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The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français

Cost
R875 for eight-course tasting menu (R1 390 with wine); R940 for an 8-course African-Inspired Surprise menu (R1 495 with wine)
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
African, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Write a Review
500
2016 top 10
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Critic's review

John Maytham

Food
Margot Janse has been at the helm of The Tasting Room, in its various iterations, for more than 20 years, and her restlessly inventive culinary imagination shows no signs of flagging. (She will, however, be leaving The Tasting Room at the end of April 2017.)

The eight-course African surprise menu changes regularly according to what locally sourced ingredients are available to be bought or foraged. What never changes is the technical perfection of the preparation in the kitchen, the delightful harmony and aesthetic unity of the presentation, and the wow factor on the palate.

Margot says, “I have no signature dish; South Africa is my signature,” but there would be riots from the regulars if the evening did not start with the corn bread baked in a Lucky Star pilchards tin and served with brown butter.

Highlights might be a potjie with sweetcorn custard of exceptional lightness of texture and depth of flavour, popcorn made from Madagascan peppercorns, and crunchy kohlrabi pickled in hibiscus water. Different colours, textures and flavours all come together perfectly.

Beetroot soup sees puréed beetroot served in two gelled spheres which, when broken, ooze unctuous, creamy beetroot onto a plate, with Granny Smith cubes and almonds waiting to add texture and background notes. A quail egg is dusted with burnt potato powder and placed next to a bird’s nest made from a savoury version of kaitafi and filled with buffalo mozzarella and braised seeds. Exquisite to look at; equally exquisite to eat.

A triumphant sweet finish is added by Dutch potato: buchu-and-passion-fruit ice cream in a white-chocolate shell, placed on roots made from white chocolate and cardamom, and dark chocolate mud. It’s whimsical, but the team nails it.

Drinks
The wine list is extensive and concentrates on the wines of the Franschhoek valley, but with leading examples of producers from other regions. The mark-ups are what you’d expect from a restaurant of this distinction. A lot of careful though and tasting goes into the wine-pairing suggestions.

Service
The staff are all locals, and many of them have been working at The Tasting Room for years. Their knowledge of the food, and their pride in it, is infectious. They’re engaging and very efficient

Ambience
The focus is on the plate: everything else is kept to a minimal and tasteful background level.

And...
Listen discreetly to the waiters teaching international visitors a smattering of Afrikaans and Xhosa, as often happens. It’s charming and fun.

(September 2016)

Eat Out critics arrive unannounced and pay their way in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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  • Ishay Govender-Ypma

    Food
    In 2015 Margot Janse celebrates a brilliant 20 years at The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français. Over this time, Margot, with the support of (former) hands-on owner Susan Huxter, has ensured that the restaurant has regularly appeared on the World's Best Restaurants list.

    The Tasting Room specialises in telling an essentially South African story: many dishes are composed of ingredients found in the Franschhoek area, either from local farmers and artisans, or foraged by the staff. The preparation techniques are on par with any top restaurant kitchen around the world.

    Dining here is an experience not to be rushed: over three-and-half hours, an energetic young team presents no less than eight courses. Within moments of you sitting down, an array of small snacks arrives. These bites – macarons, churros, madeleines or meringues – might look sweet, but they are usually savoury, intensely flavoured and will have your taste buds revving.

    Margot finds inspiration in South Africa, interpreting local scenes in dishes like a Day at the Beach, a fish dish with seaweed, refreshing Eugenia (foraged on the property’s garden), buchu and Natal wild plums.

    The team works magic with the duck too, in the form of a local Joostenberg vlakte bird baked in salt, and served with boerekinders, buckwheat and wild rosemary.

    Dessert serves up sensual tableside drama with the sensual pouring of honey-bush caramel over a boabab shell that cracks open to reveal coconut sherbet. The menu changes regularly, so it's best to go in with no preconceptions, and allow the team to take you on their culinary journey. It's a pricey one and best enjoyed when shared with a loved one, perhaps even extended with an overnight stay.

