It’s not often that one can say, “Where have you been all my life?” especially when it comes to a restaurant, but every now and then it does happen. One of these delightful surprises is Orangerie Restaurant at Le Lude in Franschhoek.
Words by Greg Landman. Photographs by Jaco Voges.
Here Chef Nicolene Barrow is turning out some of the most honest food in a town that often goes for tricky gourmet meals whenever it can.
She worked at Le Gavroche in London, one of the best there for classic French cuisine and has the deft touch absolutely essential in this type of kitchen. The duck liver parfait is a marvel of lightness served with apple chutney, warm brioche toast and tiny apple spears adding nice tartness to this very rich starter. A superb gruyere soufflé is served on a bed of spinach and baby peas with a light cream sauce, perfection, while the sugar cured Franschhoek salmon trout with cucumber, spring onion and a light ponzu dressing is a great way to rejuvenate any lazy taste buds.
One of the mains is crispy skinned chicken breast stuffed with tarragon chicken mousse and served with a potato bake sliced so thinly it is a miracle of lightness. Mains also feature ginger glazed pork belly and Peking duck breast with a delicious fresh plum sauce.
If you can resist the superb hot raspberry soufflé served with rich French vanilla ice cream, you are strong indeed.
The room looks out onto a small garden and the distant Franschhoek Mountains—service is smooth and knowledgeable –and the wine list features the famous Le Lude bubbly and some well-priced examples from their Baccarat label, as well as others from this area.
If you haven’t been yet do go. They will be closed for the month of August for renovations and will re-open at the beginning of September—do not miss it.
PHONE 021 100 3464
As the wine writer for Country Life magazine for the last 15 years, Greg has met and interviewed more than 150 of the country’s top wine makers. His articles offer unique insights into where to eat, what to drink, and where to go all over the Western Cape. With his dining companion Beryl Ormsby Browne, he has also reviewed more than 60 country restaurants for the magazine and has been a reviewer for the prestigious Eat Out Guide for 12 years. His passion for everything the winelands has to offer has led him into the world of wine tours. To find out more, visit his website Magic Grape Tours.