With La Motte’s unique take on Cape winelands cuisine, chef Michelle Theron revels in the culinary history of the region. Expect a modern interpretation on traditional flavours and techniques. The superb slow-roasted Karoo lamb is plated with porcini tart fine, burnt butter and brandied apple purée, while the signature Cape bokkom salad uses semi-dried tomatoes, dried apricots and quail eggs to soften the blow of this pungent West Coast delicacy. Each dish comes with a suggested wine from La Motte’s award-winning cellar.
This is accomplished cooking, plated with generosity and authenticity. Expect big bold flavours and generous portions, and a welcome lack of frivolity.
Alongside the à la carte menu, a seasonally inspired family-lunch menu is served on Sundays with generous platters of roast meat, vegetables and salads served communally.
A truly impressive wine includes the full range of estate wines, all available by the glass, alongside a vinoteque selection offering special vintages dating back more than a decade. There’s also an admirable selection from other Cape estates alongside a compact choice of international labels. Thankfully, it’s all served in beautiful Riedel stemware.
Charming yet authentic service from staff that aren’t afraid to chat, or discuss the finer points of the dishes.
This is a restaurant of two faces. Indoors the napery and upholstered chairs make for a more elegant evening option beneath the striking chandelier of shattered Delft-style crockery, a nod to the heritage cuisine on the menu. The terrace is more relaxed, with wonderful garden views in the daytime. Book a table here if you have kids in tow.
Leave time afterwards for a stroll through the wonderful La Motte Museum and its collection of works by the restaurant’s namesake, artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef.
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No longer focusing purely on heritage food, chef Michelle Theron turns out Cape winelands dishes with robust flavour in this beautiful restaurant. The inventive menu delivers hearty portions. Dine à la carte by day, or return at night for the five-course tasting menu.
The meal begins beautifully with excellent breads presented in a wooden box. The ciabatta and soft, pillow-like mosbolletjies are memorable, particularly when slathered liberally with a delicious tomato pesto or the shiraz butter.
To start, the baked bonemarrow is dramatically plated for a comforting dish. If you’re after something lighter, the dish of dehydrated rosa tomatoes with ricotta is a refreshing option, and the hazelnuts are a nice accent.
Mains herald hearty dishes like Glen Oakes farm pork, a tasty rolled belly, with risotto and roasted apple; and a healthy portion of Laingsburg lamb, a punchy-flavoured shoulder served with slivers of homemade sausage, tasty tongue, and a barley risotto spiked with a little coconut – a clever detail.
Sustainable fish – in our case, angelfish – is another menu staple.
Desserts are plated with real attention to detail. The chocolate affair is a perfect rectangle of glossy glazed chocolate mousse paved around the edges with golden gravel. Science Fiction is a playful, lighter, fruity option, served in a glass beaker with a pipette. Eating it, and identifying all the elements, requires a scientist’s rigour.
Finish with a hot chocolate: a beautiful wooden palette-shaped tray comes with a decadent dollop of chocolate to stir into hot milk, and a little iced biscuit complete with a miniature painting for good measure.
Seated under the oaks on a summer’s day, dining here is a thoroughly pleasant experience.
The estate’s wonderful wines join a wide range of names from the Franschhoek valley in a convincing wine list. There’s also Champagne – the real thing – in six varieties, and occasional garagiste inclusions, such as Stony Brook Lyle and My Wyn. The menu also recommends La Motte wines with each of the dishes.
It’s a serene, beautiful space with plenty of wood and green accents. Long glass walls bring the gardens inside. The outdoor section was made for sunny summer days, with long tables under oaks and smaller tables on a deck overlooking a river. Book a spot next to the fireplace in winter.
Attentive and good, for the most part.
If you loved the bread, pick up a loaf – along with some lovely homeware, farm-fresh veggies and preserves – in the farm shop as you exit. And don’t miss the impressive collection of paintings by the restaurant’s namesake, Jan Hendrik Pierneef, in the gallery.