    Drinks
    An extensive range of South African wines is thoughtfully presented, with some focus on sister property Môreson's offerings. The Solitaire or even old-faithful Miss Molly bubbly are fun ways to start. The sommelier will guide you on wine pairings for the menu.

    Service
    Winner of the 2015 Service Excellence Award. You’ll be met by superbly trained staff; they’re friendly and chatty without being intrusive. It isn't uncommon to hear guests burst into laughter as the waiters engage them with stories. Bookings run a few months in advance and credit card details must be supplied to secure the reservation, as is the case with most fine dining establishments internationally.

    Ambience
    It’s a well designed space, sparse but elegant. There are no tablecloths or oppressive décor to distract from the cuisine – the idea is to allow the food to do the talking.

    (September 2015)

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  • Eat Out

    Food
    So much of what chef Margot Janse does defies description, but one thing is certain: she’s pushing the envelope in showcasing unique South African flavours. This is culinary storytelling at its best. The African surprise menu is a playful, innovative feast of visual surprises. Strong techniques and flavours back up dramatic, striking presentation. A soup course comes in the form of a small pile of octopus, daikon and mushrooms nestled under a leaf of dehydrated sorrel that resembles a nori sheet. Over this is poured a cucumber and horseradish consommé, creating a fantastic rock pool of flavours and textures. A serving of salt-baked guava with pork belly and chickweed may just be the best bite of pork you’ll have all year, while cured kabeljou with homemade ‘mussel’ is bursting with intense maritime flavours. Sweet confections reimagined as savoury – fynbos macarons, a ‘chocolate bar’ of foie gras – are delightful. Eating here is a magical adventure, and Margot is the master waving
    her wand.

    Wine
    A wine list of local producers seems to be aimed more at foreign diners, with prices to match, but the pairing suggestions are inspired. The bar serves wonderful, unique cocktails made from homemade infused syrups.

    Service
    Impeccable, making this restaurant a deserving winner of this year’s Grolsch Service Excellence Award. Confident, informed and friendly staff are eager to explain the intricacies of each dish.

    Ambience
    Step into an understated, uncomplicated dining room. The comfortable and uncluttered style creates the perfect backdrop to better appreciate the bold, interesting dishes.

    Comments by the 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards judges

    “Margot is at the top of her game and is clearly having a lot of fun.” – Reuben Riffel

    “Consistently genius food dazzles and thrills with a magical element of surprise.” – Abigail Donnelly

    (August 2014)

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  • Anelde Greeff

    Food
    It’s rather tricky to write about the food of this top restaurant – not just because it’s so brilliant that at times words escape you, but also because the menu changes every day. So the magic you experience today, might well be surpassed by something even more delectable the next. It’s an African surprise menu served as five or eight courses, where chef Margot Janse take diners on an adventure through the culinary landscape of this part of the world. En route you will be hear, see, smell and taste the story of many local ingredients – venison, waterblommetjies, mebos, sour fig, baobab, buchu and more – masterfully plated by the chef and her team and beautifully presented by the friendly service staff. If you’re lucky, your meal will start with a ball of beetroot filled with buttermilk labneh alongside a dill and cucumber granita. Then, you might come across a nettle soup with dainty Jerusalem artichokes and a smear of granadilla, followed by lamb cheek and tongue, aubergine, black garlic and amaranth, give or take a course or two on either side. And to end, you will hopefully get to experience the awesome (in the true sense of the word) coconut dome with honeybush, baobab and caramel. Delectable.

    Wine
    As expected, the wine list is incredible. The team is brilliant at recommending something to suit your taste and plate, if you don’t go for the wine pairing option, which is definitely your best bet.

    Service
    It’s rare that service staff can strike such a perfect balance between friendly and professional. Between serving masterpieces from the kitchen and topping up your wine without you noticing, they are able to share entertaining anecdotes about the food in front of you. You might learn about the winemaker and his dog or why the baobab is called the upside-down tree. It makes for an utterly enjoyable experience.

