Our next nominee for the 2015 Boschendal Style Award is situated on Franschhoek’s picture-postcard Huguenot Street. Chef Chris Erasmus and Ilse Schermers, the owner of IS Art, immediately saw the potential in this space and created the beautiful bistro-style restaurant that is Foliage. Here’s why it deserve its nomination.
The building was designed in such a way that good food and art would be able to harmoniously co-exist. The stylish bistro feel of the eatery shares the space with IS Art, which represents some of South Africa’s leading artists and rotates its exhibitions every four to six weeks. With every new exhibition, Foliage is also refreshed with artworks. The industrial, unfussy design of the restaurant forms a good canvas for art and food to shine.
The exposed ceiling beams and rustic brick walls add an earthy, unpretentious atmosphere that contrasts beautifully with the pops of red paint and fine art adorning the space.
Ilse has an on-going hand in the constant rotation of some of our country’s leading artists’ pieces in the restaurant. Glass doors reveal the view into the gallery and vice versa, and Chris’s wife Alisha, who has been the manager of IS Art in Franschhoek for a number of years, is always on hand with all the necessary information about the art displayed.
To create a connection between the food and the dining experience, an open-plan kitchen gives diners a glimpse of the chefs in action. An emphasis on art goes right down to the table décor, with a quirky art piece or sculpture on each table instead of flowers, whereas the tableware is exclusively made for Foliage by some leading ceramists.
Chef Chris Erasmus serves up experimental farm-and forest-to-plate food as well as inventive nose-to-tail cooking. Seasonal and wild ingredients feature, including wild mushrooms and wild herbs. The menu features intriguing fare, such as his current signature dish: geranium and honey iced nougatine with salted chocolate custard and hazelnut ice cream.