Eat Out critics arrive unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
The “new” chef here, Michelle Theron, who took over the helm when Chris Erasmus departed, appears to have taken over effortlessly and has wisely not decided to re-invent the wheel. One will still find classics treated innovatively, with many paying close attention to the heritage of local cooking. A starter of Cape bokkom salad with tiny slivers of this smoked fish (an acquired taste typical of the Western Cape), interspersed with semi-dried tomatoes, dried apricots, quail eggs, toasted almonds and a wild garlic dressing, makes a suitable introduction to Cape Winelands cooking. A warm octopus terrine with pulled pork salad and saffron oil is a deliciously piquant way to open up the taste buds, while slow cooked lamb with eggplant molasses, served on a bed of warm curried lentil salad which is accented with mint infused sour milk puree, is inventive without getting precious. Cider-braised pork with salted caramel and whey-braised celeriac, supported by piquant apple sauce, is a winner.
The wine list is spectacular, with many local classics, including the excellent wines of La Motte, offered at very reasonable prices, considering the fine dining experience. There’s something for most tastes and pockets, as well as some foreign examples, but these of course are priced accordingly.
Slick and smooth, as one would expect at a place of this calibre.
The feeling is one of quiet luxury, with plenty of tasteful corners and easy chairs to help one take a load off and relax around the fire in winter, while a gazing out of large glass windows onto the stream outside. Summer brings al fresco dining at its best.
Pop in at the Farm Shop where there are plenty of delightful things to take away.
With the departure of chef de cuisine Chris Erasmus in May 2014, Michelle Theron had big shoes to fill. But Erasmus’s former sous chef has certainly stepped up to the pass, and the restaurant’s adventurous Cape Winelands cuisine is as good as ever. On the menu are dishes simultaneously adventurous and familiar, with homely ingredients given a new lease on life. The Cape Winelands chicken – baked with a pâté and a quail egg in the middle – is superb, and if you’re lucky, Theron’s hay-roasted quail will be on the menu.
Local and sustainable ingredients are key, and much of the kitchen’s fresh produce comes straight from the estate’s gardens, making the ever-changing Cape salad a solid choice for a starter. Historic techniques and ingredients may form the structure of the menu here, but the end result is thoroughly modern. Well-priced for the quality of cooking, this is a must-visit in the Winelands.
There's an exemplary wine list with offerings at very fair prices. Alongside the full range of La Motte wines, almost all available by the glass, there's a special selection of older vintages from the estate’s vinotique. As if that wasn’t enough, the list offers a wide range of top estates both from in the valley and further afield, before ending with a good selection of international options.
Excellent at every step, from the friendly receptionist at the art gallery to the maitre d’ and the well-trained waiting staff.
It’s a restaurant with two halves. Indoors the atmosphere is quite formal, with a wide hearth, art on the walls and genteel décor. The terrace and outdoor tables are more relaxed and family-friendly – a delight come summertime.
Do take a wander through the estate’s Pierneef gallery, home to dozens of works by the acclaimed landscape artist.
Greg LandmanIf dining in the company of some of the finest SA artworks – well, at least close to them – appeals, this restaurant is for you. The formidable combination of taste and money come together delightfully here. Perfect for lazy long lunch. The braised pork belly with mustard baby potatoes is a winner.
My absolute favorite wine farm restaurant! Whether a cold, rainy winter night or sunny summer day, the ambience is perfect. With consistently delicious, inventive food, slick service and great value, it's no surprise I keep coming back for more! Congrats on making it into the Top 10 - a well-deserved accomplishment!
This is a fabulous restaurant. We went for lunch on the 1st of May and the food was outstanding (one of the most delicious meals I have had in ages). It is also incredibly good value for money and very child friendly. I can't wait to go back.
Just beautiful, calm and interesting decor and food that was beyond exceptional. Portion sizes just right and the option of reasonably priced wine by the glass means that one can have your own food and wine pairing without needing to do the formal 6 course food and wine pairing.
Beautiful setting, impeccable service, and the food takes you on a gastronomic journey. The kitchen staff clearly takes great pride in their work, and we particularly enjoyed watching the chefs in action which adds a sense of theatre to an otherwise perfect setting. We will most definitely return.
