By Greg Landman. Photographs by Claire Gunn
Absolutely determined not to have anything French on the menu, this charming place manages to be something different in the so called dining capital of the Western Cape.
Nevertheless, so pervasive is the French influence in the culinary world that things like torchon, fillet and brûlée are inescapable. The outside courtyard is just the place to be when the weather is fine to take in the strollers who always make people watching one of the best sports in Franschhoek. When things change, the interior is cosy and the fabulous smells coming from the kitchen are enough to whet the most resistant appetite.
The bean soup with truffle nuances is fabulous, as is the mushroom risotto (wild and cultivated). The beef fillet tartare is correctly chopped and not shredded as some will try to do, and the West Coast mussels steamed in Cape Malay curry (R90)—when they can get them—are not to be missed.
Mains of sesame crusted and seared tuna with pineapple, cucumber , and smoked mussel salad with a superb chili, coriander, and lime dressing (R195) and Rendang curry braised pulled pork with homemade noodles are deliciously different.
The deep fried milk tart is an over the top rich way to end, or, if you want something fresh and tart, try the strawberry sundae with lemon ice cream to pucker up those overused taste buds. If all this is not to your liking they have great hamburgers and excellent steaks with the usual trimmings for the resolutely carnivorous.
The wine list is more than adequate and the corkage fee is reasonable enough for you to take your own if you would prefer.
Dutch East can be found at 42 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek. Phone: 021 876 3547