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The so-called younger sibling of the much-awarded La Colombe, La Petite Colombe is no copycat, and puts its own stamp firmly on this super-stylish corner of Franschhoek. Chef Peter Duncan produces exceptional food in an incredible setting. It’s all about tasting menus here, which are available in two forms: the 10-course chef’s menu or the seven-course reduced menu, both of which are also offered as vegetarian. By the time you’ve had the astonishingly good hors d'oeuvres, you’ll have a clear indication of the deliciousness and attention to follow. On the chef’s menu, things kick off with Leeu Estate olives, which bring briny, anchovy flavours, closely followed by swordfish, lime and chipotle – cool and clean with impeccable presentation. The oyster carne asada with grapefruit is outstandingly good. The next courses are just as memorable: the bread trolley is a soulful collection of elements, each exceptionally delicious, with a lovely play of flavours, the whole truly telling a story of the sum of its parts. Pork butter and duck parfait truffle add deep flavour. Crayfish, peri-peri and ponzu brings great contrast and balance, while the yellowfin tuna, dhanya and coconut is a delight of Thai flavours: coriander purée, sorrel and basil, finished with peanut and house-made chevra. The linefish ‘viskop’ (fish head) chowder sees the fish poached in oil at the table then finished in the kitchen. All elements are drawn from the chef’s family recipe, which adds to the sense of comfort and nostalgia imparted by this dish. Karoo Wagyu with sweet potato and Willowdale truffle is meltingly rich, with perfectly cooked vegetables and an indulgent amount of truffle. For dessert, the simply named guava, blood orange and hibiscus delivers an incredibly complex collection of guava and blood orange jellies, mousses, compotes, chocolate, coconut crumb, ginger and guava jelly tot. Both menus offer excellent value for money in this segment of the market, particularly if you’re celebrating a special occasion.
The sommelier is accessible and enthusiastic, and presides over a great curation of wines to match the style of the menu. The cocktails are phenomenal, and there is true innovation in the alternative, non-alcoholic drinks menu.
Service is professional but friendly, and never stuffy. Staff are impressively knowledgeable and attentive.
This is a beautifully appointed restaurant with plenty of light and space, looking out onto the scenic Leeu Estate. The furnishings are comfortable and the serving ware is often innovative.