Venues

The Restaurant at Grande Provence

The Restaurant at Grande Provence
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Cost
R395 A la carte and Set lunch Menu;R695 A la carte and Set dinner Menu; R1500 for Grande Provence gourmand degustation menu with wine (includes 2 imported wines)
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Fine-dining food, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
500
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Critic's review

Linda Scarborough

Food
Grande Provence is a good place to bring out-of-towners. It lives up to its name, with a winding approach off the main road, spectacular views of rolling vineyards and mountains, and beautiful heritage buildings. The food makes use of classic French techniques, but plays with modern flavours from around the world and closer to home, too.

After some breads and dips, a starter of black risotto with wild mushrooms abounds with savoury flavours, with a petite portion of confit free-range chicken thigh nestled amongst the fungi. One of the highlights of the meal arrives early on in the form of butter-poached lobster. It’s deftly and delicately prepared, with subtle flavours of ponzu, kombu and dill, and served on a bed of quinoa. Vegetarians have a goat’s cheese croquette on offer, served with pickled baby beets and rooibos gel. Those wanting to try more local flavours will enjoy the confit guinea fowl with estate shiraz bouillon, and there’s a delicious-sounding 62-degree hen’s egg with pork belly and hollandaise for the breakfast-for-dinner fans.

Moving onto mains, a dish of tender and beautifully prepared 18-hour sous-vide lamb with toasted barley and pickled butternut will prove popular for comfort eaters, while the farmed cob is lighter and subtly fragrant with coconut laksa, smoked crab butter, and baby vegetables. The vegetarian ‘fool’s truffles’ of carrot-and-pine-nut purée with cauliflower gratin and baked rosa tomatoes, and 12-hour sous-vide beef cheek with smoked pommes, confit pearl onions and mushrooms round out the offering.

For dessert, the cheese course is as far from crackers and cheddar as possible. Various cheeses are whipped into froth and curled into shavings, served with a crisp of parma ham. Sadly, the promised maple-and-ginger glazed mosbolletjie doughnut is absent on the day of our visit, with no explanation. Another option to end the meal, the hot fondant sphere, is regrettably rather cold on the inside, and arrives with an unexpected crumbed crust, aerated espresso crème, red-velvet cake crumbles, and a clumsy plastic squirter filled with Amarula.

Unlike some other fine dining experiences nearby and closer to the city, a three-course meal at Grande Provence is just that. No special amuse-bouches or palate cleansers between courses, or petit fours to end. So it does seem quite expensive at the price.

Drinks
The drinks list is impressively arranged, with an index to help you find what you’re looking for. All the reds and whites are from the estate, with a sprinkling of real champagnes, but this is no hardship. The Grande Provence chardonnay is particularly delicious, although pricey at R75 a glass. Each dish on the menu has a suggested wine for pairing, which is very helpful whether you’re having one glass or many.

Service
Staff are extremely sweet, but could be better trained and informed about what’s on the plate. The manager is present, but does not stop at all tables to check in.

Ambience
The dining room is elegant, light and comfortable, with a crackling fireplace and banquette seating down one side. White ostrich leather and lime green touches make it feel fresh and modern. Glass doors open out onto the outside seating area, which is first prize on warm days.

And…
Dedicate an hour to walking off your lunch in the beautiful gardens or the gallery, eyeing the good selection of modern South African art.

(July 2016)

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

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Hetta van Deventer Terblanche

    Food
    Darren Badenhorst is a talented young chef who creates modern fine-dining food and draws inspiration from many other world cuisines. His food is beautifully presented, without sacrificing taste. He has an harmonious approach to playing with different textures and flavours on the plate, knowing exactly when to stop. Lunch and dinner offer a three course menu option, but for dinner little surprise tastings are offered in-between courses. The menu follows the seasons, but you may experience delectable dishes such as ocean risotto with barrel-smoked langoustine, white mussels, seaweed brittle, turmeric confit patagonica and crab. Salt-cured duck dim sum in a ginger flavoured umami-rich broth is just the thing to warm up a winters’ evening. The menu offers a variety of meats, game and vegetarian dishes. Dessert is a highlight – you may find honey bavarois or spheres of chocolate mousse. If there is a comment to be made on this almost faultless menu offering, it is a request for more emphasis on local products, sensitivity towards Sassi green listed fish and less imported ingredients.

    Drinks
    Wine recommendations accompany all dishes. The wine list draws exclusively from the Grande Province portfolio, at a 100% mark-up on the cellar door price.