    Ambience
    The tables are unadorned by linen and elaborate centerpieces, keeping things unfussy but infinitely cool and comfortable. The colour palette with slate grey, crimson and acid green is bold and funky, and there are special touches like custom-made crockery.

    And...
    Make sure to stop for a cocktail at the bar before or after dinner. It’s not everyday that one comes across a custom-made Pimms infusion or earl grey gin and tonic. (September 2013)
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User reviews

  • You're probably thinking should I take the plunge and fork out for one of South Africa's, actually one of the worlds most prestigious restaurant? I'm sure for those of you reading this review, it means nothing based on the 100's of excellent reviews on Trip Advisor, but if you knew anything about me you would know I am one of the most passionate foodies you would ever meet. It is very seldom that I will bad mouth a restaurant or write a scathing review based on their food. My theory is if you don't like it then don't go back, but... Never in my life have I been so disgusted, appalled and enraged by the substandard quality of food produced by the acclaimed Margot Janse Before I continue I need to stress that the service is top notch and the staff are very knowledgeable. Do I however expect more from a world class restaurant when it comes to service and decor? Probably yes. A promising start that went from bad to worse. A rather unfortunate and embarrassing experience when the best item on your menu is the complimentary bread and butter. From bitter broccoli purée to acerbic sorbet. Uncooked keenwa to flavorless duck with a flabby, rubbery skin and an accompaniment so overpowering it will forever remain offensive to my palette. Cold quail with a dusty charcoal undertone to unseasoned, uninspiring pre-sliced gemsboks still requiring a sharp knife to cut through what appeared to be a beautifully well-cooked piece of meat, yet upon entry revealing to be a measly, rubbery morsel sanctioning my mouth to a feeling of having just run a marathon. I feel it is of absolute necessity to compliment the heavenly cheese plate - served with its creamy, buttery texture with a dulcet apple and honey pairing. I overheard the waiter say that the cheese was sourced from a local farm in Darling. Perhaps more items off the menu should be bought in? How I longed for a sweet ending as I did with my dessert but instead all I got was what resembled a box of processed Romany creams accompanied with a harsh caustic Buchu ice-cream. I know this review might sound harsh but I've idolized Margot Janse for many years and this was my first opportunity to experience her dining. Perhaps my palette is not refined enough for her highly celebrated menu of maybe her time as come and goose has been cooked! If you are lucky enough to be a local or traveling from abroad, please do not waste your hard earned bucks here. Do yourself a favor and try the likes of La Colombe or The Cellars. Stay delicious
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  • Wow!!! This is one of the most amazing experiences we've had in quite some time! Great service, delicate, artistic food and spot-on wine pairings. Definitely a must-do destination.
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  • I think being a foodie-you always think you know that have have the last laugh, the ability to survey on top and state that this one close as it may is not quite the mark. I visit LQF last year during winter and while I was preparing to be underwhelmed by the experience, was positively balled over by the synthesis of design, delivery and detail. It was like a symphonic opera of the palate, eyes and mind (with the witty, direction and assistance by staff). You have not eaten in South Africa, until you have eaten at LQF.
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  • Not my cup of tea when it comes to food, but I wouldn't knock off more than a star for that as the skill and quality is clearly there. Ambience was decent, though a little loud at times, and they had us staring directly into the sun for the first 15 mins of our meal. The servers even commented on how they were trying to avoid the sun, yet left us there to face the window. The was easy to get over and I generally would not even think of this as an issue had it not been for the rest of the night. Regarding the service: I don't know if it was just us or if things have changed drastically. The day started off well as we showed up early in the day without reservations and they were able to take us in. That was unexpected and quite exciting! From then on it was mostly downhill. We probably had over 5 servers serve our dishes throughout the night, all of whom had little personality and not much to say beyond the descriptions of the dishes (though we did notice other servers offering great service, that was not our experience at all). We were the first in the restaurant at 7pm when they had us come in. All started off very well and good with no problems and servers seemed vigilant in ensuring that we had the correct dishes and that none of the dishes had any of the things that met our few dietary restrictions. By the 5th course they simply stopped saying anything and we always had to ask. Probably because we kept getting different servers. We waited at least half an hour between multiple courses. Sure, if the restaurant is crowded and we are sitting there talking and drinking our wine, that would be fine, but we were not drinking on this particular night, and noticed that nearly half of the restaurant had left before we did (keep in mind we were the firsts ones to arrive). The waiting was beyond unacceptable. Had someone come up to us once and apologized or even acknowledged our wait, it would have been much less of an issue, but nothing. Oh and the kicker is the R600/persons mentioned above would have been great! Now that they're rated among the top restaurants in SA they changed R850/head and R450 for the wine pairings (keeping in mind you can do wine tasting for as little as R25 in the surrounding farms). Hopefully your experience will be different, but I think at least the service and ambience are way overrated. Like I said, personally did not think much of the food but I won't knock them because others seem to like it do much he.
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  • Way over priced at R600/head especially as I only ate two of the five courses. Although adventurous and creative, I found the food too processed. It caught me at the back of my throat.

