Venues

Foliage

Foliage
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Cost
R190 avg main meal; R625 per person for 5-course menu without wine pairing; R895 per person for 5-course menu with wine pairing
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Bistro fare, Health food, Vegan food, Vegetarian
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Greg Landman

Food 
Chris Erasmus has taken firm root at his own place in town, attracting a wildly enthusiastic audience from all over. Foraging is the name of the game, with he and his staff to be found in the hills around Franschhoek, collecting the bounty of the earth.

Flavours of sorrel and basil, forest mushrooms and wild herbs, river greens, nettles and pine rings are all used to good effect in his cooking. The natural theme is continued through methods of slow smoking, charring and glazing, and the use of free-range and pasture-fed meats and seafood.

The menu changes with the seasons, and often daily, but you might find things like braised kudu shank boudin (sausage) and grilled springbok served with rich bonemarrow, river cress, mushrooms and wood sorrel, or slow-roasted pork belly with dandelion and pumpkin seeds, crushed potatoes, beetroot and baby carrots. The knockout dessert is the caramelia delice with salted peanut butter, macerated strawberries and a chunk of honeycomb to set it all off.

Drinks
A very good wine list, featuring some of the best of Franschhoek and other regions in the Cape.

Service
Smooth, knowledgeable, friendly and warm in the country manner.

Ambience
Foliage is at its best in the evenings, when the cosy interior positively glows with warm wood finishes and low lighting. The open-plan kitchen, where you can see – and smell – the cooking, is most appealing.

And... 
Booking is absolutely essential, and do make any dietary preferences known beforehand.

(September 2016)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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  • Jeanne Calitz

    Food
    It’s hard not to fall for the food being served at Foliage in Franschhoek. Besides the fact that it is completely delicious, the overwhelming impression is of a chef having a total blast. And that is in fact the case: forager of note Chris Erasmus has certainly found his feet at Foliage, serving up scrumptious seasonal dishes with a lovely touch of whimsy.

    There’s a wonderfully wild, organic feel to it all, starting with a serving of excellent breads, including a champagne-yeast bread with sweet potato and fennel, and a seed bread made with acorn flower and served with a mouth-watering homemade mayo flavoured with honey and wild mushrooms.

    When the starters are served, you start to realise the extent of the chef’s commitment: plates abound with interesting seasonal and foraged ingredients, artfully presented to capture the essence of their natural surroundings. A salad of roasted beetroot with turnip and artichoke becomes a vibrant forest garden, featuring seasonal treats like broad beans waterblommetjies and suring. A dish of zebra dumplings (absolutely divine and so flavourful) in a spicy broth also holds tender spring vegetables and baby carrots almost sprouting from the plate. And the tom yum broth with crayfish, mussels and tuna is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

    The adventure continues with the mains. The rustic barbecue beef ‘hump’ is elevated by a spring relish containing, once more, those delicious broad beans, as well as other spring shoots and perfectly crispy, sweet and creamy deep-fried sweet breads. A vibrant green risotto of truffled peas, porcini and fiddlehead fern tastes like the essence of spring, the vibrant flavours offset by the earthy notes of an accompanying onion blossom, and lifted by a wonderfully light buchu crème. Truly, it feels like foraging on a plate.

    A small desserts section continues the level of quality – bite into fantastically creamy caramelia délice with candied pecans and homemade honeycombs, or savour the chance to play with your food when ordering the charming Valrhona chocolate pot plant, the creamy chocolate treat served in an edible, crumbly little chocolate pot accompanied by carrot cultured cream and a lovely buchu ice cream.

    Dining here is like going on a treasure hunt – each plate offers many exciting elements and moments of surprise. It’s completely charming and utterly irresistible.

    Drinks
    The substantial wine list includes a good selection by the glass. Franschhoek wines feature prominently, as expected, but they also source from further afield, like Paul Cluver and Mullineux.

    Service
    Friendly and welcoming, in tune with the warm winelands atmosphere. It may not be polished to a T, but Chris’s presence adds so much charm that you’d hardly notice.

    Ambience
    It’s a stylish and sophisticated space, with accents of charcoal and red, and gorgeous artworks from the adjacent gallery on the walls. A fireplace adds warmth in winter, and a wide kitchen counter offers views into the bustling activity of the kitchen.

    And…
    With a creative chef like Chris in the kitchen, there are bound to be surprises on the day. Be sure to ask what’s cooking; they might for instance be smoking meat at the back, or offer an interesting seasonal cocktail of kombucha, white cabernet and buchu.
    (September 2015)

  • Richard Holmes

    Chef Chris Erasmus should be no stranger to readers of Eat Out. While at the helm of Pierneef à La Motte in 2013, the restaurant made it into the Top 10, thanks in large part to Chris’s passion for wild ingredients married with traditional Cape cookery.

