Every time I’m away from Cape Town for a few months, I spend my days yearning for its beauty – the ocean, the mountains, the forests, and my favourite beauty of all: the good food! So when I recently got back from London and had the chance to visit La Petite Ferme in Franschhoek, I was overjoyed.
I always enjoy driving out to – and spending time in – Franschhoek. I don’t think I do it often enough (have you seen the price of petrol?!), but it’s always worth it when I do. There’s something quite magical about the Franschhoek Valley.
I also recently started taking French lessons, so I think I enjoyed the trip this time even more as I got to translate (or attempt to translate) the names of various places en route – much to my poor sister’s dismay, who’s had to listen to me blabbering on in random French phrases for a few weeks now.
But even armed with a yearning for the Western Cape’s beauty and a bucketload of French vocabulary, I still don’t think I was quite prepared for how beautiful the views from La Petite Ferme are.
Welcome To La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme (“the little farm”) is situated on the opposite end of Franschhoek, heading up Pass Road past Haute Cabriere. It overlooks not only the town itself but the mountains surrounding it, and you can really enjoy the Franschhoek Valley in all its splendour from this angle.
The restaurant itself boasts the most fantastic views, but there’s also luxury accommodation available. Staying overnight at La Petite Ferme sounds like it would be the most spectacular experience – fresh mountain air, diamond night skies, and quiet all around … a girl can only dream!
The La Petite Ferme Restaurant
Luckily, what I dream about the most is food – and those dreams have a habit of coming true.
The restaurant at La Petite Ferme really is what foodie dreams are made of.
The estate is part of the Nest Collection and has recently appointed Stephen Raaff as the new head chef. The menu has been recreated with a touch of countryside cuisine and a touch of fresh contemporary feels.
The new summer menu just launched this month, and you’ll get to enjoy it for the foreseeable future. This is a set menu that’s available as a two-course or a three-course option, at R450 pp and R520 pp respectively.
The menu is small, but you know what they say about dynamite …
The I Love Foodies La Petite Ferme Review Experience
I was already impressed when our lovely waitress, Thabisa, led us to our table and immediately brought out the welcome bread.
You can always tell what type of restaurant you’re at from the welcome bread portion.
At La Petite Ferme, you’ll get to enjoy mosbolletjies with gorgeous beaten butter with garlic chips, dill oil, and herbs from the garden.
I could never be vegan. I love butter far too much. And La Petite Ferme’s beaten butter is as pretty as it is delicious!
We also ordered a bottle of the La Petite Ferme Chardonnay, which we enjoyed for the rest of the afternoon.
For starters, I was torn between the Beef Tartare (with parmesan thyme crumb, egg yolk puree, CBC amber ale mustard, crispy capers, pickled onion, and sourdough croûte) and the Scallop Ceviche (with shaved celery, citrus gel, compressed apple, puffed quinoa, and pancetta).
I always think about Mr Bean when I think of beef tartare (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can watch the Mr Bean tartare clip on YouTube), but I actually quite like tartare.
Alas, how often do you see scallop ceviche on the menu? Or scallops in the first place? They’re exceedingly rare this side of the world.
I love scallops – cooked, raw, made up or dressed down – but I’ve never had scallop ceviche before and it’s quite unusual. Fascinating and delicious, yet unusual.
If you’ve had cooked or seared scallops before, you’ll be familiar with that sweet, buttery, chewy, tender flavour. If you haven’t, then that description may make no sense and I’d urge you to try it.
And if you’ve had scallop sushi before, you’ll be familiar with that very, very chewy almost bland but slightly seawater taste.
But scallop ceviche? Now, that’s a whole different ballgame.
These scallops were very evidently not cooked – and yet buttery soft with that typical ceviche citrus flavour. Every bite was an adventure – putting together the taste of the fresh compressed apple, the salty pancetta, the almost pungent celery, and that galaxy of flavours of the actual scallop meat itself.
I’d definitely have this dish again just to explore those flavours more.
On that note, the compressed apple reminded me of the cucumber compressed apples we had at Gate Restaurant at Quoin Rock earlier this year, which I still dream about all the time!
Scallops aside …
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Sabine opted for the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, served with grilled pineapple, sweet chilli, cabbage slaw, avocado puree, pickled cucumber, and tom yum mayo.
She absolutely loved this dish and couldn’t stop raving about the pickled cucumber! These trick you a bit because they look like normal, fresh English cucumber and then – surprise! – pickled goodness all the way!
Now, I’ll say upfront that mixing the chicken with the scallops is not a good idea – the flavours are too contrasting. But, alas, I have to try it all, right?
I also really liked the dish. I have been slightly obsessed with buttermilk fried chicken since I had an onset of chicken burger cravings at Bootlegger’s earlier this year. Yes, I still haven’t been able to shake that obsession and have to order buttermilk chicken wherever I go.
You don’t need to ask me why I didn’t order it at La Petite Ferme. There’s a simple two-word answer: Scallop Ceviche.
But, the buttermilk fried chicken is a heartier option that’ll probably suit more taste profiles than the scallop ceviche.
Moving On To Mains
For me, choosing my main dish was a no-brainer: Kudu Loin served with sweet potato pomme anna, wilted spinach, tenderstem, pumpkin puree, confit garlic, chimichurri.
There are tons of other amazing options on the menu, but I’ll pretty much always choose the venison option if there is one.
Sabine had a bit more of a struggle with the mains. Linefish? Pork Belly? Karoo Lamb?
She eventually decided on the Pork Belly with Asian glaze, baby corn, mange tout, candied chilli peanuts, lemongrass & coconut broth.
Both dishes were spectacular.
The flavour and texture of the meats, the accompanying vegetables, the whole composition of both dishes – every second eating this was pure enjoyment.
The dishes were also very light and you’re very unlikely to feel heavy or weighed down after lunch!
I definitely loved my Kudu Loin as much as I enjoyed my stolen bites of the Pork Belly and would have both again in a heartbeat.
Finishing It Off With Dessert
La Petite Ferme probably has my new favourite dessert menu, simply because they have so many options that aren’t sinfully sweet.
I opted for the White Chocolate and Brie Cheesecake (served with cherry gel, pickled cherries, caramelised white chocolate, candied pecans, celery leaf) and Sabine had the Cheeseboard with apple beetroot chutney, sourdough croûte, preserved figs, and grapes.
The White Chocolate & Brie Cheesecake was spectacular! If you’re a sweet tooth, you may find it a bit too savoury, but I certainly enjoyed that slight touch of sweetness in this very fluffy creation, perfectly balanced by the cherry gel and candied pecans.
And Sabine’s Cheeseboard was just as fantastic. This is probably one of the prettiest cheeseboards I’ve ever seen, and it perfectly matches creamy cheeses with some sweet fruit and the delightful apple beetroot chutney.
Both are worth ordering again!
Should You Visit?
Absolutely! Visiting La Petite Ferme should be on your bucket list for this summer – and any other time!
The views are magical, the service astounding, and the food will take you on a magic ride better than Alladin can!
La Petite Ferme Contact Details
Booking is highly recommended, so grab all the contact details below.
La Petite Ferme
Address: Franschhoek Pass Road, 7690, Franschhoek
Call: +27 21 876 3016/8
Article Date: December 2021
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