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The best restaurant on the African continent

In an article last week, Larry Olmsted from Forbes, called The Tasting Room, ‘the best restaurant on the African continent’ – we’re deeply honoured and thrilled by this statement.

An excerpt: “While Franschhoeck has a long main street lined with restaurants, shops, wine rooms, and galleries – it simply made for visiting. Filled with art and comprised of rooms in swank freestanding cottages arranged around a pool and gardens, Le Quartier Francais is its best hotel, and the Tasting Room its best restaurant.”

Read the rest of the article here.

SA-TastingRoom11

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The World’s Top Tasting Menus in Departures Magazine

Departures Magazine is ‘navigating the luxury frontier’, and is a publication that focuses on the world’s best high-end travel, fashion, shopping, art, culture and food.

And they’ve recently included us in ‘The World’s Top Tasting Menus’.

Departures Magazine reports: “The African-inspired Surprise Tasting menu melds African influences with classic haute cuisine in an innovative, elevated way.”

Visit the Departures Magazine site to view the slide show, and to see who else made the list.

departures magazine

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Food, Margot Janse, Press, Press & Media, The Tasting Room,
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Salt of the earth

Salt of the earth
Margot Janse uses a procession of uniquely African ingredients in The Tasting Room, from baobab to buchu. The most simple of all ingredients, salt, is no different.
Sourced from a mineral hot spring in the Lowveld known as Baleni it’s one of the last places in Southern Africa where non-mechanised salt production still takes places.
Every winter groups of local women hand-harvest small amounts for their own use as well as to supplement their income
The process is deeply rooted in the metaphysical, spurred on by the warm water, rising bubbles and sulphurous smell of the swamp. A spirit medium determines the day on which salt production will start. Then, salt-makers place offerings and libations at the foot of a dead leadwood tree on the edge of the swamp into which the spring flows.

Chef Margot Janse uses a procession of uniquely African ingredients in The Tasting Room, from baobab to buchu. The most simple of all ingredients, salt, is no different.

Sourced from a mineral hot spring in the Lowveld known as Baleni it’s one of the last places in Southern Africa where non-mechanised salt production still takes places. Every winter groups of local women hand-harvest small amounts for their own use as well as to supplement their income.

salt

The process is deeply rooted in the metaphysical, spurred on by the warm water, rising bubbles and sulphurous smell of the swamp. A spirit medium determines the day on which salt production will start. Then, salt-makers place offerings and libations at the foot of a dead leadwood tree on the edge of the swamp into which the spring flows.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Food, Ingredients, Margot Janse, The Tasting Room,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Flying high

Five days jetting – well helicoptering – across the Western Cape with stopovers at beautiful restaurants, wine estates and hotels—one of which is us!

The official blurb is: “‘the ultra-V.I.P.’ Southern Cape Helicopter Trip from Civair is designed around the needs and wants of our most discerning, adventurous clients. This trip incorporates 5 days of ultimate luxury, excitement, romance, relaxation and adventure all in one trip.”

heli

You’ll arrive at us on day five to be wined and dined. To start the trip the helicopter will carve right around the Cape Peninsula then head over to the Constantia Valley, dip into Elgin, Hermanus and Gaansbaai; and at each stop luxury awaits in the form of gourmet cuisine, spa treatments and plenty of Cape wine. For more information call: +27 (0)21 034 4488 or email: info@civair.co.za

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Experience, Franschhoek, Le Quartier Français, The Tasting Room,
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Douglas & Co

We love Franschhoek, and we’d rather support local craftsmen and designers than importing furniture. It’s not only better for the community, but also for our carbon footprint.

tables and chairs

Our tables and chairs for the new look Tasting Room were made by Franschhoek local, Stuart Douglas of Douglas & Co., who specialises in custom made cabinetry and designer furniture, the tables are made from blackwood and Franschhoek oak from trees felled when the dam was built.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Franschhoek, The Tasting Room,
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Pay for one tasting menu, and the other is on us…

Squid ink cigars - small

We’re extending our Companion Fare in The Tasting Room to September. This means you pay for one dinner and the other dinner is on us. We have just ten spots to fill, so you’d better be quick.

