Chef Darren Bardenhorst is one of the most detail-oriented chefs in the country – every pearl, blob, cube of jelly and leaf has been placed with tweezer precision and every dish commands you to stop and stare; take in the alluring plating and savour the clever flavour development. This can be said from the bread and amuse bouche right to the quail done three ways: a barbecue breast, KFC leg and a pancetta-wrapped thigh.
Somewhat of a maximalist, chef Darren’s dish of butter-poached and barbecue langoustine with aerated boerenkaas, plus the West Coast snoek brandade velouté with wild vineyard pea shoots, garden pea and guanciale risotto is an exemplary showcase of his skill. All you can do is watch as he does what he does best.
The meal ends with playful desserts and grape jelly chocolate truffle petit fours.
Sommelier Munashe Kwarambe is on hand to offer wise and, at times, amusing anecdotes about how he arrived at pairing them with the particular dishes. The wine list centres around a celebration of wines of origin within the Franschhoek Valley. A non-alcoholic pairing is also available.
If Darren is the brains and mastermind behind Le Coin, then maître’d Jasper Venter has to be its heartbeat, because it takes a lot of heart and a genuine love for hospitality to make such a formal style of serving feel so warm and comforting.
Very inviting and polished contemporary décor. While the space is kept muted to allow the food to dazzle, it’s far from generic, with a striking silver vintage statement staircase just to the side of the open kitchen.
The warm glow of the lighting is deeply flattering, thus making this the perfect place for a romantic evening.
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