A Curated Stay at Le Petit Manoir, Franschhoek

Words: Julie Velosa

There are many places to choose to stay when visiting the lovely Franschhoek valley and it can be a challenge to decide exactly what you want out of the experience. The town offers so much in terms of food, wine and the finer things in life, that combining it all into your stay can take some planning. Fortunately, at a place like Le Petit Manoir, the team have done a lot of the work for you – a stunning dining experience is matched by superlative accommodation and both are brought together by service and attention to detail that you will find hard to match.

Le Petit Manoir

Staying at Le Petit Manoir

The hotel (along with its deli and fine-dining restaurant) are located almost at the centre of Huguenot Road (the main road through Franschhoek) and so is perfectly placed for exploring the town and surrounding areas.

Being that there are only four rooms, the boutique establishment is able to offer a really personalised stay. The rooms are beautifully decorated, using the space thoughtfully. The décor is elegant in its simplicity, crisp white linens, colour and texture from cushions and occasional chairs.

Le Petit Manoir

The bathroom is open and features an awesome power shower, a backlit LED mirror and divinely aromatic Molton Brown amenities. The room we stayed in featured a contemporary freestanding bath that, given the drought situation, sadly didn’t get used but looked amazing!

Thoughtful touches like bubbly and macarons made arriving and settling in at Le Petit Manoir that much more special.

Behind the Scenes at Le Petit Manoir

Le Petit Manoir is the project of partners Brian Groenewald, JP Lombard, Frank Heyneke and Kevin Grobler. Between them they have a staggering amount of experience in the hospitality industry and it shows.

Kevin, who returns from JAN in Nice where he was head chef, has made the Franschhoek valley home and brings his style of fine dining to the foodie hotspot.

A Dining Experience at Le Petit Manoir

The restaurant itself, like the rest of the hotel, is meticulously curated. Every last detail has been thought of down to beautiful glassware and stylish crockery and cutlery. Everything seems to fit together like a puzzle and the result is quite beautiful.

Tasting Menu

For dinner, we experienced the 6-course menu paired with local wines and were enchanted by every course.

To start, an amuse bouche of sweet potato mousse, with a crisp crostini topped with mascarpone and olive tapenade. It was just as an amuse should be, small, intricate and it completely woke up the palate with a bang.

Standouts on the menu included the delectable hand-cut beef tartare with fresh peas, baby corn, deep-fried quail egg and avo. Paired with this was a stunning Holden Manz Chardonnay that we couldn’t get enough of.

We loved the bit of theatre provided by the course of a cold-smoked tomato broth with fresh salmon and tomato chutney. The smokey flavour of the broth bringing an unexpected warmth to this dish.

Le Petit Manoir

A main of braised beef short rib sailed past us to another table and it looked positively mouth-watering – my dining partner and I were excited to see that it was part of the tasting menu that we were enjoying.

When it arrived at our table it delivered in flavour as much as it did in looks. Simply melt-n-the-mouth beef (that takes 3 days to prepare, first smoked and then pressed) is served with grilled kohlrabi and a mustard leaf and kale pesto. Paired with a glass of Glenwood Merlot this course was heavenly and filling without feeling overly heavy.

The cheese and dessert courses divided us – we couldn’t decide on which we liked more. A goat’s cheese cheesecake topped with port reduction, stout marmalade and parsnip crisps, or a whiskey ice cream with salted caramel sauce and tipsy tart. Who can choose? It might just have been the mini Irish coffees served with the sweet course that finally broke the tie.

Breakfast and Deli

After an extremely restful night’s sleep, we woke to a brilliantly sunny valley day. The hotel rooms look over the NG Kerk, which looks positively resplendent in the morning light set against the backdrop of the Franschhoek mountains.

Le Petit Manoir

Breakfast is served in the restaurant to hotel guests and members of the public. The heavenly delights in the restaurant’s deli section are definitely a drawcard. We opted for a traditional breakfast fry up, which was excellently prepared. We also couldn’t pass up trying a pastry and the croissant was definitely one of the best we have had.

To Sum it Up

From the moment we arrived at Le Petit Manoir we were made to feel at home and looked after. Despite some very windy conditions at some points, we felt cocooned and relaxed within the hotel. So much care has gone into the planning of every aspect and it really shows.

If you are looking for a central place to explore Franschhoek from, or a really special spot for a celebration dinner and stay, look no further than experiencing all there is on offer at this truly stunning bespoke hotel.

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