Try our great accommodation packages in the hotel, www.lqf.co.za, or the deals in Delicious, right next door so you don’t have to fine dine and drive. To book email restaurant@lqf.co.za and quote ‘Wednesday companion fare’

We’re extending our Companion Fare, on a Wednesday night in The Tasting Room to September. This means you pay for one dinner and the other dinner is on us. We have just ten spots left to fill.
Try our great accommodation packages in the hotel, www.lqf.co.za, or the deals in Delicious, www.delicioushotels.com, right next door so you don’t have to fine dine and drive.  To book email restaurant@lqf.co.za and quote ‘Wednesday companion fare
Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Franschhoek, Le Quartier Français, The Tasting Room,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Beetroot sponge, spinach & onion puree, buttermilk labne, dill & cucumber granita

Beetroot sponge, spinach and onion puree, buttermilk labne,
dill and cucumber granita
Beetroot sponge:
• 50ml Beetroot Juice
• Pinch of salt
• ½ gelatine leaf
• Salt
Take 1 flexi pan half sphere mould (600 x 400 mm / 400 x 300 mm)
Place the gelatine in a small bowl with ice water and set aside.
Place the beetroot juice and salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatine leaf.
Place a fine strainer over a medium mixing bowl and strain the beetroot juice
Take a medium bowl and fill with ice, poor the beetroot mixture into a slightly smaller bowl and
place it on to the ice.
Whisk the beetroot mixture continuously until it is aerated and cold. The gelatin will have set it.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe into flexi pan half sphere mould. (spray with ‘Spray
and Cook’ first) Scrape all excees off, using a spatula – so the tops of the half sheres are flat.
Refrigerate.
Beetroot crumbs
Panko crumbs
• 50gr
Beetroot juice in spray bottle
• 20 ml
Preheat oven to 80C
Spread the crumbs in a thin layer on an oven tray and spray with the beetroot juice, making sure
all the crumbs are pink, but not soaked. Dry out in the oven for 30 minutes.
Buchu powder
• 200gr fresh buchu, leaves picked off the stems
Leave the buchu to dry and blend until very fine using a spice grinder.
Buttermilk labne:
• 500 ml Buttermilk
• 40cmx40cm piece of muslin cloth
Hang the buttermilk overnight in the muslin cloth.
Once drained, discard the extra whey and place the buttermilk in a small piping bag.
Spinach and onion puree:
• ½ Onion, thinly sliced
Single cream
• 125ml
100gr
Baby spinach
Unsalted butter
• 10gr
-for onion puree
Warm up a medium pan, add the butter and sliced onions and sweat until soft without getting any
colour on the onions. Season with salt. Add the cream, and reduce over high heat for 5 minutes.
- For spinach puree
Boil a pot of water add some salt.
Blanch the spinach in the boiling water for 1 min
Remove the spinach with a large slotted spoon, drain and place directly into a blender jug.
Blend until very smooth, add the creamed onions and blend again.
Pass through a tamis.
Cucumber and dill granita:
• 150gr Cucumber, diced
• 10gr Dill, stems removed
• 5gr White wine vinegar
• 2gr Salt
• 1gr Xanthan gum
Blend all the ingredients in bar blender and pass through a fine sieve, pour into a tray with a wide
base, and freeze.
Scrape the frozen mixture with a fork to form fine flakes.
Keep frozen.
Serving:
Scoop the centre out of the beetroot sponges and fill it with some of the spinach and onion puree,
then take the two halves and stick them together. Carefully roll in the beetroot crumbs.
Pipe 1 tablespoon of buttermilk on the plate and drag across with a small spatula. Place the
beetroot ball on the plate, scoop some of the granita next to the ball and sprinkle with some
buchu powder.

Beetroot recipe

The blushing beetroot recipe as seen on South Africa’s Masterchef.

Recipe

Beetroot sponge:

  • 50ml beetroot juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ gelatine leaf

Take 1 flexi pan half sphere mould (600 x 400 mm / 400 x 300 mm), then place the gelatine in a small bowl with ice water and set aside. Place the beetroot juice and salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatine leaf.

Place a fine strainer over a medium mixing bowl and strain the beetroot juice. Take a medium bowl and fill with ice, pour the beetroot mixture into a slightly smaller bowl and place it on to the ice.

Whisk the beetroot mixture continuously until it is aerated and cold. The gelatin will have set it. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe into flexi pan half sphere mould. (spray with ‘Spray and Cook’ first) Scrape all excess off, using a spatula – so the tops of the half spheres are flat. Refrigerate.

