Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant
Dave and I were invited to lunch at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant in Franschhoek. What made this so special is that we got to sit at the counter in front of the open kitchen. Here we could watch Michelle Theron work her magic. She is the head chef at the restaurant on the La Motte wine estate and her passion is clearly evident. We were warmly met by Shermann who took my jacket from me, and helped us into our seats. These are quite high and very heavy but afforded us the best view possible of what is usually behind the scenes. We were given the menu to look at and while trying to make up our minds what to choose; we sipped on a glass of the La Motte MCC Brut (R75/glass). This is a pinot / chardonnay blend and was most enjoyable.
Michelle plates up every one of the bread boards that goes out to the table and I sampled all of the offerings. On offer was a mosbolletjie, smoked paprika and onion bread, seed lavash, oma brood (grandmother’s bread) and ciabatta. These were served with farm butter, shiraz butter and carrot spread. Given that the menu is designed around the wine, both Dave and I went with the wine pairing option. I love the idea of creating dishes to go with the wine, rather than the other way around. We do not usually go for a wine pairing but I wanted to get the best experience from the menu. I recommend if you visit that you do the same.
Starting our meal
I chose the spring green gazpacho to start paired with sauvignon blanc (R125). Dave had the fragrant Cape curried seafood with a glass of single vineyard chardonnay (R145). While we were eating our starters Michelle sent out a La Motte harvest bowl (R110). The bowl itself is edible and Michelle prepared one for Dave and I to try. We mentioned that a tasting menu would have been perfect for us to get a better feel for each dish. The menu is heavily influenced by the recipes in Cape Winelands Cuisine and we also got to try the tomatoes on ‘askoek’ (R110). For visitors unfamiliar with the terms used in the menu a description is provided. Askoek is a traditional bread baked in the smouldering embers of a braai or cooking fire and translates to ash cake.
Main courses and more
For mains I went with the venison with black lentils and aubergine (R240). I had never tried black lentils before and I probably won’t try them again. This was served with a glass of cabernet sauvignon. Dave could not decide between the chicken and guinea fowl with a glass of syrah (R240) or the lamb and waterblommetjies with the cabernet sauvignon. Once I mentioned we were having chicken for dinner he chose the lamb. The flavours from each dish we tasted were divine. Dave ended his meal with his customary single espresso which came with a Madeleine. I could not resist a dessert. I had the rhubarb and berries which was served with a straw wine (R115). This wine uses viognier grapes which is my favourite white varietal.
A changing menu
Each month Michelle changes two items from each course. She selects the wine first and then works around that, using seasonal ingredients. Hetta will offer her input for the changes and they are put to the test in the evenings. Pierneef à La Motte offers a 5 course set dinner menu which is in line with our experience at L’Aspérule in Auxerre. Two things I was really impressed with were the hot plates, and the amazing smell you got from each dish as it was presented. The service was really good and the only downside to our meal was that I left my jacket there. It had been raining when we arrived but as it was warm when we left. And it really was a case of out of sight, out of mind. I managed to have it collected the following day.
Disclosure: Dave and I were guests of Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant. As I already have a copy of Cape Winelands Cuisine I was sent home with some lovely gifts, including this bread. Our meal was on the house but we left a gratuity for the staff as is our norm. This post is in line with my blogging policy.
Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime December 20:
Dave and I are on leave. We will be back at work on the 4th of January 2018. Today I am hoping to get my Christmas meal started. Have you started yours?