    Service
    Service is attentive, warm and friendly. Staff members are knowledgeable about the menu and wine.

    Ambience
    The outside area, shaded with trees and decorated with exquisite art and water features, is beautiful and perfect for lunch or a sultry evening. The restaurant features a modern style, with comfortable high back chairs, dark smoky hues of grey and blue contrasted by crisp white. It is an elegant space, a mixture of modern chic blended with industrial touches.

    And..
    Get family and friends together and book a traditional French-inspired rustic picnic lunch during the summer months (Nov-Apr) to soak up the exquisite beauty of Grande Provence and the Franschhoek Valley.

  • Hetta van Deventer Terblanche

    Food
    Darren Badenhorst is a talented young chef who creates modern fine-dining food drawing inspiration from many other cuisines. His food is beautifully presented without sacrificing taste, and his harmonious approach to texture and flavour means he knows exactly when to stop.

    Lunch and dinner offer a three-course menu option, and for dinner little surprise tastings are served between courses. The menu follows the seasons, but you can expect delectable dishes such as ocean risotto with barrel-smoked langoustine, white mussels, seaweed brittle, turmeric confit patagonica and crab. Salt-cured duck dim sum in a ginger-flavoured umami-rich broth is just the thing to warm up a winter’s evening. The menu offers a variety of meat, game and vegetarian dishes.
    Dessert is a highlight: you may find honey bavarois or spheres of chocolate mousse on the menu. If there is a comment to be made on this almost faultless menu offering, it is a request for more emphasis on local products, sensitivity towards Sassi green-listed fish and fewer imported ingredients.

    Drinks
    Wine recommendations accompany all dishes. The wine list draws exclusively from the Grande Provence portfolio, at a 100% mark-up on the cellar door price.

    Service
    Service is attentive, warm and friendly. Staff members are knowledgeable about the menu and wine.

    Ambience
    The beautiful outside area, shaded with trees and decorated with exquisite art and water features, is perfect for lunch or a sultry evening meal. The restaurant features a modern style, with comfortable high-back chairs, and dark, smoky hues of grey and blue contrasted by crisp white. It is an elegant space, a mixture of modern chic blended with industrial touches.

    And…
    Get family and friends together and book a traditional French-inspired rustic picnic lunch during the summer months (from November to April) to soak up the exquisite beauty of Grande Provence and the Franschhoek Valley.

    (June 2015)

  • Eat Out

    Food 
    Headed by chef Darren Badenhorst, Grande Provence serves modern food bursting with flavours and textures, and prettily plated to boot. For dinner, the tasting menu comes with all the trimmings: an amuse bouche, palate cleanser and pre-dessert. The menu changes according to the seasons, but you may experience delights such as pulled Karoo lamb fashioned into a crispy croquette and served with smoked tomato and charred harissa. On the dessert side of things, the 'Galaxy of Textures' will have any chocolate lover weak at the knees: dig into espresso mousse served with macadamia nuts, morello cherries and some sparkly gold and silver leaf sprinkles.

    Drinks 
    The wine list and pairing suggestions on the tasting menu are dominated by estate wines. This is is no hardship, as anyone who knows the farm’s fine wines will tell you.

    Service 
    The attitude is friendly and unassuming, although it could do with a bit of attention to detail.

    Ambience 
    Deep blue-grey colours and snazzy white leather high-backed chairs make for a stylish, industrial space. The outside area beneath the enormous acorn tree, among the impressive statues and a bubbly fountain, makes for a relaxed dining experience.

    And...
    There’s lots to do here. Start your visit with a wine tasting at the smart tasting room, and don’t forget to have a look around the edgy art gallery.

    (August 2014)

  • Food
    New young chef Darren Badenhorst is adding his own stamp to the excellent cuisine one expects from this venue. Starters include fabulous Cajun-spiced soft shell crab with red pepper aioli; rich tom yum goong risotto with shellfish cream; and a teriyaki duck and wild mushroom broth served with a smoky prawn wonton – all of which are great. Mains include braised pork belly with apricot and apple crumble; bone marrow chicken ballotine with pommes duchesse; and roast quail with truffled gnocchi. Everything is most imaginatively presented; almost too good-looking to eat.

    Wine
    The award winning wines of the estate are the focal point.

    Service
    Professional and friendly. It’s great having staff who know how the food is prepared.