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  • My hubby and I recently did a Top 10 Restaurants in SA Tour (according to Eat Out Mag) and we dined at The Tasting Room! Wow! What an awesome experience! Food was amazing! Nothing like we've ever seen before! The service was impeccable. All the restaurant staff are so knowledgable about the food! 10 out of 10 for the food, experience and service!

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  • Second stop on our culinary trip to CT was Margot Janse's kingdom (or is is "queendom"?) at Le Quartier. This lady takes your taste buds to complete new creative level! Impossible to single out any course, and the wine pairing very close to perfect. This is an experience unequalled in South Africa, and should be on every food lover's bucket list.

    (Note, Personally, I find the interior not particulary charming, but it does not jeopardise the experience!)

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  • This was probably the best dining experience I've ever had. The service, food and ambience were all top notch. Every mystery course surpassing the last, while our waiter Harry, who was friendly and professional, explained the many ingredients and stories that went into each dish. I will be back ASAP.

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  • SImply one of the best meals ever in my life. Stunning attention to detail, flavour, imagination and surprises! Perfect pairing of food and wine. Congratulations to the whole team.

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  • I dined here on Wednesday the 4th of April. What does one say about the level of sophistication, from extremely knowlegeable staff, who were down-to-earth, no airs and graces. 3 of our party ate "anything" and I ate only fish and vegetarian. This was no problem for them and they took this into consideration to give me the most wonderful, special evening. They truly deserve their stellar reputation, with the restaurant fully booked out on a Wednesday evening. Thank you for such a wonderful memory.

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  • Fine dining at its best! From the caramelised butter made fresh on the premises from Daisy’s milk to the “organic egg yolk” (trust me – I normally don’t like egg), “west coast crayfish” and “curry dusted monkfish”; all wonderfully paired with local wines.

    Oh, and the staff seemed very passionate in their approach to make it an unforgettable experience for gastronauts!

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  • My husband and I finally got the opportunity to dine at the famous Tasting Room for our 6th anniversary. I think the menu would be very exciting for foreign diners but I did not enjoy the chakalaka lollipop. The texture was awful! The rest of the five courses we had were acceptable with the cheese and crackers and the chocolate dessert being the best by far. Wildebees no matter how it's presented does nothing for me. Overall I'd say it's worthy of it's reputation but the prices are too high. Perhaps they could be adjusted for locals? They did that with our accommodation at The Last Word. The service was efficient and friendly but we didn't seem to have a dedicated waiter. We didn't have a problem with that, it was quite nice to be cared for so well by everyone! I must say I was surprised how plain the decor and view of the garden wall is considering the restaurant's reputation. Fancy glass doors though!

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  • The setting and ambience was ok. However the rude and arrogant staff are very off putting. The food was mediocre at best due to lacking quality control. Definitley not worth a tourist's time or money spent. Not to mention the locals' despise for the service and quality which was only found out afterwards.
    Mind boggling how they received a top ten rating.

