With more restaurants than you can shake a cat at in Franschhoek Valley, the opening of yet another one scarcely warrants a mention. Wine estate? Heard it all before.
Except when it’s really special, that is, and the newly launched La Paris Bistro is precisely that: special. It’s on La Paris Wine Estate – which I’d never heard of until recently – just outside Franschhoek and seemingly intended as a prime wedding venue. Rightly so, because it’s gorgeous.
Our family of four first had Sunday lunch there a bare few days after the Bistro had opened and you know what? It wasn’t half bad. Not at all.
I had a fabulous steak with proper sticky demi glace; the generous charcuterie platter and whole baked camembert were wolfed down for starters by the table and my daughter relished her lavish Mustard Chicken with Avo salad. (The two guys sulked because they’d ordered sandwiches but I mean, who even orders sandwiches for Sunday lunch? Serves them right.)
Bread is baked in-house and sold in the Deli next doors, along with a motley choice of deli goods, wines and craft beer. I defy you not to take home a loaf or two, and even more so, to leave it alone in the car on your drive! Deee-licious. Our waitress was slick, smooth, delightfully friendly and prompt as well. No complaints there, considering the place had been open only a mere few days.
Cue some weeks later, and the Bistro is running like a well-oiled machine. The menu is enticing, intriguing and extensive, and the food is jolly good. Delicious cakes on display tempt even the most resolute dieter, and it’s lovely to know that everything is made in-house by chef Nico Vorster and his able crew.
At first serving breakfast and lunch only, the Bistro branches out to dinner in 2018. I’d advise a booking – and soon, too – as La Paris falls slap bang within the catchment area of several well-heeled estates nearby. And other folks, like us, are more than happy to make the journey all the way from town for a leisurely meal. Catch my drift? Yes, it’s a success already.
The interior is gorgeous – airy, bright and welcoming, with toasty fires on cold days and big doors opening out onto the garden in the summer. The style is modern minimal and the vibe is: stay and linger, kick back and enjoy yourself a while. Very family-friendly, too.
For the full lowdown, read below:
The La Paris Bistro, comprising a chic restaurant and deli, and an on-site bakery, is the newest luxury eatery in the Franschhoek valley.It was conceptualized and developed by the owner Sebastian Rodenburg and in-house interior architect Ashleigh Ratcliffe. La Paris Bistro is conveniently located in the Winelands, along the R301 between Franschhoek and Paarl.
La Paris Estate dates back to 1699 and many of the original buildings have been meticulously restored to be incorporated into the modern estate. Their gabled facades and chalk white walls contrast the lush green gardens.
Inspired by luxurious comfort and natural materials, the La Paris Bistro is an experience in modern sumptuous styling, featuring indoor palms and hanging ferns. The Bistro restaurant is set atop beautiful solid wood French Oak floors. The outdoor terrace under the estate’s towering oak trees and umbrellas, opens onto lush lawns and the estate’s expansive courtyard.
Chef Nico Vorster brings years of experience in fine cuisine, at 5-star establishments and leads the kitchen brigade. He describes his style as “elegant food, daring flavours and familiar favorites.”
Breakfast at the Bistro is served from 08:30 to 11:00, from a comprehensive menu of fruit bowls, egg dishes like full farm breakfast, omelettes and light options like the Franschhoek smoked salmon croissant with cream cheese and capers.
A Farm to Table philosophy means that wholesome authentic fresh food is sourced locally and responsibly. This inspires a menu of healthy dishes with a mix of light options like cured salmon, pickled cucumber, sesame slaw and rice bowls, to delicious mains like mango-ginger prawns with citrus couscous, seared beef salad with gorgonzola and peckham pears, or craft beer-battered linefish and handcut chips. Lunch is available from 12:00, and guests can expect mains in the range of R80 to R130.
The coffee menu is extensive, and includes mixed coffee drinks like caramel lattes, frappes, iced nougat coffee and a signature rose cappuccino.
The La Paris Bistro truly welcomes families, and children are catered for with a special menu of tasty, nourishing meals, milkshakes and yummy desserts. There is also a childrens’ outdoor play area with jungle gym, slides and benches, close to where the estate horses Applejack and Freckles can be seen too.
On colder days, the Bistro offers two couch corners with warming wood-burning fireplaces, rugs and coffee tables for an afternoon with coffee or early evening with red wine and platters; either cheese or charcuterie.
The Bistro bar is a large 8-seater French Oak bartop, with stocked bar shelves that extend high above the bar. The bar has been stocked with wines and craft spirits that showcase local farms and distilleries. There are over 70 locally-sourced wines, craft beers on tap and the barman slings all the modern-favourite cocktails, and mixes with local craft spirits.
For bubbly drinkers, the bar offers an extraordinary range, from Louis Roederer Cristal to Laurent Perrier Brut and Jacquart Rose, local Colmant Brut to French Veuve Clicquot. All are served in elegant tall-stem flutes.
The Deli is a fresh produce and supply store, carrying local and imported products. The Bistro Bakery makes fresh breads for the Deli daily, and the aroma of fresh bread in the oven lures shoppers in. There is also a comprehensive selection of fruits and vegetables, cheeses and meats, and biltong which can be bought in strips or sliced by Deli staff.
NEWSFLASH! ORDER FABULOUS CAKES ONLINE FROM THE DELI: CLICK HERE TO ORDER CAKES
The Deli has two walk-in wine cellars, one for red and one for white, collectively with over 70 wines, Champagnes, Dessert Wines and MCCs. Freshly-made authentic Deli Sandwiches are also available for take-away order in the Deli, along with coffee, juices, teas and cakes by the slice.
In addition to supplying the Deli and the Bistro kitchen, The Bistro Bakery bakes delicious cakes and offers an extensive range. From birthday cakes to popular favorites like carrot and cheese cake, red velvet and chocolate gateau, cakes can be made to order and collected at the Deli. The Bakery motto “Life’s too short not to eat Cake” is stamped into every cake box, and after tasting the La Paris Bakery cakes, there’s little doubt about that.
The Bakery claims their iced caramel sponge cake, with macadamia brittle and caramelized popcorn topping as an all-out favorite, and orders for this cake should be made days in advance. The Bakery also produces impressive wedding cakes, convenient as the La Paris Estate also hosts weddings.
Weddings are hosted in three stunning venues: a 400-seater crystal chandeliered venue called The Lyceum, a 120-seater black and white marbled venue called The Winery complete with historic wine tanks, and outdoor venues in the Rose Garden and the circular Arbour venue among tall, tightly-clipped hedges.
The Estate is a delight to explore and take in. From the white horses in their paddock, to the manicured gardens. The La Paris Bistro promises to spoil its guests, and its curated farm estate surroundings please the eye, and leave one feeling relaxed and calm.
For more information visit www.laparis.co.za/bistro
Contact Tel: 021 867 0171