    Ambience
    The restaurant is delightfully modern, with long skinny windows looking out onto the vineyards and French doors opening into the courtyard. The atmosphere is one of elegant simplicity on which plenty of money has been spent. The room is light and airy, making for an atmosphere of total relaxation, in an area where they specialise in that sort of thing. When the weather is great, outdoors is the place to be, right next to the little pond.

    And...
    Do a tasting before your meal and take some wine home. (GL, October 2012)

User reviews

  • My wife took me here for a nice birthday dinner on Friday and we had a great time. Excellent food and service and the ambience is great with the nice fireplace. Oh and they make a brilliant Shiraz.

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  • Very nice place with most incredible food. Wines were good too.

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  • We got there for late lunch, still being able to order at 15,00. Sat outside and it has cleared up on the end, which certainly enhanced our experience. I opted for two starters - risotto with shrimp and quail with various curried additions. Both were excellent, though I would prefer if they simply leave salt on the table so I can add that to taste. My partner's kingklip with nice additions (like spicy fish ravioli) was just brilliant. Only the service was somehow aloof and I waited for my wine glass forever. Otherwise 100% perfection.

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  • Absolutely fabulous. The food was fantastic with Darren creating a one-off starter dish for my husband; service and ambience superb. Did not get to see wine list as we were guests but what was chosen was great. Will be back.

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  • The Restaurant at Grande Provence undoubtedly serves the best food we have had in South Africa ever. Must have been there at least 10 times in the past year, and have always had superb food. Expensive, but worth every single cent. Very highly recommended

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  • My mother, aged 76, hosted a lunch at Grande Provence last Saturday. We were lucky enough to enjoy the private dining room which was an experience that none of us will forget.
    There are times when you go out to eat and there are times when you eat out. We ate out, and none of us will ever forget the experience. There are also times when you have an experience that you cannot quantify, simply because it has been so good and so memorable. The Restaurant at Grande Provence, with Darren Roberts at the helm - well, you are in the presence of a master. He conducts himself with superlative grace - his touch is not trivial, nor contrived.
    Without a doubt, this was the most outstanding experience I have had in many years - do yourself a favour and put it on your bucket list.