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  • As this is a regularly rated South African premier restaurant, I have wanted to eat at The Tasting Room for quite a few years. The opportunity has never really presented itself, but this past Thursday was my birthday and my wife asked me where I would like to eat. I said The Tasting Room – which we laughed at, because we live in Johannesburg! Anyway, I had to come to Cape Town for a meeting, so I decided to arrange the meeting on the Thursday (my birthday) and arranged for my wife and daughter to fly with me. We would stay with my mom in Yzerfontein so that she could visit with her grand daughter – and then on Saturday night I booked my wife and I into a nice guesthouse in Franschhoek and we were going to The Tasting Room. Both of us are foodies – and really enjoy fine dining – so we were both extremely stoked about this trip.
    So with all this anticipation the evening really turned into a damp squib. I must say it was really the most disappointed I have been for a very long time – and I guess with the anticipation of it all – it just really made the experience worse. The food was mediocre, the service was ok – but after each course (and there are 8 of them), we were asked, “how was that” – “so what did you think about that” – so that was completely off putting (I have to ask is this about the guests experience or are the paying customer there just to stroke the ego of the chef!).
    The ambience was weird – very subdued atmosphere with 2 or 3 bars from a piece of music coming over the speakers every 10 minutes (what is that all about?) – I really cannot see how that added to anything. And the cutlery looked like something from my old boarding school!
    Really, at R 770 per person and R 360 for the wine paring the dinner cost my wife and I R 2,200.00 and with accommodation etc the night ended up costing us R 3,500.00. I knew it was going to cost this much and was quite prepared to pay this for the “awesome” experience we were going to have. Right now, I feel robbed! I am actually angry by this whole situation.
    And it was not just us.
    There was an American couple that was sitting next to us, and they actually sent one of the dishes back! And, at the guest house we were staying at the proprietors asked us where we had a meal and we told them a very disappointing one at the Tasting Room – they then told us that a number of their guests had said the same thing.
    The service I rate 5 out of 10. The Sommelier was really good and everybody was very friendly – but the constant asking if the food was good after every dish really was disturbing. This is a fine dining restaurant - we are the paying customers and as I said is it really the paying customer that has to stroke the ego of the chef?
    The food I rate 3 out of 10. I cannot really think of one dish that either of us enjoyed completely. Yes, there were elements that were nice, they were very elegantly presented and the techniques used are what one expects from a top chef – but the “African Surprise” menu really fell very short of what I would expect from an establishment with all those accolades.
    Ambience I rate 1 out of 10 – what are those few notes blurted over the speaker system every 10 minutes or so? The cutlery honestly reminded me of my old boarding school cutlery not that of a fine dining restaurant!
    So all in all an extremely disappointing evening all around – I am afraid to say!

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  • Ambience - beautiful. Service - top-notch. I do have to however, raise the issue of quality control at the window. The chef needs to check the quality on the plate before it is sent out. The flat bread was so salty, I could hardly eat it. My duck was undercooked. The garlic sauce was also very salty. Most of the flavours are bold, but lacks balance as there is usually one ingredient dominating the rest, completely. This could have been five star if the food was better.