    That respect for heritage cooking continues at Foliage, his new restaurant on the main drag through Franschhoek. With fewer boundaries, Chris is cooking with more intricacy, experimentation and attention to detail than ever before, says Richard Holmes.

    The food
    In a sense, Chris and his foraging boots have finally been set free. Wild ingredients loom large, with everything from wild geese to wild mushrooms and wild herbs ending up on the plate in some shape or form. With this changing harvest, the menu is tweaked almost daily according to what lands up in the kitchen. A recent hit was the braised boerbok with apricot, and the diner brave enough to order the Jerusalem artichoke and pine needle soup with ragout of beef shin and fiddle head fern was, I’m told, richly rewarded.

    My wintry visit in late-July saw a superb risotto of wild mushrooms and chunks of Neil Jewell bacon – the rich stock perfectly offset by a dollop of silky beetroot yoghurt – win the day. A close second was the rough-chopped beef tartar: a European bistro classic transformed into a dish innately of the Cape by spicy peach atjar and cep potato crisps. Asian and Indian influences are stronger here than anything seen at La Motte, so expect plenty of spice.

    Portions are generous, well-priced and offer some of the most interesting local cuisine you’ll find in Franschhoek… or anywhere in the winelands for that matter. This is a restaurant where it pays to be adventurous, to challenge your palate and find yourself pleasantly surprised. Do not, like one recent patron, book a table and complain about the lack of fillet and chips.

    The drinks
    You won’t find bland offerings and sponsored umbrellas here; rather, there’s an eclectic selection of truly top-notch estates from the valley and further afield. Each wine is listed with brief tasting notes, but no vintage. Although by the glass is limited to red or white, alongside two local bubblies, the handful of half-bottles – including the delicious Chocolate Block from Boekenhoutskloof up the road – is a nice touch.

    Another great touch is the beer crafted by Chris and Rob Armstrong, winemaker at Haut Espoir. The pair has all manner of brews in the pipeline, but at the moment there’s delicious mushroom chocolate stout on offer. Don’t worry, it tastes better than it sounds.

    The service
    While the waiters seem to rush things along a little on arrival, once they settle down the service is friendly and attentive. It’s not quite up to the standard of cuisine just yet, but it’s still early days and the team will no doubt find their feet soon enough.

    The ambience
    There’s a stylish bistro feel, with exposed ceiling beams and rough brick walls adding an earthiness that contrasts nicely with the fine art on the walls and in the adjoining gallery, visible through a shared glass door. A huge hearth crackles in the wintertime, with the open kitchen providing a view of chef and his team at work. There are also tables on the outside terrace facing Huguenot Street, but the rumbling trucks and wafts of cigarette smoke – the only area a puff is allowed – tend to detract from the wonderful food. Inside is best.

    And…
    There’s free wi-fi, for those who just can’t help tweeting a pic of their lunch. (If you do, make sure you tag @cheffolliage: http://twitter.com/cheffolliage.)

    (July 2014)