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  • I loved this restaurant but I feel the quality and flavour has been slipping over the last year. I had the beetroot carpachio and the the flavour lacked depth and flavour. I feel Darren needs to take a step back and reevaluate the menu and flavours! Other than that a pleasant visit
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  • My wife and I recently returned from a two week vacation touring the Cape of South Africa. There were many highlights, including Table Mountain, Robin Island, the V&A waterfront as well as a short stint along the beautiful Garden Route. We dined like kings whilst in Cape Town and surrounding Wine lands at places like The Round House, Waterkloof, The Common Room at Le Quatier Francais, and Overture, however the one that stood out the most for us was Grande Provence in Franschhoek. The surrounds, architecture, attention to detail were simply world class. One could forgive it if the food was not up to standard however this was not the case. We dine out regularly in London and for us Grande Provence was the closest we came to experiencing Michelin starred food in an environment worthy of its status. Standout dishes were the caramelized eel and foie gras terrine, prawn tom yum risotto was everything you would expect from a fusion of Asian ingredients and European cooking techniques. Plates were beautifully presented and service was discreet and extremely professional.All in all not cheap but worth every cent we paid. We don’t normally write about our experiences but felt Grande Provence was just such a highlight.
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  • My husband received a prize of Chefs Surpise Dinner for four at Grande Provence. What a treat! What that brilliant chef served us needs to be called something other than food. It was sublime! Every dish and nuance was so delicate, brilliantly paired with the most unbelievable wines. The only other restaurant I can compare it to is one outside Paris which is known to be one of the best in France. Congrats to Grande Provence and Darren, the quite excellent chef. Our waiter was charming, graceful and clued up about what was served. Thank you to them all for a stunning experience!
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  • What a pity this restaurant was so empty for Sunday lunch. We ate here before in the summer, and it was busy. Hard to believe that a top ten place can be so quiet (only 4 tables occupied.) Our lunch for 5 was a pure delight again. Service by local staff was knowledgeable - a pleasure. All dishes - sublime. Great attention to detail on the plate. Warm and very comfortable decor. Well worth the money for the quality of food. A special place that deserves more patronage.
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  • Grande Provence was a wine farm, albeit a good one, back in the good old days of university when we were young and unimpressionable. We could barely afford the petrol getting there, but we scraped the barrel and had a fine time imbibing the finer things in life. Now that we are older and wiser with a little more credit, (and credibility hopefully), a group of us intent on reliving our youth, decided to descend on Grande Provence, for old times sake. Our experiences could not have been more different. The wine is still superlative, the setting still breathtaking. The one thing that stood out was The Restaurant. Darren Roberts, executive chef, produces miracles that push the envelope and did not disappoint. He obviously runs a very tight ship that is seamless in its delivery. His food is sublime, carefully constructed and even for a bunch of old soaks such as us we recognised the pure visionary talent we were presented with. We will be back, and next time, we will make sure that we stay in this magical place so that we can enjoy it more.
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  • Lunch at was an unbelievably disappointing! After hearing some great reviews we thought wed try it. It was also supposed to be a celebration of a special occassion for our guests. I was so entirely embarassed by the lack of service at such a highly regarded restaurant. The waiters were non-existent and unprofessional! I had to constantly look for a waiter to place our orders even for an aperitif! They also have no clue of what is presented on menu and no presentation of the menu and when the food arrived we had to pass on the food around the table. The food was also highly disappointing! And the flies! I have had much better at lesser Franschhoek restaurants! Never again...
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  • The outside dining area is a sensitive mix of enchanted garden, art gallery and al fresco dining whilst the inside is French flair meets the steel industry. Service is friendly and well trained and it is refreshing to see staff from the local community who are well trained and up to speed with what guests want in this level of restaurant. The service was comfortably fast. The menu is filled with far too many, unnecessary and obscure French words for a non-French speaking person like me. The breadth of culinary experiences presented on the menu is however very impressive. The presentation is simple and elegant whilst a sensitive balance of quantity on the plate was maintained in the entire array of dishes that we ordered. I started with “slow braised lamb neck with creamy polenta , spinach and glazed vegetables with sauce braisage”. I had no idea what “sauce braisage” was but was totally willing to take my chances and what a triumph this was. A densely flavoured dish of the most tender lamb I have tasted in a long time. 3 roulades of meat surrounded by freshly picked vegetables and a sturdy reduction of sauces made cleaning the plate with the rather average bread compulsory. My “fresh line fish with lobster boudin blanc” was surprisingly tart and somewhat more acidic than I was expecting but nevertheless totally delicious. I now also know that “boudin” refers to something ‘sausage-like’. So I continue my life’s learning. The comments about the other dishes at the table were all just as positive as mine and this lunch was utterly delightful. We all selected champagne crème chiboust with liquid raspberry centre, champagne foam and pistachio tuille and once again we hit the jackpot. My espresso was perfectly made with the crema supporting the sugar as required. So few restaurants get this right. At R280 for a 3 course meal, this is not a budget restaurant, but still worth every cent. I have already made my next reservation and can’t wait.
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  • This was the absolute highlight of a weekend of wining and dining in Franschhoek and I cannot rate The Restaurant at Grande Provence highly enough - it was one of those truly memorable meals. The decor is gorgeous with clean, sophisticated lines, the service polite and attentive and the food, well, just go there and try it. Fresh flavours combine beautifully and magically, leaving you wanting more yet eager to try everything else on offer! Presentation is perfect and portions are spot on - allowing you to enjoy, appetites willing, a three, four or five course meal.This place is just brilliant - a sophisticated yet relaxed fine dining experience and I hope to see it amongst Eat Outs Top 10 this year.
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  • Thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, including our overseas guests who were mesmerised by the whole experience! The food, service and ambience - along with the outstanding band - was just fabulous!