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  • What a delightful evening we had recently at the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français in celebration of my husbands birthday. Absolutely everything was perfect and couldnt be faulted. The surprise menu with wine pairing was very creative and thoughtfully put together. The birthday cake, complete with candle, at the end of the evening was a lovely surprise. It was our first visit and we will definitely be returning!
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  • You definitely have to go back a couple of times to try out the various options on the menu. Pleasant experience.
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  • Delightfully experimental. Each course on the 9-course surprise tasting was a pleasure and all perfectly balanced. The service is exceptional. Only disappointment was the wine pairing - some wines simply did not complement the meal.
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  • Hi I think you restaurant is great but your signpost on the road is not visible enough, get a bigger sign post.Thanks!
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  • I was looking for a special restaurant to take my husband to for his birthday and decided on heading out of town to the Tasting Room. We are both awfully fussy about food and have eaten at wonderful restaurants around the world, but I am immensely proud to say that one of the best experiences weve had has been at the foot of the Franschoek mountains! No words could justify the joy we experienced as we made our way through the paired courses savouring the chosen wine together with the most elegantly presented and heavenly tasting cuisine. The service was impeccable yet uninstrusive and the attention to detail was remarkable. A special request was so graciously attended to that we emailed friends abroad, right there from the table with pictures of our meal attached to invite them to dinner when they next visit. One of the best parts or lack thereof was the obligatory music. We had recently dined at another highly regarded restaurant only to leave feeling irritable and vowi! ng never to return becasue the thumping music did nothing as an accompaniment to the superb food. The luxury of quiet should never be underestimated. Thank-you for a memorable evening. We will be back.
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  • I was looking for a special restaurant to take my husband to for his birthday and decided on heading out of town to the Tasting Room. We are both awfully fussy about food and have eaten at wonderful restaurants around the world, but I am immensely proud to say that one of the best experiences weve had has been at the foot of the Franschoek mountains! No words could justify the joy we experienced as we made our way through the paired courses savouring the chosen wine together with the most elegantly presented and heavenly tasting cuisine. The service was impeccable yet uninstrusive and the attention to detail was remarkable. A special request was so graciously attended to that we emailed friends abroad, right there from the table with pictures of our meal attached to invite them to dinner when they next visit. One of the best parts or lack thereof was the obligatory music. We had recently dined at another highly regarded restaurant only to leave feeling irritable and vowi! ng never to return becasue the thumping music did nothing as an accompaniment to the superb food. The luxury of quiet should never be underestimated. Thank-you for a memorable evening. We will be back.
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  • What a disappointment. I was looking forward to eating at this popular, highly rated restaurant. My guests and I were all bitterly disappointed. 6 out of the 8 main courses were smaller than other comparable restaurants starters. The portions were not only small but pretty ordinary. Staff offered no other explanation than we have notified the kitchen.
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  • I could not wait for my first experience at TTR. I think our top ten restaurants are fabulous but I was not really impressed here. I ordered the 9 course wine pairing and working in the wine industry, I was surprised with their choice of wines as well. The food was very petit, lots of foam everytime, lots of celeriac and the dishes were all very sweet. Something that did please the pallet. I believe Margot was not in the kitchen that evening which could have made a difference. I dont know. The food was unimpressive, and didnt leave a wow, after each plate. Maybe my expectations were too high but then again, they were voted no. 37 in the world last year, I believe.
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  • If fine dining is your thing, then the Tasting Room is definitely worth a visit. What a pleasurable experience. The service is immpecable, and the attention to detail is outstanding. We visit restaurants at least once aweek and always for occasions, and the Tasting Room has been the only one to note that it was a special occasion and as we arrived there was a little gift for us on the table. What a surprise! And we were treated like royalty even though we arent tourists and only kin from Mowbray!The menu was delightful. Well thought out without an overkill of truffle or foie gras. However, I did feel as if some of the flavours just did not quite gel. Food presentation beautiful but it would be great to get away from the 3 element plate as it has been done over and over and over again! We chose the paired tasting menu. The pairing was great and far more generous portions than at other fine dining establishments.Overall a fantastic experience, recommended to all food lovers wanting something a little extravagant.
