, cauliflower, coriander

Saxenberg ‘Limited Release’ 2011 (Stellenbosch)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

“Meet the chefs”

Eggs & Soldiers

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Palate Cleanser

Blood orange sorbet

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

 

Linefish, soubise, smoked mussel, squid, endive, chorizo, creamed leeks

Rickety Bridge ‘Paulina’s Reserve’ Semillion 2015 (Franschhoek)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

or

Seared duck breast, turnip, Jerusalem artichoke, rhubarb & lavender

Haut Espoir Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Franschhoek)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Foxenberg goat’s cheese, goats milk caramel, kouign amann, guava, tamarind

Vonderling ‘Sweet Carolyn’ 2007 (Voor-Paardeberg)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

or

Valrhona Itakuja crémeux, pineapple, mango, macadamia, passionfruit, lemongrass

Thelema ‘Late Harvest’ Semillon 2014 (Stellenbosch)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

La Petite Colombe Treasures

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

It was an absolute delight eating chef, John Norris Rogers‘s carefully constructed menu. It’s not often that I leave a restaurant and immediately start thinking of when I can go back! Take advantage of this amazing winter special menu and allow your taste buds to be treated to some of the finest food in the land. The service is flawless, the setting is beautiful and it really is an all round wonderful experience.

Winter Menu:

R395 / with wine pairing R795
There is also an entire vegetarian menu so veggies there is a whole lot of deliciousness for you too.

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Thank you to the La Petite Colombe team!

 

 

Lunch at The Kitchen at Maison in Franschhoek

Maison Estate is truly a treat for the eyes.

I could definitely make a couple of these with the amount of wine I polish off
I could definitely make a couple of these with the amount of wine I polish off

 

It is just so much of everything I love. From the location and design to the interior and the food. Everything hits the spot. And that’s all before you’ve even tasted the wine! My personal favourites are the Shiraz and the Chenin Blanc. Today we went with the Shiraz as it was a tad chilly and we were all set on some meaty main courses.

These birds know what's up. Living the life.
These birds know what’s up. Living the life.

 

Homemade bread, butternut & cabbage
Homemade bread, butternut & cabbage

 

The butternut was creamy and luxurious and I am such a fun of an unusual accompaniment with table bread.

Lamb & gooseberries
Lamb & gooseberries

 

Pork (not the prettiest dish but packed with flavour)
Not the prettiest Pork dish to snap but full of flavour and excellent texture

 

Handcut chips with homemade tomato sauce & mayonnaise
Hand cut chips with homemade tomato sauce & mayonnaise

 

Chocolate cake & salted caramel with granadilla sorbet & gooseberries
Fudgy chocolate brownie like cake & salted caramel with gooseberry sorbet

 

Lunch at Foliage Restaurant in Franschhoek

IMG_3274
Charcoal roasted beetroot, turnip & fennel salad with 17 year old vinegar dressing

A few weeks ago we trekked out to Franschhoek to check out Chris Erasmus’ new place, Foliage Restaurant. It was a wonderful lunch with great food and shared with great friends. Here is a taste of what you can expect if you ever find yourself in that neck of the woods.

A real treat for the eyes and the palate. This beautifully textured beet salad was the perfect way to start the meal accompanied by a glass of bubbles. The salad was dressed with a 17 year old vinegar dressing and had flavour bursts of apple and parsley purée.

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Wild boar, pea & Parmesan croquettes

The husband never surprises me with his menu choice when we go out. If there is pork- it’s always pork, pork or more pork. It’s his favourite meat and he claims it gets a pretty bad rap here in SA. I must say I think babe is making a comeback. People are realising what a healthy clean meat it is and it does not always have to be the fatty belly that gets all the glory. We swapped out beef for pork fillet and made delicious individual wellingtons for a dinner party a few weeks ago. Anyhoo- back to THIS pork. It was like butter. Tender from top to bottom with a sensational crunch from the crackling. The pomme purée and everything in fact throughout our whole meal was seasoned ever so perfectly.

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Fenugreek roasted free-range pork belly with dandelion pomme purée & pan juices

 

Now this here cauliflower was a sneaky little number that came out of nowhere.

I would gladly become a veggie (which is saying a lot) if I could eat vegetarian food this good every day. It had a caramelised outer crust that gave way to a super creamy and luxurious interior. The Parmesan cream was swished away with eager fingers until the plate was spotlessly clean. Truly a vegetarian triumph in the kitchen. I find vegetarian food often an after thought for a lot of chefs. Not for Chris. This was carefully planned and calculated and so much love went into this dish. It is an absolute winner and was hands down my favourite main course of the day.

IMG_3278
Pan-fried cauliflower, Parmesan cream, beets & cashew nuts

Lastly but certainly not least was one for the meat lovers. The braised kudu shank boudin (sausage) was served alongside grilled springbok and a glorious hunk of roasted bone marrow. Yet again we acted as excellent dish washers and made sure the plate went back to the kitchen looking like it had never been used except for the very empty marrow bone.

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Braised kudu shank boudin, grilled springbok, roasted bone marrow, river cress, mushroom & oyster, honeybush jus

Next time, which I hope is very soon, I will make sure I run around the block a few times in between courses so that I can make some space for dessert! They sounded beyond delicious and I was unfortunately too full of wine and delicious savoury notes to venture into the sweet section. At least it is something to really look forward to!

For bookings and more information about Foliage Restaurant and its Head Chef Chris Erasmus check out their website.