Beetroot crumbs:

  • 50gr panko crumbs
  • 20 ml beetroot juice in spray bottle
  • Preheat oven to 80C

Spread the crumbs in a thin layer on an oven tray and spray with the beetroot juice, making sure all the crumbs are pink, but not soaked. Dry out in the oven for 30 minutes.

Buchu powder:

  • 200gr fresh buchu, leaves picked off the stems

Leave the buchu to dry and blend until very fine using a spice grinder.

Buttermilk labne:

  • 500 ml buttermilk
  • 40cmx40cm piece of muslin cloth

Hang the buttermilk overnight in the muslin cloth. Once drained, discard the extra whey and place the buttermilk in a small piping bag.

Spinach and onion puree:

  • ½  onion,  thinly sliced
  • 125ml single cream
  • 100gr baby spinach
  • 10gr unsalted butter

-for onion puree

Warm up a medium pan, add the butter and sliced onions and sweat until soft without getting any colour on the onions. Season with salt. Add the cream, and reduce over high heat for 5 minutes.

- For spinach puree

Boil a pot of water add some salt. Blanch the spinach in the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove the spinach with a large slotted spoon, drain and place directly into a blender jug. Blend until very smooth, add the creamed onions and blend again. Pass through a tamis.

Cucumber and dill granita:

  • 150gr cucumber, diced
  • 10gr dill, stems removed
  • 5gr white wine vinegar
  • 2gr salt
  • 1gr xanthan gum

Blend all the ingredients in bar blender and pass through a fine sieve, pour into a tray with a wide base, and freeze.Scrape the frozen mixture with a fork to form fine flakes. Keep frozen.

Serving:

Scoop the centre out of the beetroot sponges and fill it with some of the spinach and onion puree, then take the two halves and stick them together. Carefully roll in the beetroot crumbs.

Pipe 1 tablespoon of buttermilk on the plate and drag across with a small spatula. Place the beetroot ball on the plate, scoop some of the granita next to the ball and sprinkle with some buchu powder.

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Our new look Tasting Room

the tasting room

Herbert Janse, Margot’s brother, flew in from Holland and spent an intensive couple of weeks redesigning the Tasting Room. With a background in set and theatre design he certainly has theatrical flair, and has created a stage worthy of the cuisine. “The décor reflects Margot Janse’s food,” says Herbert. “The unexpected.”

new look 2

There are teasers throughout. Antique crystal bulbs dating back to 1910 have been placed irregularly on the ceiling. Herbert found them in Holland: “they’re early electric bulbs that were once used at fairs.”
There’s also a set of crockery stuck upside down to the celling—almost like a wink from the chef herself.

There are teasers throughout. Antique crystal bulbs dating back to 1910 have been placed irregularly on the ceiling. Herbert found them in Holland: “they’re early electric bulbs that were once used at fairs.”

There’s also a set of crockery stuck upside down to the celling—almost like a wink from the chef herself.

Head on over to our Facebook page to see more photos, or come see for yourself.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Food, Le Quartier Français, Margot Janse, The Tasting Room,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

The New Sweets are Savoury

Sweet seems to have been done to death over the last few years; so those in the know have decided to replace it with sweets that are savoury. Things like horseradish or olive oil ice-cream, butternut sorbet and other tastebud confusing delights are making an appearance as desserts on restaurant menu around the glob.

We’ve tried this trend and, while it messes with your mind a bit, it’s pretty damn cool. Your eyes expect the dish to taste like one thing – because it looks like ice cream, obviously – and your palate experiences something completely different. Welcome to food’s version of The Outer Limits.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Margot Janse, The Tasting Room, Trends,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Niche Hyperlocal Cuisine

Man that’s a mouthful. Doesn’t it sound ridiculously complicated?

Basically – for us laymen – it’s what Margot’s been doing in the Tasting Room for the last few years. Which is using local ingredients to create African inspired cuisine.

But to pass as niche hyperlocal cuisine it needs to be truly local, both biologically and culturally.

It’s worth remembering that definition because, as this trend continues to grow, there are bound to be a few impostors who try get in on the action.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Margot Janse, The Tasting Room, Trends,
comment-notesComments: 0


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