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.
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.
The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award
Our very own Wayve Kolevsohn, who you might have met during a recent dinner in The Tasting Room, placed second in The 2011 Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award.
She had to jump through a number of hoops including: written exams, blind tastings and a grueling practical assessment to beat out a number of talented competitors for spot number two.
2011 in a Nutshell
2011 has been another whirlwind adventure. It’s been packed full of travel, worthwhile causes and awards. Here’s our 2011 what we go up to cheat sheet.
We appeared in the 2011 UK Condé Nast Readers Travel Awards, the 2011 Travel & Leisure World’s Best Awards and placed 10th overall in the African and Middle East Lodge and Resorts category. In addition we made the Condé Nast Traveller Gold List 2012 in the Best for Food category.
Le Quartier Français introduced a new Petite Garden Suite and a wheel-chair friendly Auberge Room to our line-up. All our Auberge Room bathrooms received a serious facelift – think more Dolly Parton than Joan Rivers– and we completely reimagined the The Tasting Room. Oh and our mini-bars went totally local. Nice!
The Tasting Room was included in the World’s Top 50 Restaurants for the 7th consecutive year. We also placed third in the recent Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards. This year marks the 8th year we’ve made their list. 2011 will also go down in history as the year when our Tasting Room team met, experienced and survived the now legendary Dr. von Paris.
Margot Janse – our talented Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef – appeared as one of only four guest chefs at 2011 Savour Tasmania. She also took time out of her busy schedule to cook in Holland and help raise enough money for our Isabelo initiative to feed 100 pre-school children, five days a week, in 2012. In addition Margot and Neil Jewell cooked for the Peninsula School Feeding Association and raised much-needed funds for hungry school children throughout the Western Cape.
Tina and Neil showcased their unique and perennially popular Bread & Wine Bread Baking and Charcuterie courses in Australia. Neil also cooked for a full house in the UK. In fact his cooking courses were rated the highlight of the 2011 UK cooking class calendar.
Lastly at the beginning of December we launched our baby sister hotel, Delicious. This offering unpacked the traditional hotel offering, giving the guest everything they need without the additional wallet-lightening add-ons. If the reviews are anything to go by it’s already changing the face of South African hospitality.
It’s really been quite a year!
In 2011 one of our favorite trends has to the eatsake: an edible keepsake that guests get to take home with them after their dining adventure.
The tastiest eatsake, that we’ve experienced thus far, is Margot Janse’s after-dinner take-home Tasting Room bonbons. They are so delicious that Margot now hides them from us so that we can’t have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as a sometimes-snack.
Seriously, they are to-die-for.
Introducing Dr von Paris
We recently got had in the Tasting Room. Dr von Paris (great fake name) ducked out before the bill arrived. Fake credit card details and a mobile number that belonged to some poor lady, who had never eaten in the Tasting Room, left us all feeling like we’d been Punk’d. We do however think that the name the good Dr came up with was inspired … von Paris. Brilliant.
For the next week we are running a tasty competition – our own version of homage to Dr von Paris – come up with the best false name, post it on our Facebook page – and we’ll reward the name we like the most with dinner for two in the Tasting Room … and you won’t even have to duck out before the bill arrives.
Go on get posting!
Dr von Paris (great fake name) ducked out before the bill arrived. Fake credit card details and a mobile number that belonged to some poor lady, who had never eaten in the Tasting Room, left us all feeling like we’d been Punk’d. Apparently the good doctor has been visiting a number of top restaurants in and around Cape Town. Good to know that even those with fake names have excellent taste!
After we came to terms with the fact that the doctor would not be returning, to settle his dinner bill, we realised that the name he decided to use for his reign of restaurant-terror was inspired, brilliant in fact.
So – in our own version of homage – we will be running a tasty competition motivated by Dr. von Paris’s fabulous con job. From today until the 15th of May 2011 you need to come up with best false name, post it on our Facebook page, and we’ll reward the name we like the most with dinner for two in the Tasting Room.
The best news is that you won’t have to duck out before the bill arrives. Nice.
The Tasting Room Experience
There is a great article, about The Tasting Room experience, in The Australian Travel Online. It offers a really comprehensive look at the inspiration behind the incredibly popular Surprise Menu and much more.
We’ve included the article below so, if you’re looking to escape your Monday morning for a few delicious minutes, give it a read.
New Year in Franschhoek!
Can you here those MCC corks popping? Well we can!
Ring in this New Year in delicious style. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a nine course African Inspired Surprise Tasting Menu. For just R1000 per person, without wine pairings, and R1400 per person, with wine pairings it’s the only thing to do this New Years in Franschhoek.
I can almost taste the scrumptious-ness …
Eat Out Top 10!
This latest accolade rounds out an exceptional culinary year for Margot Janse and her team. Just days ago The Tasting Room received three stars in the 2011 Rossouw’s Restaurants Guide. Earlier this year The Tasting Room was ranked 31 in the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the 6th consecutive year (and 7thh year overall). In addition to all these awards Margot has cooked this year, by invitation, in both Brazil and Thailand.
Susan Huxter, owner of Le Quartier Français, has nothing but the finest praise for The Tasting Room team’s achievements. “The success of The Tasting Room experience has everything to do with Margot’s exceptional teams, both in the kitchen and in front of house. This group of talented, hard-working individuals is testament to the fact that it is possible to create an internationally acclaimed offering by employing locally and skilling up. The passion that each person shows for their job is inspiring and I consider myself truly privileged to work with each of them on a daily basis.”
2010 has been quite a year for Le Quartier Français and 2011 shows no signs of being any different!
Thinking of celebrating Christmas in Franschhoek?
The shops are all playing Christmas carols, everywhere you turn there is some new sparkly Christmas ornament you simply have-to-have and there is no avoiding the turkeys that have suddenly sprung up in the frozen poultry section. What this all means is that Christmas, if you can believe it, is just around the corner!
CC attribution vickyb on Flickr.
This Christmas Eve say no to dry turkey and average mince pies and join us, in The Tasting Room, for Margot Janse’s acclaimed nine course African Inspired Surprise Tasting Menu. It costs R1000 per person, without wine pairings, or R1400 per person, with wine pairings.
To book, because bookings are essential, call us on (021) 876 2151.
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Bookings at LQF