We’ve just got back from a fabulous holiday in Cape Town. It’s the second time we’ve been this year and we just absolutely love South Africa’s Mother City. When we went in March we only stayed in Cape Town but this time we chose to stay in Franschhoek for three nights to experience the beautiful winelands once again.
The first time we visited Franschhoek, a few years ago, we stayed at the luxurious The Last Word. This time we chose to stay in a cottage and booked Cottage 42 through AirBnB. The cottage was located on a quiet street and was a mere two minute walk to the main high street. It had three bedrooms, a big open plan lounge, dining area and kitchen and outdoor space with a swimming pool. It is beautifully decorated with love and care by Belinda, the owner. As we were booked to stay at the Belmond Mount Nelson in Cape Town, we enjoyed having a non-hotel experience in Franschhoek – but with all the luxury!
If you’ve ever experienced South Africa’s winelands, you will know how exceptional the food and wine is. On our first day in Franschhoek, straight off the plane (Franschhoek is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town International Airport), we arrived at Cottage 42 at around 1pm on a Saturday and took ourselves off to The Kitchen at Maison.
We sat outside facing the mountains – it’s such a beautiful view! I chose the smoked duck as a starter and my husband had the beef tartar with bone marrow. To follow, I had the lamb with plums (which was exquisite!) and my husband had the pork belly. To accompany our food we had a bottle of Morena sparkling wine, which is produced in Franschhoek on a family-run farm.
On Sunday we had a fabulous lunch at Pierneef à La Motte, the restaurant on the La Motte wine estate. I had booked in advance as their Sunday lunch is a fixed menu and very popular. We asked to sit outside and sat on the terrace, overlooking the pond.
On the menu was a choice of starters (I chose the bread soup served with beef short rib crostini and my husband had the smoked snoek rice dumplings with lentil and split pea salad), followed by sharing plates of grilled Karoo lamb shoulder, free range pork belly, new potato and quinoa salad with quail eggs, a butternut and sweet potato tart and a warm green vegetable salad. The food was exceptional!
And of course, no Sunday lunch is complete without dessert… there were two options and I chose the almond sponge with plums and an almond and plum ice-cream. My husband went for the pavlova, which had passion fruit Chantilly cream, berries and a strawberry sorbet. He promptly declared it one of the best desserts he’d ever had.
The restaurant at La Motte is named after South African artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886 – 1957) and there is a whole gallery of his artwork on the grounds so be sure to visit it after lunch.
Lunch at the wine farm restaurants is a must as you get to experience the beautiful surroundings and enjoy the fabulous weather. For dinner options in Franschhoek I recommend Ryan’s Kitchen and the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français. Be warned – you do need to book in advance. Luckily we got a table at Ryan’s Kitchen but we didn’t book in time for the Tasting Room so didn’t get to go unfortunately. It’s also worth noting that generally South African’s eat quite early. In Cape Town you won’t have a problem but in Franschhoek most restaurant’s kitchens close at 9pm.
We had an amazing time in Franschhoek, eating wonderful food, drinking lovely wine and experiencing the warm hospitality of South Africans.