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Ilse van der Merwe
Set in the heart of bustling Franschhoek, this “little manor” is a luxury boutique getaway featuring four guest rooms and a fine-dining restaurant headed by chef Kevin Grobler, better known as the previous head chef at the revered Michelin star JAN Restaurant in Nice, France.
The restaurant at Le Petit Manoir focuses on contemporary fine dining with a hint of French-European flair. The a la carte menu features six starters, six mains and six dessert options. The beef tartare starter is highly recommended - chunky tender cubes of raw beef enveloped in a rich teriyaki dressing with balsamic glazed onions, fresh peas, pickled baby corn, deep-fried quail egg and avocado. The duck liver parfait is neatly shaped in perfect logs and rolled in pitch black burnt onion dust, served with daikon radish, onion marmalade and warm, flakey lavash. For mains, try the boneless braised beef short rib with kohlrabi disc, kohlrabi puree and mustard leaf pesto, or opt for a lighter seafood dish of mackerel with a crispy seared skin, tender calamari, mussels, onion and dashi, with fennel chutney and a punchy Asian onion broth.
Desserts are a definite highlight on the menu. The almond eclair with almond ganache, vanilla gel, honey pearls, dark chocolate soil and tonka bean ice cream is a must. Or try the beautifully plated whiskey tipsy tart with salted caramel mousse, caramel popcorn, honey comb crumble and whiskey ice cream. Another clever dessert item is the goats cheesecake with a savoury stout and onion marmalade, port foam and a parsnip crisp - a great choice for people a lesser sweet tooth.
Amuse bouche, bread board and after dinner treats from the kitchen comes standard (look out for the delicious Bovril butter served with their breads).
The food at Le Petit Manoir is expertly crafted, beautifully plated and served on stunning ceramic tableware. Although this establishment has only been open for 3 months at the time of writing this review, they can already be regarded as a must-visit for fine dining lovers from all over.
The leather bound wine lists feature a wide selection of wines (some also available per glass), spirits, and cocktails.
Exceptional service is the name of Le Petit Manoir’s game. With friendly staff that really bring their A-game, dining and relaxing is only a pleasure.
The contemporary dining space at Le Petit Manoir faces towards the church and majestic mountain views, with large glass panels that can close up in stormy weather. With contemporary art, wall paper, black window accents, warm wooden tables and exceptional cutlery, this space is modern yet inviting. Also take a look at their deli section where you’ll find freshly baked breads etc. daily. A chic whiskey and gin bar is ready to welcome you for a pre-dinner drink or a whiskey tasting after your meal. When weather permits, their frontside veranda can seat an extra 50 people under shady umbrellas.
Best for a flashy dinner with overseas visitors or a special celebration with a few of your besties. Take note: no separate children’s menu available, although kids are made to feel very welcome by staff.
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