On Friday I had the privilege of eating at La Petite Colombe in Franschhoek for the first time. I was invited to experience their winter special menu which runs until 31 August and I was blown away. Every course was inspired and utterly delicious. You are taken on a eating journey that tantalizes every tastebud and it was hard to pick out a favourite. But you don’t need to because they are all quite different and rattle your mind as much as your palate. The dessert brought tears to my eyes because I was so happy to be experiencing something so incredible and sad at the same time as I am unlikely to every eat this exact dish again. They change the dishes on their menu fairly often to keep it fresh.
The restaurant offers a novel ‘ meet the chefs’ courses where guests are invited up to a table in front of the pass that is decorated like a forrest floor. You get to see whats happening the open plan kitchen while tasting their take on ‘egg & soldiers’. Essentially crispy brioche wafers with foi gras sandwiched in the middle. You dip into a sublime porcini broth. This course is an add on to the winter special and is delightful.
We enjoyed the winter menu with the wine pairing and I can highly recommend this. The wines were straight out the top drawer and paired perfectly with every dish. Having this duel experience of the food and the wine takes your senses to the next level. So much work goes into selecting which wine goes with each dish, it is a real treat not to have to think about it.When you are dining at the top end of the spectrum, you can totally hand over the decision reigns to the restaurant and I love to sit back and enjoy whatever is put in front of me.
The service was nothing short of perfect and if I think back on the whole lunch it was flawless and the best fine dinging meal I’ve had in two years. It is one that has set a benchmark and will stay with me for a long time.
La Petite Colombe is going straight into my comprehensive Guide to eating out in Cape Town
This is what the lunch looked like:Winter Menu
R395 / with wine pairing R795
Caraway sour dough, home churned butter, sesame and roasted yeast
Poached oyster, pernod, grapefruit, verjuice, dill, apple, celery
Colmant Brut Chardonnay 2006-2013 (Franschhoek)
Yellowfin tuna, aubergine, miso, kalamansi, avocado
Mullineux ‘Old vines’ 2016 (Swartland)
Quail, red cabbage, sultana, five spice, bourbon
Chamonix ‘Troika’ 2015 (Franschhoek)
“Meet the chefs”
Linefish, soubise, smoked mussel, squid, endive, chorizo, creamed leeks
Rickety Bridge ‘Paulina’s Reserve’ Semillion 2015 (Franschhoek)
Chalmar beef, beetroot, turnip, spinach, mustard and sherry
Haut Espoir Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Franschhoek)
Foxenberg goat’s cheese, goats milk caramel, kouign amann, guava, tamarind
Vonderling ‘Sweet Carolyn’ 2007 (Voor-Paardeberg)
Valrhona Itakuja crémeux, pineapple, mango, macadamia, passionfruit, lemongrass
Thelema ‘Late Harvest’ Semillon 2014 (Stellenbosch)
La Petite Colombe Treasures
I was delighted to meat the talented young Cape Town chef, John Norris-Rogers, who heads up the kitchen. La Petite Colombe only opening in August 2017 but if it doesn’t make the Eat Out Awards Top 10 this year I will be very surprised.
When John was asked what his passion and vision for the cooking industry is, he says, “I love the fact that the industry is constantly evolving – especially at a fine dining level. There is always a chef somewhere in the world doing something unique and special at any given time. This keeps everyone on their toes and keeps everyone pushing the boundaries and making new discoveries in the cooking world. It’s incredibly exciting! The world of food is so dynamic. I hope to never lose sight of how important and refreshing it is to keep discovering new foods, trends, flavours, cultures, techniques, and thereby inspiring creativity!” Norris-Rogers admits that he also has a great appreciation for the classics and going back to what he learnt as the fundamentals of cooking. A believer in great produce, he loves coming across a food item that is of the most superior quality, and he loves the fact that many suppliers take as much pride in their produce as chefs do in their food. In closing, John says, “My vision for the future is to never stop learning and discovering, without ever losing the importance of flavour.”
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