Ōku: A Serene Asian Restaurant in Franschhoek

Oku Restaurant Dining

Kaiseki fine dining and lunches à carte.

Franschhoek and fine-dining are synonymous, Franschhoek and Asian cuisine not so much… until Ōku came on the scene late in 2020 that is. Chef proprietor Ryan Shell’s beautifully crafted kaiseki and à la carte menus quickly gave locals what they’d been missing, and a sudden yen for bao buns and dim sum no longer meant driving all the way to town.

Oku Restaurant

Three years later the serene and minimalist restaurant space at the top of the village high street exudes calm. Simply decorated with bonsai trees and artworks, natural wood floors and well-spaced tables, Ōku is a tranquil haven that simply invites you to relax, forget the outside world, and lose yourself in the art of good food.

Kaiseki fine dining

Oku Restaurant Food

For a leisurely evening of punchy flavours and beautiful tasting plates, the 11-course (with some extras) kaiseki experience is on the Franschhoek fine-dining bucket list. Japanese milk bread, tuna tataki, prawn toast and a hot-and-sour broth segue into gyoza and bao buns, followed by meat dishes, such as salmon with udon, and smoked pork belly. The menus are hyper seasonal, changing every two weeks to embrace the freshest of local ingredients.
Good to know There is also the option of a 4-course menu with choices for each course (and the optional addition of dessert) for when you want a shorter but still delicious experience.
Cost R1 150 (kaiseki menu)
R1 950 (kaiseki with wine pairing)
R690 (4 courses)

À la carte lunches

Oku Restaurant A La Carte Lunches

At lunchtime the menu goes à la carte for a more informal affair, allowing you to pick your own selection of small plates to share: lamb belly bao with white cabbage kimchi, Korean fried cauliflower, chicken wonton broth and yellowtail tataki are just a few highlights to linger over. And it’s highly recommended to finish with the Japanese cheesecake… although the shābetto (a traditional frozen dessert) is also a delight.

Oku Restaurant Dessert

Good to know Tables outside on the peaceful Heritage Square are perfect for al fresco lunches and pre-dinner drinks in summer.

Wines, cocktails and sake

Oku Restaurant Drinks

The Ōku wine list has always been locally focussed, and it’s recently been expanded to feature a further selection of wines from smaller local wineries, both for the kaiseki menu pairing and by the bottle. A short selection of fine sakes and cocktails designed to pair with the food complete the drinks menu.

A soul-restoring haven in a busy world, and a delicious overall experience, Ōku could well see us driving to Franschhoek when a gyoza craving hits.

Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 2.30pm; 6pm – 9pm
Contact 021 023 4695, reservations@eat-oku.co.za
Where to find it Heritage Square, 9 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek
Book through DinePlan

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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 08 February 2024