I dined at Epice at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek for the first time a few weeks ago and it was nothing short of incredible. Part of the La Colombe stable of restaurants, Epice – derived from the French word Épice meaning spice (and is pronounced eh-peace) – is a fine dining restaurant headed by chef Charné Sampson (previously sous chef at La Colombe).
The menu features a selection of flavour-packed dishes inspired by spices from an array of global cuisines. All staggeringly good.
The service is top-notch and each waiter doubles up as a sommelier brimming with knowledge about the wine. The pairings were interesting and spot on.
You can choose between a full or reduced tasting menu and both will leave you totally satisfied without feeling overwhelmed. Go hungry either way. Don’t be in any rush either, it’s a culinary journey of note.
In true La Colombe style, there is always a touch of table-side theatre and a chance to meet a few of the chefs.
The bread course was amongst the best I’ve ever experienced. Warm wagyu dripping infused with butter and a hawajih spice blend is poured onto a large brass plate and sprinkled with caraway, cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, confit lemon, and red onion. Finished off with a sweet reduced jus and a dash of vinegar for acidity. The idea is to scrape your bread around the plate getting a bit of everything on it. It set the tone for all the deliciousness to come.
This is the full spice journey menu we enjoyed on the day with the wine pairings:
Saldanha bay oyster, granny smith, chilli, turmeric
Black Elephant vintners & co brut nv (western cape) or a spice-infused cocktail
Caraway, beef drippings, hawaij, cinnamon
local craft beer
Korma poussin roti, pumpkin leaf masala, kashmiri
Hartenberg ‘occasional’ riesling 2020 (stellenbosch)
Tuna, avocado, cumin, mustard
Keermont ‘terrasse’ white blend 2020 (stellenbosch)
Pork, shellfish, corn, ginger, fennel
Fable mountain ‘night sky’ red blend 2018 (Tulbagh)
Linefish, squid, mussel, coriander, fenugreek
Rousseau ‘sacharia’ wooded sauvignon blanc 2019 (Elgin)
Grass-fed beef, broccoli, artichoke, black cardamom
Nico van der Merwe ‘mas nicolas’ red blend 2015 (stellenbosch)
Ages and degrees of langbaken, walnut, mustard (the cheese course)
Backsberg ‘pinneau’ 2017 (paarl)
Strawberry, almond, five-spice, vanilla
Rickety bridge nlh 2020 (franschhoek)
Chocolates and a spice test
Visit the Epice website for more information
*I was hosted as a guest of Epice