The Cape’s unofficial French capital has no shortage of French-inspired fare. But where do you go when you want to taste Cape Town (not France)? When you want to treat out-of-towners to the food of the people who created the Cape of Good Hope? Well, you’d take them to Beleef Restaurant on Franschhoek’s main road.
Cape Malay cuisine is a delicious fusion of traditional West Coast and Eastern influences (with African and European nuances adding interesting inflections). It’s a cooking style that’s unique to the Western Cape and an integral part of South African culture.
Chef-owner Herman Steyn, formerly of Café Franschhoek, realised his dream of opening his own restaurant when the owners of Ryan’s Kitchen in Huguenot Street put their building up for sale. A boerseun from the Free State, Herman’s purpose was to take locals on a trip down memory lane, and give visitors an authentic boerekos experience. He’s doing exactly that…
The belewenis (The experience)
The interiors are rich and moody. Navy walls and blue velvet chairs create an air of luxury, while a window-backed booth lining the entire length of the restaurant is packed with plush pillows that beg you to linger and order another divine cocktail. Jou Ma se Passion, a granadilla-flavoured cocktail served with a side of MCC (as palette cleanser) is rather spectacular. And so is the blood orange-infused gin and tonic.
The etenstafel (The dinner table)
Strictly seasonal with a farm-to-fork approach, the menu changes regularly. Our favourites from the winter 2018 menu is the Smoorsnoek starter with mousse, purée and a crisp – an umami medley of salt and sweet, and the perfect appetite stirrer.
For mains I opted for the Ou Kaapse Kos, which was tamatiekos (tomato stew) lamb shank on the day we visited. My own ouma’s tomato stew holds special memories, which Herman exquisitely upheld with fall-off-the-bone meat, the perfect balance of Malaysian spices, on a bed of raisin-and-tumeric rice.
The gigantic soufflé served with custard-flavoured ice cream reveals a special surprise at the bottom – malva pudding. Take a peek at the full menu here.
Granny’s Kitchen Table
If you’re looking for a truly authentic, Cape cuisine experience, Granny’s Kitchen Table treats diners to a five-course meal plus wine pairing for R696 per person.
Only available by reservation, the concept honours traditional Sunday lunches, and sees an off-menu buffet-style dinner served for the table to enjoy together. Expect classics such as farm-style butter with homemade farm bread, pumpkin fritters and roast potatoes. Just like ouma used to make…
Opening times Daily: 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 9pm