Le coin Français is a restaurant really and truly for Franschhoek. Both in concept and in name, the aptly named “Le coin Français” , which literally means Franschhoek, will embody the essence of the valley in heritage, cuisine, art and wine. It will feature cutting edge methods meeting time tested French elegance in cuisine, a carefully selected locally themed wine list to showcase the best local wines, a French sommeliers selection, and an ever-evolving collaboration of art.
With only a few days in the Cape, we made sure to make our way to Franschhoek to try out Le Coin Francais, and what a treat it was!
We felt quite special being seated at the Chefs table and decided to go for the 8 course chefs journey menu with wine pairing. Wow, we were blown away.
Each dish was explained perfectly, delicious wine was poured and each mouthful a new adventure. You can taste the effect that has gone into each dish and the plating was just incredible, each dish a new artwork presented.
We were met with soft lighting and candle lit tables which made for an intimate setting, perfect for our romantic night out.
We would highly recommend pretty much every dish on the menu... as we tried them all, but what really stood out for us was the lamb and langoustine dishes and we particularly enjoyed the chefs taster of smoked monk fish.
Karen De Beer Visser
Le coin Francais exceeded all expectations!
On arrival, we were met and greeted by the charming front-of-house restaurant manager Jasper Venter. The understated tables with gray and light wood chairs, crisp white linen and French Lagioule cutlery were only a promise of some amazing things to come.
The menu was explained in detail, and being foodies, we bombarded Jasper as well as our experienced waitron Nash with endless questions. These were answered with a good understanding of the dishes to be served. We could choose between the 6 course tasting menu at R595/R995 with wine pairing or the 8 course chefs journey menu R795/R1195 with wine pairing. We opted for the latter and it was probably the best journey we have ever enjoyed. On Jasper's advice, we decided to try all the dishes, not doubling up on an item.
Blessed to have both travelled the world, this was probably one of the most exceptional menus and service ever enjoyed. The chef and proprieter Darren Badenhorst came to the table to explain some of the dishes offered and we loved his personal touch. The sommelier knew his wines and his expert summary of my partner and I ensured that our food and wine were suited best to our tastes. These wines are hand selected, and yes, as per a previous review, might seem pricey if you have to take the cost out of context, however, you will have to travel very far to find this wine expertise and selection offered. Every hand selected glass of wine complemented each dish perfectly. We switched plates halfway through a course and I have to admit, that every time I was reluctant to pass my plate over to my partner, but once I tasted his plate, I was smitten with the other dish as well.
My partner, who is not really a fish or langoustine eater, can't wait to return to enjoy these items on the lunch menu. He has been swayed with the delicate flavours as presented by chef Darren.
The dishes were innovative without being "too clever". Interesting twists but all in absolute harmony. The plating was beautiful and the crockery out of this world. Our waitron displayed his sense of humour when I said I will take eight of the matt black plates as well as the pistachio coloured ones and he said he will dutifully wait outside around the corner! "Would I like them washed beforehand" was his added witty reply.
We ended with an amazing whisky from Japan as there are some exceptional whiskies on offer - once again with the expert insight from Jasper.
If this would have been our last meal ever, we would have left this earth two very happy individuals. From the exceptional chef Darren and Jasper and team, to the understated elegance of decor and of course, the menu, Le Coin Francaise will most certainly be one of the top ten restaurants not only in South Africa (if not number 1), but be rated internationally as well as one of the top. They deserve all the accolades coming their way.
We have already made reservations for two additional dates 2018. The restaurant is intimate but allows more than enough space between diners, so reservations are most certainly advisable.