The newest edition to the Franschhoek scene is a restaurant really and truly for Franschhoek. Both in concept and in name, the aptly named “Le coin Francais” , which literally means Franschhoek, will embody the essence of the valley in heritage, cuisine, art and wine. It will feature cutting edge methods meeting time tested French elegance in cuisine, a carefully selected locally themed wine list to showcase the best local wines, a French sommeliers selection, and an ever evolving collaboration of art in the theme of photography.
PAYING HOMAGE TO HERITAGE The latest addition to the Franschhoek family of fine dining is Le coin Francais, meaning ‘the French corner. It embodies all that the village is proud of – heritage, art, food and wine. Chef and owner, Darren Badenhorst, was executive chef at The Restaurant at Grande Provence. Hes found his niche, using cutting edge techniques to transport diners on an exceptional journey through ‘art on a plate. Raised in Durban, where he developed his love of the ocean, Darren says moving to Franschhoek gave him culinary clarity. Sommelier, Munashe Kwaramba, has crafted a sommeliers list of French wines to supplement what is not produced locally. Everything else is French – the music, crockery, cutlery, the ambience. Darren describes his cuisine as interesting, honest and approachable yet challenging. “It must evoke emotions. Our staff are geared towards providing an unforgettable experience, whilst being relaxed, welcoming and friendly.” During the dinner journey, limited to just 10 tables, expect some surprises, and Darren at your table. Guests can watch the maestro and his team at work in the kitchen. Youll see a tinge of Asian and Italian influences in his menu, with French haute cuisine as his foundation. A level of restraint allows ingredients to speak for themselves, with some dishes being intricate, others delightful in their simplicity. Quality and sophistication are key, and local produce, some of it sourced exclusively, is prominent. “My food has fun elements and I like to evoke nostalgia. Dishes need to remind me of things and allow me to reflect.” Expect surprises from the minute the glass dome is lifted for the amuse bouche that may be monkfish cold smoked, served with black lace, caviar and a string of orange zest cooked four times. Expect the unexpected, artful plating and glorious gourmet cuisine. “A diner must be able to see what is important to the chef.” Chef Darren Badenhorst