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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.