Friday, November 23, 2018

The new lunch menu at the Leeu Estates manor house, Franschhoek

A lovely invitation to try the new Summer Menu at the Leeu Estates in Franschhoek had us beginning the experience with a glass of their Bas MCC. On arrival they take your keys and park your car for you
Head Chef Terence Morris came to tell us about his lunch menu and what we would be having,
which was a sample selection of the dishes on the menu
Our table had been prepared on the terrace; it was a perfect Franschhoek day
with no wind and moderate temperature
A view of the enclosed part of the terrace with the lounge behind it
Another entrance to the library and the foyer of the hotel
The left hand view from our table
and it stayed shady all through the meal
The grounds are full of superb sculptures; here on the lawn is Demeter with her hounds
and this, by Angus Taylor, is entitled “Lady on a Donkey, Thinking”
A Common Fiscal, also called Fiscal Shrike, (Lanius collaris)
uses the head as its watch tower
You can see every feather
Looking into the restaurant, which had a large party from the UK
Simple table decorations
Charlton, our excellent waiter for most of the afternoon. We were not offered white wine in time for our starters, but enjoyed two carafes of the Mullineux Swartland Rouge, a Mediterranean style red blend based on Syrah with other Rhône varietals; soft and fresh, this went very well with the food
A great selection of bread rolls, warm from the oven, with two flavoured butters, one with smoked butter and beetroot, the other was truffle flavoured. There were also olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Morgenster on each table
The first course was slices of well flavoured pan seared beef on a bed of truffled courgette 'spaghetti'
and dark caramelised onions. A good dish if you are Banting or counting carbs
and then a warm Wakame broth was poured. It was absolutely delicious and authentic;
we lifted our bowls at the end and drank from them. None of that broth was going back to the kitchen
We asked chef if he had worked in the Far East and the reply was "Not yet!"
He, like us, loves Asian food and is very keen to go and learn some more Eastern skills
The second starter was Poached Trout with a Cranberry and Orange gel,
served with compressed celery, pickled courgette and deep fried dill.
A lovely combination of delicate flavours and textures;
it just needed a tad more seasoning on the fish
The courses were coming thick and fast and we were both being served plates
This was our third starter of Daikon rolls filled with a finely cut coleslaw mix,
served with a spicy butternut aioli. Vegetarian and possibly vegan
These were Mushroom Bitterballen for Lynne to taste (John can’t eat mushrooms)
Nicely crisp bitterballen with the correct creamy mushroom batter inside
with great mushroom flavour. Served on a light, grainy mustard sauce
Delish and topped with deep fried vegetable strands which added more texture
The first main course was Vegetarian. Dark Quinoa as a base with sticky chilli Tofu cubes,
toasted peanuts, wilted greens and topped with Tobacco caramelized onions.
The sauce tastes rather like a Sate peanut sauce
Eleanor Kerwan, Food and Beverage Manager, came to say hello. We asked her if we could now share one plate as there was so much still to try and she arranged it. Up till then we had been served one each....
Pork Belly, main course with a pickled citrus and tomato relish, edamame beans, brussel spouts and a creamy flavourful leek purée. We asked chef if he presses his pork and he does. This is something we learned from Reuben Riffel, as it gets rid of most of the fat and the meat is moist and tender. The plate is then dressed with perfect rich, dark and glossy gravy. The dish has faint hints of star anise
The third main course was Hanger steak topped with a Café de Paris butter on a slice of confit butternut, tenderstem broccoli and a very clever swirl and berry of butternut purée. You can taste the tarragon and the anchovies in the butter
Musa took over from Conrad, as his shift was over. She is charming. Both are very good at their jobs
It was such a lovely, long and lazy lunch with a lot of food
We watched the clouds forming shapes as they appeared over this mountain peak
Time for dessert. Lynne has to admit that she would not have ordered this from the menu,
but it turned out to be her favourite. A gently spiced pear and apple crumble,
topped with rough nuts and served with a cardamom ice cream on crisp crumbs
Lovely flavours and textures
A perfectly gooey meringue Pavlova topped with fresh fruit and berries
in a lake of orange and mint syrup and topped with a rocher of orange sorbet
 John's pièce de resistance, a warm chocolate fondant
with a properly gooey centre, topped with filling-pulling sticky nut brittle
and served with a scoop of pistachio ice cream - or was it?
We had a long chat with Chef Terence after the meal, while John enjoyed an excellent double espresso. It was amazing how we managed to consume so much food, although we didn’t clear all the plates. We were not surprised to find that we finished at 5 pm, having arrived at 1. Do go and try the Summer menu; you might like to try some of these dishes and just relax on the terrace. Thank you so much Leeu Collection for a lovely lunch and charming company

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