Some friendships are forged over wine, some over movies, other over shared enemies. Lisa and my friendship was forged over gummy cornflour bread and rock hard chocolate samhain cookies, black sambucca, and bonfires in the garden.
Over 20 years we have wafted in and out of each other’s lives depending on our careers, where we were in the world and what our lives looked like. There was a time when I worked for a magazine and Lisa worked in pastry and so we only really saw each other every few months. We even once joked after a sushi lunch that one day, my people would call her people and we would fly in our private jets and have sushi in Paris.
Well my people was me and her people was her and the decision was made over whatsapp, the jets were commercial and the food was Parisian but we met in Paris for lunch. Another plan we made was while Lisa was working at La Colombe and that plan came to fruition on my Birthday this year.
We had originally gone out there to do the Weekday special but, sitting their sipping our complimentary bubbles and nibbling on Sweet potato baguette, whipped pork fat, lemon & herb crumb, the dishes on the other side of the page called out to us so we threw caution (and Lisa’s credit card) to the wind and went with the reduced Gourmand menu.
For me, this had to be the most amazing culinary experience of my life to date. Each dish balanced perfectly with the flavours, richness, and textures that I didn’t want them to end. Some were so pretty I felt bad destroying the art on my page. At some point I even apologised for whatever noises were escaping my mouth because I had no control over my reactions to what was happening in my mouth. Even the Gin cocktail we had was perfectly mixed.
For me the winning dish was the Barbeque quail, langoustine, mussels, bok choi, corn. This was a dish neither of us ordered but we were gifted it by the Sous Chef. The quail was tender and the smoked muscle veloute was to die for. The tuna was a very fresh and clean way to kick off this taste experience and for me the “cheese platter” was the perfect end.
So whether you have a special occasion you want to spoil someone for or for no reason other than wanting to experience something amazing, possibly life altering, I highly recommend you take the drive out to Franschoek enjoy what John and his team have to offer.
The menu changes regularly, please check what is on offer on there website or just go with an open mind and be surprised. You can find them at Le Quartier Français Hotel, Cnr & Streets, Berg St & Wilhelmina St, Franschhoek, 7690