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  • Having eaten in the Tasting Room once again at Le Quartier Francais in the last week. I think the previous reviewer ate in their bistro - iCi - We had the most fantastic dinner and were wowed once again by the flavours and combinations. We enjoyed the service which is always good - friendly but professional - like the new look . Always feel good about the fact that the staff here always remember us and just seem to get better and more confident each time we are there.Loved some of Margots new dishes and as always you have to be prepared to push your taste buds. Would suggest that perhaps they have appropriate signage for each restaurant so we can be sure where we are eating!
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  • We went to Le Quartier Francais last week for lunch. It was my favourite restaurant, and I just couldnt wait to go back there. So I also brought my family with so they could expirience the fab food that I remember. We were shocked with the menu and the choices. Starters were not that good, soup was the best... mains were fine, nothing to rave about. Desserts combinations were scary... How can they be number 37 in the world? Waiters were dressed in black sloppy T-shirts, which made it even worse. Im so upset, what is happening there?
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  • Just returned from another very good meal at LQF. One has to try very hard to find a similar all round experience in South Africa. However, I must admit that, while the meal was VERY GOOD, it was not outstanding. I expected more from a restaurant rated in the top 40 in the world (and charging R550 for a five course meal). Except for the salty enhancement of my dessert, no course challenged my tastebuds and so the meal left me a little disappointed. In addition, the service continues to be sporadic except for one charming young waitron.Just a note to previous diners - the menu options have changed. The extensive list of options (for a four or six course meal) is no more. You are now limited to a five course meal from a selection of around 10-12 options (as well as the eight course set menu).
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  • Simply one of the worst meals I have ever had. We ate there on the 7 March 2009.When asked if we would like an appertif, we asked for a bottle of champagne. This was only brought with the meal. we were celebrating!The meal, was over flavoured making it all sweet, all of it.The starter, a corn soup tasted like a vanilla flan, the lobster too sweet with marshmallow, the cheddar cheese fritters that followed, had no taste at all except for the oil. And the desert, well a desert is a desert, but after all the sweet tastes throughout the whole meal, I did not eat mine; For sure, if you love everything to be sweet, voila this restaurant is for you; There were four of us that dined there, not one of us enjoyed the meal.
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  • It was nothing what we expected. Too much of everything. No surprises at all. The food was not in balance - even the wines didnt match. Old fashioned cooking for the kind of people who want to spend a lot of money for a restaurant that seems to be top rated.
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  • Simply put, I LOVE THE TASTING ROOM! A more amazing dining experience is hard to come by. Its obviously not something you can do all the time, but for special occasions (and when you just feel like a good spoiling) I cannot recommend anywhere better. There are obviously newer restaurants but no one understands food and service like Margot and the Le Quartier Français team. If you havent been do yourself a favour - set aside a day/weeked to visit (Ive heard from a few of my friends that they have some amazing accomodation packages at the moment - some even include dinner in The Tasting Room). I try once, every few month, to spoil myself with a touch of palate heaven courtesy of The Tasting Room - you should try it, its totally worth every penny.
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  • Simply one of the best meals and atmosphere I have ever experienced in my 44 years of life. Superb selections of wine and perfectly composed meals mixed with relaxed surroundings and impeccable service. If you enjoy food you MUST visit this restaurant.
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  • My wife and I were thrilled with our dining experience at the Tasting Room two years ago. Everything was perfectly prepared and presented and the wine pairings were skilled and inspired. But our experience last month was very disappointing. The deep fried items such as the prawn and the canelloni were greasy and the latter was presented in a pool of brownish yellow oil. The tuna tartar was badly designed. The meringue was so sweet that it overpowered the entire item and I could not taste anything else. Also the tartar mixture was on a piece of bread that was saturated with liquid. So when I tried to cut the item the sugary hard meringue squished the tartar down until it was a brown mushy mess . A very unpleasant experience. The wildebeest was perfectly cooked. But the jus was so salty that it ruined the entire experience. Not just a little salty. It was so salty that someone with a liking for salt would have complained of too much salt! The wine list for local wines is outrageously over priced. (The tasting menu itself was fairly priced I felt.)I didn’t complain as the food presenters are clearly not of the status to confront a chef with impunity. But then your Food and Beverage Manager came over and introduced herself. She asked how our meals were... I told her what my experience had been. Her reply was shocking. She advised me that “We are Relais et Chateaux”. She then proceeded to lecture me on how a tasting menu works!! Well, I have been fine dining around the world.
