Ilse van der Merwe
The Dining Room is part of the Leeu Estate Collection, situated in The Manor House at Leeu Estates. This exclusive property is accessible on reservation only and offers some of the most high end all-round experiences in the Franschhoek Valley.
For lunch and dinner, guests can choose between various options to create a two-course or three-course meal. A warm bread basket that includes a selection of four different mini-breads and bread sticks served with perfectly quenelled flavoured butters like pink beetroot and purple olive comes standard. For starters, the beef tartare with toasted seed loaf is a firm favourite, served in a ready-prepared square that already includes all the classic elements of a tartare. Flavours are punchy and well-seasoned. Another popular choice is the citrus ceviche made with game fish (like dorado) and mixed with citrus segments, mango puree, onion, chilli cucumber and tomato - an bright and punchy dish that is delightfully fresh.
For mains, the slow-braised Karoo lamb comes highly recommended by staff and it doesn’t disappoint. Served meltingly tender with pale green mashed potato, beautifully bright green butterbeans and a rich gravy, it’s a gleeful reminder of a best-scenario home-style Sunday lunch. The smoked pork belly with pak choi and plum puree hits some deep umami notes with cleverly used Asian-inspired flavours. The intensity of the almost gel-like bright red plum puree will astound and delight. Sides like hand-cut chips with truffle oil and parmesan of winelands mushrooms with roasted garlic butter can be ordered separately at R51 each.
For dessert, choose between a decadent Valrhona chocolate fondant with rum & raisin ice cream or a seasonal soufflé like passionfruit, with white chocolate ice cream - both showcasing the consistent skill level from the kitchen. Other options include a locally sourced cheese board with house-made preserves.
Guests of all ages are welcome at The Dining Room - ask your serving attendant for kids menu options of the day.
The wine list offers a selection of the award winning Mullineux and Leeu Family Wines as well as a wide range or carefully sourced “food friendly” wines from the region, many of which are also available per glass. The entry-level Mullineux wooded chenin blanc 2017 offers exceptional value at R130 per bottle - highly recommended. Remember to stop at their Mullineux & Leeu Wine Studio on the way out, to buy wine at cellar prices or to do a curated wine tasting (book ahead, preferably).
A large team of well trained, professional, friendly staff will make you feel like you’ve just booked into a 5-star hotel.
The beauty of Leeu Estates, The Manor House, sculpted gardens and impeccable surrounds will leave you in awe. The views from The Conservatory (adjacent to The Dining Room and visible through the glass doors) are breathtaking. Remember that this place is situated off the beaten track and on reservation only, so the restaurant may be on the quieter side (don’t go if you’re looking for a bustling vibe). What you will find, however, is exceptional tranquility, an impressive modern art collection, immaculate attention to detail, and an unwavering luxurious touch throughout.
Best for a special occasion, or to treat yourself to a day of exquisite service, food and wine within a pristine environment. Do take a walk after lunch to admire the grounds and gardens, or stay even longer for a curated wine tasting at the Mullineux & Leeu Wine Studio down the road.
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