Franschhoek attracts thousands of foodies each year who descend into the valley to eat their way through the town that boasts one of the highest concentrations of world-class restaurants in the country. One particular eatery that sets the bar high in the repertoire of culinary establishments, is Monneaux Restaurant at Franschhoek Country House & Villas.
Situated just an hour’s drive from the Mother City, in the heart of the picturesque Franschhoek Valley, is a getaway that is guaranteed to leave one feeling refreshed, revitalised and completely spoilt. Franschhoek Country House & Villas is a fivestar oasis surrounded by lush vineyards and grandiose mountain ranges, and it offers all the features and amenities of a world-class hotel. The refurbished manor house and former perfumery, dating all the way back to 1890, has an old-world French charm that is simply unmatched in its beauty. It is the perfect place to base yourself when looking to explore the Winelands, or simply to relax in a remarkably pristine, serene environment. Luxury has been expertly blended into the unspoiled natural beauty of the mountains and valleys, and the peaceful country quiet offers a blissful escape from the city.
Located within the magnificent grounds of Franschhoek Country House & Villas, Monneaux Restaurant stands proud as one of the village’s top places to wine and dine. Named after the historic building in which it has found its home, Monneaux Restaurant has been voted as one of South Africa’s Top Restaurants, and has been presented with the American Express Platinum Award for fine dining. Staying true to the authentic French charm of the establishment, the restaurant offers guests the very best in innovative, ground-breaking modern French cuisine with a twist. The food is expertly prepared using only the finest and freshest local and well-sourced ingredients, and is skilfully presented to showcase the natural flavours and mouth-watering combinations. It is no wonder Monneaux Restaurant has been referred to as a Cape culinary classic!
The menu at Monneaux Restaurant is not your typical à la carte offering. Instead, Executive Chef, Leigh Frenchman, and his team offer diners petite assiette, or “small plates” of thoughtfully curated dishes that blend ingredients together like artistry. When selecting off the menu, the chef recommends diners indulge in at least three to five of the tapas-style savoury dishes before moving on to dessert in order to maximise the taste experience. Alternatively, there is a chef ’s menu offering which represents a more traditional threeor five-course menu, with or without wine pairing. Some of the delectable offerings on the petite assiette include: Franschhoek salmon trout served with saffron mash, asparagus and a delicious caper butter sauce; crayfish thermidor, served on a bruschetta with a hearty complementary bisque; smoked octopus, set in a Japanese dashi fish stock; and gnochhi with roast butternut, mushrooms, olives, spinach and labneh.
The Something Sweet menu is equally delectable, with offerings such as: the Chef’s salted cream caramel (a must!); dark chocolate tart served with white chocolate mousse and homemade ice cream; apple tarte tatin, with vanilla ice cream and a blue cheese compote which adds a distinctive and delicious flavour; classic lemon posset – a decadent lemon cream dessert; and a fresh sorbet salad consisting of fresh fruit, meringue and berry coulis.
Guests can enjoy their lunch experience on the magnificent fountain terrace under the large imposing pepper tree, and dinner is served in the sophisticated, charming space of the dining room in the original manor house – a cosy option for chilly Winter evenings. Compliment your meal with a delicious wine from the expansive wine list, which focuses on emphasizing local wines from the Franschhoek Valley, but includes a number of other award-winning wines from South Africa and abroad. This impressive selection received a coveted Diners Club Diamond award in 2012 and continues to excite wine connoisseurs from around the globe. A glass (or bottle) of this top vino can be enjoyed in the cosy restaurant bar, or in the underground cellar, which is also available for private functions.
Monneaux Restaurant sets a high standard in the food and wine capital of the country, and it is no wonder it is rated as one of Franschhoek’s premier eateries. Even with the fierce culinary competition right on their doorstep, Chef Leigh Frenchman’s superb dishes and culinary classics with a twist stand tall and proud among their fine dining counterparts. Franschhoek Country House & Villas and the acclaimed Monneaux Restaurant are proof that sometimes all one needs are the finer things in life.
For more information on Monneaux Restaurant, visit www.monneaux.com, and for more info on Franschhoek Country House & Villas, visit www.fch.co.za.