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  • I am rather surprised by the lack of reviews on this site for what is considered (at least by some) to be the best restaurant in Africa. I also don’t really know why I have not visited it before – perhaps it was a less than memorable experience some years ago at the same venue but before it was the Tasting Room. Whatever, it has been my loss, as my experience last evening was truly excellent - and to see a restaurant (particularly at this price point) full on a winter’s Sunday evening was also pleasantly reassuring.As it was my birthday, we opted for the 8 course tasting menu with matched wines. I have not tasted such an array of successfully innovative food in this country. The myriad of flavours and textures all worked exceptionally well. Every dish was perfectly executed and balanced and repeatedly managed to excite all the senses – the kudu and biltong consommé had such depth of flavour, I could still remember the taste the next morning.For some perhaps, at this level, the lack of a hierarchy of waiting staff may come as a surprise, but I found the use of what appeared to be ‘local’ staff highly commendable, and it made for a totally relaxing environment – it was almost like a ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant rather than simply a ‘special occasion’ venue. (There was more than one table with well-behaved young diners).The star of the evening (other than the food) was our server Harry – an extremely pleasant, amenable and receptive young man who ensured our marathon meal was delivered at an appropriate pace, with care, courtesy and always a smile – it was a pleasure to served by him.Well done to the whole team and I hope I don’t have to wait for my next birthday to make a return visit!
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  • We had supper at The Tasting Room on the 2nd of July to celebrate a birthday. We agreed that this restaurant deserves the attention that it gets. May we suggest that you include more vegetarian and/or vegan dishes on your menu.
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  • I booked at The Tasting Room for our 4th anniversary in August 2007. Having spent the day in the snowy mountains in Ceres, our Land Rovers back window froze and broke - a slight inconvenience when having dinner an establishment such as Le Quartier. The staff promptly arranged a car guard and off-street parking for us. We had the best table at the window and a single white (our favourite colour) rose on the table. The food, wine and service was outstanding! Thank you for making our anniversary so special. We will see you next August! Best regards, Elmari Swart & Jaap Scholten
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  • I booked at The Tasting Room for our 4th anniversary in August 2007. Having spent the day in the snowy mountains in Ceres, our Land Rovers back window froze and broke - a slight inconvenience when having dinner an establishment such as Le Quartier. The staff promptly arranged a car guard and off-street parking for us. We had the best table at the window and a single white (our favourite colour) rose on the table. The food, wine and service was outstanding! Thank you for making our anniversary so special. We will see you next August! Best regards, Elmari Swart & Jaap Scholten
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  • Visited the Tasting Room in November 2006 and it is without doubt one of the best restaurant visits of my life. Not all people appreciate the food that is being served at first class gourmet restaurants and if you feel your favorite food is a great pizza or a nice stake and fries then maybe you should think again because you will probably not appreciate the fantastic attentaion to flavours, textures etc. I have visited several world class restaurants all over the world and can honestly say that The Tasting Room is among the best in the world. I am going back in late january 2008 again and i hope i will have the same experience again.
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  • Dear Mr Hughes
    Delighted that you have always had a pretty good time but would love to know where that rumour comes from - !! As we try and use all local products our olive oil is unfiltered organic olive oil from a neighbouring farm - perhaps a new taste?
    Warm Regards
    Susan Huxter
    Owner
    Le Quartier Francais
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  • Always had a pretty good time here, but have recently heard that staff squish the butter though their hands to make it soft enough to pack in to those pots!!! my advise would be to take the olive oil option, but their oil is pretty lousy.
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  • Beatufill food that tastes amazing. Attention to detail in every course was a highlight. Service was slow on the evening, but very professional. Deserves every international accolade and should be a top 10 in SA.
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  • The full Tasting Menu (with wine) was the ultimate birthday treat. Fantastically inventive dishes which looked great, tasted wonderful and brought every variety, sublety and nuance of flavour, texture, aroma and colour. Truly world-class and not surprising that it is so recognised. Service and ambiance spot-on!Very expensive but worth much more.
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Menu

Set menu - R850 for the eight course African Inspired Surprise menu (R1300 with wine)  

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dress code
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Licensed
  • Smoking
  • StreetSmart affliated
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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