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  • Dining on a Tuesday evening meant we were offered the degustation menu, five truly beautiful courses plus an “amuse” and a divine spiced orange palette cleansing sorbet.It was one of the best meals we have had in a very long time. Faultless in every way.Flavours are sensuous and exciting, the tomato water a real tour de force.An example would be the fillet of cob served on a chorizo and herb risotto it was outstanding. Estate wines perfectly accompanied each course.The Staff are friendly welcoming knowledgeable and extremely professional. The chef introduced himself at the end of the evening to ensure we had enjoyed our meal.Mention must also be made of the restaurants décor, surely if there were an award for these things Grande Provence would set the standard.
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  • It was a great pleasure being at Grande Provence again and enjoying your super hospitality! I hope to see you and the amazing team again soon! I would also like to wish you & Grande Provence a wonderful season ahead.
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  • Its too often that restaurants only hear complaints and so I thought I should let you know how much my family have been enjoying yours.We’ve always loved the ambiance with the gallery and gardens and lately (on three very different occasions) the food really has been really great.Quite by chance we had your tasting menu a few weeks ago. We have been put off tasting menus as they have been either beautifully arranged small bits that don’t taste like anything (and the men go home and get into the fridge) or too experimental – odd flavours! But yours was fantastic from the beginning to the end and perfectly proportioned (although the desserts ere over the top and I couldn’t finish them – but so delicious)!Definitely the best restaurant in Franschhoek!PS The lit fires outside look so beautiful on a winter’s evening!
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  • As a top ten restaurant we expected more from this well known establishment. The service was fantastic and we were a rowdy group of eight that was warmly welcomed and diligently attended to. However, the wine list was extremely limited, thankfully we had a car full of wine from a few neighboring farms but they charged us a R70 corkage fee, not the R30 as advertised on this site. The food was OK but not anything like the standard weve come to expect from other brilliant top ten restaurants in the country. At R350 a head, excluding wine, we felt a little ripped off. To have the odd disappointing meal now and again is reasonable, but when all eight guests are equally disappointed with every course Id say its a sign. Ill be surprised in this spot is on the top ten again, and if it is Ill begin doubting the validity of the selection process.
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  • Without a doubt one of my most disappointing food experiences. Went in with high expectations due to The Restaurants many accolades and left unsatisfied (and still hungry!)Portions are tiny although its just as well because food is almost unpalatable.My fish was not fresh and was overcooked, at that. The sauce was neither rich nor tasty. My starter of corn broth with prawn tempura was a match that ought never to have been made. The wine list is limiting and disappointing and, at R70 for corkage, unacceptable. Heard people at the next table saying they were as disappointed as us.What a waste of money.
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  • Took an unplanned lunchtime trip to Franschhoek and not at all surprised to fail, on spec, to get into the other Top 10 awards lunchtime restaurant (the excellent Tasting Room is dinner only). Astonished to be able to walk into The Restaurant and have our pick of tables as the place was almost completely deserted - was this a hint?It probably was as there was no welcome, no one in charge, service only adequate, food nice enough - ok but not OK! (let alone great), estate wines very nice and exceptionally reasonable, building and grounds stunning.Maybe it was an off day or we missed the point; well possibly try again but mainly in respect for its high recognition in this years awards.
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  • I was invited to a sunday lunch by a group of friends. I enjoyed the set up, the vibe, not the size of the microportions and the sunday menu with 3 starter choices, 3 main course and 3 dessert choices is a disappointment. A Chef and restaurant with so many nominations I think should offer a full menu also on sundays.
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  • This is a lovely setting and sitting outside with this weather is beautiful.We were encouraged to come for reason of the recent review. Our lunch was the orange glazed fish. It looked nice on the plate but what a small portion. The fish was about 11cm long x 2cm thick and 6cm wide, so a very small portion. The fillet was as big as a extra large egg and cut wrong against the grain; this was also a very small portion but presented beautifully. All this for the price of R92 and R110 If the taste would match the price and the presentation than it would be OK, but it was not.In comparison with other top CT restaurants the food was under average. The staff was friendly and the service too.
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  • I can honestly say that I have died and gone to heaven. Last night I ate at The Restaruant and had an absolutely amazing meal, the attention to detail and the flavors of the food were world class. I have eaten all over the world and rate this chef up there. Peter is cooking at a 2 michelin star level without a doubt. This is the best food in South Africa at the moment, for sure. The wine unfortunately does not quite hit the hights of the food, but is still quite good for the price. Service was attentive and polite. I would definately recommend this place to any food guru. Brilliant!!!!
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  • The food is excellent with a lot of attention to details, world class! However the wine list is sadly limited to the estate wines, with very limited choice especially if two wines are out of stock! there is a samal list of non estate wines that has a choice of about 6 well known South African wines, but with no imagination. The wine list is a let down. The staff is very friendly and efficient but seem to lack training with regards to the menu. Otherwise it is a great restaurant, the food is exceptional, bring your own though.
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Specials

Picnic for two at Grande Provence

Traditional French-inspired rustic picnic for two: ZAR 275.00 per person sharing. Single basket applicable R325 per person
(only available from 01 March 2016 – 30 April 2016 and 01 November 2016 – 30 April 2017, weather dependent).

Father's Day at Grande Provence

Tuck into a special menu with starter options like butter-poached barbecue lobster or confit guinea fowl; mains of sous-vide Karoo lamb neck or cauliflower gratin with rosa tomatoes; and a dessert of chocolate-and-hazelnut pot de crème. The cost of the lunch is R395 per person and includes a gift of buchu whisky liqueur and a wine-tasting voucher for two. Booking is essential.

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Wheelchair

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