Fabulous! The decor and ambience are wonderful and the food is even better!
Lunch at Pierneef a la Motte is always special in my opinion. Have dined here a few times and have always had great meals. The menu is rather carnivorous but I always manage to find a vegetarian option! We ordered a garden salad (large) to share. It was a herb salad with nuts and roast vegetables. It was tasty but was 80% lettuce leaves and not much of anything else. This is where the disappointment ended! I ordered a caramelised baby onion, apple and sage tarte. It was absolutely delicious! Beautifully textured tart with a hint of sage. I ordered a side of roast vegetables which complimented the tart perfectly. My husband ordered the preserved lemon and rosemary braised Karoo lamb shank, he said it was very tasty and tender. Our meal was complimented with La Motte wine. Our waitress was attentive, friendly and very knowledgeable about the menu. Chris Erasmus is an incredible chef with such interesting menu choices. I always pop into the farm shop on leaving, to stock up on some delicious cakes.
Have been wanting to get to La Motte for the past year and never got round to it, so when the opportunity to eat in Franschhoek arose today, that was the ultimate choice.
The setting is quite surprising, did not expect such comfortable fun decor. Love the ambience and the service. The food was a big yes with a big but, for some reason, some elements of the plates were totally delicious and surprising, but some other had no place on the plate... almost in a weird way. My highlight was the "pig's sult" dish which was no other than a delicious fromage de tete. Big portions of food though.
Will go back but maybe stick to starters only.
I had the most amazing dinner and breakfast at this restaurant. The standard of food is comparable to anywhere in the world. It is an absolute must when visiting Cape Town
Had dinner here last night. A fantastic experience with great service! Well done to the whole team!
The service on two occasions has been appauling, abyssmal, horrible.
It’s a stunning setting to go to while away on a Sunday afternoon! The service was very good - attentive but not overbearing. As a table of five, we all enjoyed our starters. As far as mains go, the lamb shank special of the day was fantastic. An interesting twist combining it with crayfish. Although the line fish tasted delicious, it was unfortunately very soft, erring on mushy. I would be tempted to say it was almost certainly frozen. It would be nice if they could source fresh fish. The porcini roast venison loin was cooked to perfection, but the watermelon and amber braai sauce reduction was very sweet - I'd say too sweet to pair it with meat. Don't interpret these comments as to take away from the experience - Pierneef is well worth the trip from Cape Town. I suppose at the end of the day, the chef’s interpretation of great food is bound to sometimes diverge from one’s own.
Unbelievably consistent and amazing!
Would like to get the email address of La Motte and the restaurant Pierneef email address please.
What a beauty. It is the perfect package. You read and order from a very clean well explained menu, and when you see the dish in front of you it is exactly what you have prepared yourself for mentally, but extra love, passion and do much more. The service is excellent, the atmosphere always changes with the weather. When it is cold and rainy, the restaurant is warm and cozy. When it is hot, you feel the fresh mountain breeze, and the shadows of the outside trees are well appreciated. The wine served cold and crisp or at perfect room temperature is affordable and always delicious. This is a must to go to, and we will definitively be back for more.
I had the pleasure of dining at Pierneef a La Motte last night. And what a pleasure it was! The venue is absolutely exquisite with no detail overlooked. I was pleasantly surprised by the approachable menu and reasonable prices. I loved that you could order any item off the menu as a starter or main portion. The food was excellent with the amouse-bouche (pickled tongue and green bean salad with kudu and apricot tartlet) possibly being the highlight of my meal. My yellow fin tuna Nicoise salad was exceptional as was my sirloin with wood sorrels. The meat was slightly tough but that is par for the course with sirloin. I was slightly disappointed by the “textures of chocolate” which I had for dessert. However, that could be due to the lack of description I managed to gain from the waitress or the menu. Overall, the food was fantastic, the ambience perfect but I thought the service did not match the rest of the experience and is not quite worthy of a “Top 10” rating. It was not terrible but the empty plates lingered on the table longer than they should have, wine glasses were not topped up regularly enough and our waitress lacked menu and wine list knowledge. Overall, a good dining experience though and I will definitely return.