Help­ful In­no­va­tion

SLOW Magazine - - Contents - Text: Julie Gra­ham Im­ages © Mon­neaux Restau­rant

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.

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