Experience the Weekday Winter Lunch Menu at
La Petite Colombe

Words: Julie Velosa

There are many things to rejoice about as the weather cools down. Yes, its the end of days at the beach and cocktails by the pool but it is also the start of days spent sipping your favourite red around the warmth of a fire and of course great winter specials. In the Cape, we’ve mastered the art of the winter special… you have to in order to coax Capetonians out from under the covers, so it was with anticipation that we visited Franschhoek to experience the weekday winter lunch menu at La Petite Colombe.

Weekday Winter Lunch Menu at La Petite Colombe

Everything at La Petite Colombe is done with style and panache, from the greeting as you enter (welcome back, if you’ve been before) right through to the attentive service all the way through the experience. The winter menu is billed at four courses but really ends up being a bit more with the inclusion of a bread course to begin and a palate cleanser midway and petit fours to end. So for the unpaired price of R395, it is great value for money.

To Begin

It would be hard to skip over the bread course which starts the meal, as it really is so tasty. Who knew roasted yeast dust could be quite so delicious? Home churned butter spread thickly on warm sourdough also helps, of course.

In the signature style of the group, the first dish that hits the table is a visual sensation and, although you’ll want to tuck in straight away, I urge you to just take a minute to appreciate the intricacies of it. Single micro herbs and petals of edible flowers stand upright in gels and mousses making for a garden-like picture.

Yellowfin tuna that is pole caught is frozen aboard the vessel it is caught from and only defrosts once it is sliced for plating. It’s as close to fresh out of the ocean as you’re going to get, short of being on the boat itself. The tuna is thinly sliced and served with tiny details like cubes of miso aubergine, dollops of avocado, umami gel, kalamansi gel and a hoisin dressing. It’s an awful lot of detail for a small dish –  but it makes every mouthful a pleasure.

You had me at Pork Belly…

The next course is a choice of Asian glazed pork belly and prawn or Springbok tataki. Again, layers of detail and flavour make these dishes a visual and flavour feast. Without giving too much away, the pork belly is a delicate variation of this cut, which can sometimes be quite rustic.  It is compressed, which changes the texture and it just simply melts on the tongue. The langoustine bisque served alongside it is delicous with a rich seafood flavour that rounds out the dish.

The Springbok just barely touches the grill to lightly sear and is served with a rooibos, pear and prune. If you opt for the wine-paired menu, you will enjoy a glass of Stony Brook SMV 2016, a great local blend that pairs so well with this dish.

There is an option on the menu to include ‘Meet the Chefs’ as an extra course (R100) and if you can we recommend that you do.

It is the interactive part of the meal and you’ll be asked to join one of the kitchen team up at the pass. Here you’ll get a glimpse into the kitchen as it is abuzz mid-service, with head chef John Norris-Rogers at the helm and will enjoy an extra special dish. I won’t ruin the surprise of exactly what you’ll experience but it is delicious.

Weekday Winter Lunch Menu at La Petite Colombe

Heavenly Pairings

For mains, there is a choice between Pan-seared Line Fish (on the day we visited this was Mauritian Sea Bass) served with a smokey mussel veloute and delicately cut squid or Chalmar beef with the most heavenly and tender brisket and a porcini café au lait sauce. It’s a tough choice. Both the Rickety Bridge ‘Paulina’s Reserve’ Semillion 2014 and the Rijk’s ‘Private Cellar’ Shiraz 2011 served with these courses are standout selections by sommelier Andrew Cook.

Weekday Winter Lunch Menu at La Petite ColombeWeekday Winter Lunch Menu at La Petite Colombe

To end

Choosing between desserts will also not be easy – in fact, our suggestion with all of these courses is to select one of each with your dining partner so that you can experience them all. The Foxenburg Goat’s Cheese with poached figs finds that idyllic balance between sweet and savoury. The Valrhona Itakuja cremeux is silky smooth and served with a refreshing mango sorbet that took me back to childhood summers in Durban.

Weekday Winter Lunch Menu at La Petite Colombe

Round off your meal with coffees and a treasure box of signature Le Petite Colombe Treasures – small petit fours that are the sweetest way to end a wonderful foodie experience.

La Petite Colombe’s weekday winter lunch menu is priced at R395 for 4-courses without wine and R795 for the wine paired version. There is also the option of adding in the 5th course (Meet the Chefs) at R100. The winter menu is offered Monday – Fridays (excluding public holidays) and will run until end August 2018 (note: the restaurant will be closed for 3 weeks from 11 to 31 May, while the team takes a much-needed break).

Book in for the weekday winter lunch menu at La Petite Colombe by booking online or calling (021) 202-3395.

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