Last week I returned from a magical trip to South Africa. I`d flown overnight to Cape Town a few days earlier and within 60 minutes of touching down, I`d passed through Stellenbosch and was delivered to the gourmet capital of Franschhoek.
Surrounded by the spectacular hills of the winelands valley of the Western Cape, Franschhoek village is home to Le Quartier Francais, a beautiful boutique hotel founded by the inimitable Susan Huxter, Spoon`s newest client. The hotel also houses multi-award winning restaurant The Tasting Room headed up by Relais & Chateau Grand Chef Margot Janse. Margot combines local produce with her memories and experiences to recount, through her dishes, a captivating story of South African flavours. Having featured for many years in The World`s 50 Best Restaurants list, dinner was always destined to be good but it turned out to be much more than that and easily one of the best meals I’ve had the pleasure of eating this year, served by proud waiters with beaming smiles – extraordinary.
Whilst I was there, the builders were putting the finishing touches to the hotel`s new garden room and elegant lounge bar. Over a snack of wildebeest filled donuts topping with a dusting of nettle powder, I learnt that despite the remarkable sophistication of the “village” with its many hotels, restaurants and boutiques, this will be the first lounge bar in Franschhoek.
I’ll post again soon with photos of all the LQF elements, in the meantime here’s their very colourful website: www.lqf.co.za