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Food24 eats at... Le Bon Vivant

Chef Caro takes a turn past this great 'off the beaten track' little gem.

12 Oct 2010
bon vivant

Where do you think of when you think of eating in Franschhoek?

Reuben's? French Connection, Le Quartier Francais? The old favourites are always good, but do you ever try out the other guys, the ones off ‘the strip’?

I love finding new gems and the best way to do that is to speak to the locals. I had one such jeweled tidbit of information and took a turn past Le Bon Vivant.

It’s a little off the main street and nestled in a beautiful courtyard that was twinkling in the moonlight with quaint stone tables and brollies. Note to self: go there on a balmy summers eve.

The food

Really good, chef Pierre Hendriks and his team are producing a quality of food that is right up there with the big boys.

There is serious attention to detail and beautiful presentation matched with fresh ingredients and interesting flavour combinations.

We have an eye-popping gallery of the dishes we ate to ogle over, so go and have a look immediately.

My top tastes: The combination of hot and cold starters (R85) – wonderful to share and quite enough for 2. ‘Look at that!’ presentation and beautiful baby explosions of flavour.

Crayfish and pork belly:  Crayfish tails and braised pork belly, crayfish springroll, lentils and crackling vinaigrette (155) – an awesomely rich and interesting dish.

Springbok loin and shank: Grilled and earl grey smoked loin, braised shank and red wine baby apple (130) – lovely duo for the meat eater.

The ultimate for chocoholics (R70 – too expensive for a dessert I thought) - boozy hot chocolate, deep chocolate mousse cake and white chocolate ice cream. Nummy.

The wine

Our fabulous wine ed. Cathy Marston tells it like it is, “That’s a good, local list featuring exclusively Franschhoek wines – well done to them for that. There are no vintages which would have been nice and the wines by the glass section is a little unclear, it might be better to list them in the sections with the full bottles.

Reasonable mark-ups and a good range of prices. If there are any gaps at all, it’s at the top end -  there’s nothing there really for you to splash out on.”


The starters (R55-R95) and desserts (R50-R75) are quite expensive but the mains are not (R80-R155). The ingredients are all pretty high end – lots of foie gras, scallops, crayfish and prawns, so it's actually very reasonable for what you get. You can also have a light meal there for around R60, so it’s not only for a serious meal.

Great for

A romantic meal or a foodie indulgence with friends. If you’re having the light meals menu, you can zip in for a quick Franschhoek bite of deliciousness.

- Caro de Waal

Read more on: franschhoek  |  restaurant  |  caro de waal  |  review

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