User reviews

  • I'd heard mixed reviews about Foliage but was very glad to have made a booking for a Saturday night dinner which did no disappoint. The menu is interesting, eclectic and the portions were larger than expected. The food and pairing of flavours is well thought through and we had even wanted to compliment the chef once we had finished our evening but sadly he had left by then. Our waitron was slightly odd at the beginning but once he got into the evening, he was great. A really great evening, delicious food that's well worth the price.
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  • This visit was in November 2016. We were there at lunch time, so very quiet, would have been better to be there on a busier day. Wine was a little pricey, but the food even though expensive, was absolutely worth it. Probably the most interesting food I have eaten in my life. I will definitely visit this restaurant when in Cape Town/Franshoek again.
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  • The best dessert we've ever had but the mains were small portions and average.
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  • What a fabulous restaurant. Great food & great service. I'd highly recommend it.
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  • So good I went back the very next weekend. The food is gorgeous! Beautifully plated, clearly made with love, and tasted phenomenal. The best desert I've ever had. I dream about it regularly.
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  • We went there for my birthday on the 7 th of October, what a fantastic experience, the food was out of this world, my husband ordered the porcupine dumplings...wow! The ambiance was relaxed with excitement in the air, the waitress had good knowledge of the food served and had to call her back so many times, to tell us again what all the different, tastes on our plates were, absolutely fantastic. This is what you call a food experience, visually as well as taste wise!
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  • With an extensive menu of interesting flavours and unusual combinations it was difficult to choose at Foliage. We've only heard good reports from Chef Chris Erasmus, and wanted to try his food for ourselves. The confit duck and foie gras rilette starter was overpowered by a very strong granadilla vinaigrette. The beef cheek and taleggio bitterballen served with creamed kimchee, mushroom-pickled carrots and shoot salad was a more satisfying starter choice. My Karoo lamb main was served with confit cabbage and a roasted peach and I enjoyed the flavoursome combination. The boerbok and tongue crepinette wasn’t our favourite and the grilled springbok was a bit tough and chewy to our taste. The best choice of the evening was the geranium and honey iced nougatine with salted chocolate custard and hazelnut ice-cream. It seemed like the flavours worked together really well to compliment, and not overpower, each other. All-in-all we had an interesting taste sensation and enjoyed the experience, but somehow felt like we might have chosen the wrong dishes and missed out on the best dishes. A tasting menu would be a good option at Foliage, in order to try more of the off-beat taste combinations and find one that works for you.
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  • My husband and I were fortunate enough to eat at this wonderful restaurant last evening and both of us agreed that the food was the best we have eaten anywhere in the world. I have to point out that regardless of your previous reviews, this wonderful eatery does not have a liquor license at the moment although that being said, I don't think our meals could have been any more enjoyable with the addition of a glass of vino. Thelma Wilson 24. March 2015
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  • This was the best meal I have eaten since Ai Fiori (one Michelin star) in New York in 2012. Every dish was superb and between the six dishes my partner and I had, there was not an inkling of food envy, or rather there was, but only because the other's dishes were just as superb. I cannot imagine any of the dishes on the menu not tasting good. The menu is exciting, yet attentive to more conservative tastes as well. There was adventure, and I look forward to even more adventure. We went there on a Monday lunch- time and the place was packed and filled with positive energy as the team in the kitchen, visible to most guests, were all smiling and clearly enjoying themselves. Chris Erasmus, you are brilliant. As far as the quality of the food is concerned, this gives Tasting Room accross the road a very good go. SUPERB!
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  • Definitely my new favorite restaurant! The best pork belly Is the best I have ever eaten! The service was excellent and just loved the wooden bowls and plates!
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  • Fine dining meets bistro in this fun, intimate environment. We were fortunate enough to get a table facing the kitchen and could watch the chef putting the final touches to each little artwork that leaves the kitchen. Beautiful plates of food that tastes every bit as good as it looks. I had the braised Wagyu shortrib on the waiter's recommendation and what an amazing meal it was. Not just a small portion pretentious food as you would expect from a typical Franschoek restaurant. Good options on the wine list together with good service will guarantee my return.
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  • This past weekend I was chomping at the bits to try out Chris Erasmus's new restaurant. I was hoping for a return to fine ingredients prepared using impressive culinary methods contrary to the current new restaurant trend in Cape Town geared more towards, grubby, American leaning eateries, I mean I adore Clarke's & Lefty's etc but when I venture to the winelands, I pray for a sensory delight to accompany my wine indulgence, and Foliage delivered just that in forage filled buckets - one of the best meals I've had this entire year - when one is confronted with a mouth filled with the taste of a forest floor and have it be a delight, one can only respect the chef who prepared said delight for enlightening my palate. To return soonest.
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  • Our dinner at Foliage on Bastille Festival weekend rates as one of the best we've had this year. Love the 'clean' interior with huge fireplace and open kitchen (TIP make sure you ask to be seated on the kitchen side of the restaurant if you like watching the action). I really wish our local 'celeb chefs' would all follow Chris Erasmus' example to come to the table to welcome guests. These days everyone is a foodie and we all love that personal touch from the chef which makes you feel welcome, and your support appreciated, especially if it's going to cost you quite a couple of hundred Rand a head! Chris personally presented his beautiful bread basket to our table - a bread selection that would make Annette Kesler proud. Both the menu and wine list are interesting, different and surprise - well priced. Dishes we enjoyed include Foie gras + eisbein terrine, spiced quid + hazelnut salas, potato skins, amazi mousse, naartjie + onion marmalade; and a delicious soup of Jerusalem artichoke, pine needles + Parmesan cream, confit duck + fiddle head fern ragout. For mains Slow-roasted pork shoulder, anise glazed baby carrots, nettle crushed potatoes, whey-pickled onions, white port glaze, but the Braised boerbok + dried apricot roulade, chorizo + lentil ragout stole the show as a real adventure on a plate! It was so delicious that I'm now a goat meat convert. No space for dessert, but we left very happy and impressed with Foliage. This is one to watch Eat Out!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Vegetarian
  • WiFi

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