La Petite Ferme embodies the spirit of Franschhoek
A short turn just off the start of the Franschhoek Pass, this gracious farm embodies the spirit of Franschhoek as you sweep your eyes on verdant vineyards that creep up towards the imposing mountains.
The farm, long a favourite destination for tourists and locals, has a colourful history. Originally bought in 1974 by the Dendy Youngs who came to the country from their native Zimbabwe to farm plums, they turned their attentions to opening a restaurant when the fruit industry plunged 10 years later.
Today the farm has an exclusive boutique hotel with luxury suites as well as a manor house accommodating guests. The restaurant is under the helm of recently appointed chef Kyle Norris who with his team offers a blend of traditional and gastronomic panache from the kitchen to table.
A former parachute battalion soldier, Norris turned his hand to the kitchen almost two decades ago. His arrival at Le Petite Ferme was, in fact, the result of a dream realised by executive sous chef, Maveer Thulsie - he and Norris worked together at a Drakensberg resort in 2012/3 and he'd left an indelible impression. Kyle was contacted, and he jumped at the opportunity.
Toward the tail end of winter, a small group of us were invited to sample the seasonal delights of the spring menu from hearty roasts to flavour-packed dishes that were all consummately cooked with delightfully innovative touches.
For starters think King Crab Cakes with baby marrow blossoms and fig crackling and pickled cucumber; Saffron smoked lime and chilli prawns that sit atop roasted jeera egg-fried rice and a basil pesto soil or, an Ostrich carpaccio with smoked artichoke cream.
Among the mains, not all is nouveau. The slow-roasted lamb is another classic and comes served with aubergine, fondant potatoes, plum, red wine jus, candied rosemary and tomato soil.
The Smoked rib-eye and croquette chips was also declared a winner as well as the Duo of line fish with potato scales and avocado spuma while a rich and satisfying Ginger and chilli pork belly cleverly gets served with an apple tarte tatin and apple cider reduction and has a black-salted crackling.
Desserts include both traditional and more modern creations from a rooibos creme brulee to a rose and white chocolate mousse.
Meanwhile, following three months of extensive renovations , the Vineyard Suites have been reopened. They have truly spectacular views over the valley and each has it own private deck and plunge pool making it extremely difficult - almost impossible - to tear oneself away from the mesmerising view.
Prior to the renovations, the Vineyard Suites were Cape Vernacular in both look and feel, with reed ceilings and Cape cottage-style furnishings. Now interiors now boast a far more contemporary feel although the exteriors remain Cape Vernacular in style.
All of the renovations, décor and finishings were customised and are different for each room. And each bathroom is the last word in luxury and space - the shower is like stepping into a rainforest and each has windows overlooking that view and completely private.
* For a true spoil, take advantage of their opening specials at the number /email below.
The restaurant at La Petite Ferme is open for lunch daily and dinner (from November) daily. Advance reservations are recommended.