Food24 eats at... Pierneef à La Motte

Cath Shone falls in love with Franschhoek all over again.

 Pierneef à La Motte

The first time I ever set eyes on the Franschhoek valley I thought I’d arrived in Heaven. Then I kind of overdid it.  Friends from foreign lands would barely have cleared customs and off we’d charge to Franschhoek to sample some of South Africa’s best wines and top restaurants.

After the 17th or so set of visitors I was over it. Over Graham Beck, over French Connection and very much over Haute Cabriére. (Through no fault of their own, I just loved them too much.) 

So, I gave Franschhoek a break.

Until I got wind of Pierneef... a name that would make you sit up and listen anyway, but the Pierneef I was hearing about (it was almost trending on twitter for goodness sake) was the restaurant, not the South African master artist it has been named for.

Pierneef à La Motte recently opened on the magnificent La Motte wine estate amid loads of media buzz.  I was invited, post-launch, to have a tour of the wine cellar with winemaker Edmund Terblanche followed by lunch at Pierneef with Edmund, Hein Koegelenberg (HeinWine) CEO of La Motte and Hetta van Deventer, their culinary manager.  A Silwood Kitchen graduate, an accomplished foodie and an interesting and lovely lady.

Cape Winelands Cuisine

Chef Chris Erasmus, formerly of Ginja, is a perfect fit for this open-plan kitchen.  A perfectionist, according to Chef Caro, with a flair for fresh and interesting flavours. “He’d flambé your hand in order to get the perfect dish out…” 

To cut a lovely long story short the menu is a fresh take on Boerekos, aka "Cape Winelands Cuisine". Items like King’s bread soup with braised veal knuckle karmenaatjie (R45), and Cape bokkom salad with quail eggs and wild garlic dressing (R47) will blow your mind. The bokkom salad is the best I've ever tasted.

For the mains they have things like the Impala neck and stewed prune skilpadjie with biltong scones. (R115)

For a better look at the menu check out our gallery. I found the desserts a little pricey but the starters and the mains are very competitive.

If you’ve read any of the reviews out there you’ll have heard the food is sublime, and if you’ve never heard of some of those ingredients then head out there and check it out for yourself. Hetta will tell you everything you need to know about South African culinary history, particularly “Cape Winelands Cuisine.”

La Motte redefined is special. Their wine is special. Their food is special and if you’re not hungry or thirsty – just go to check out the JH Pierneef collection in the museum. It’s quite something. It has made me fall in love with Franschhoek again.

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