‘an ever-escalating avalanche of farm-style flavours’
This farm is an inviting home, sophisticated yet rustic. Orchards and vineyards draw your eyes as you walk past clucking chickens to the wine tasting room. Stop and taste some Maison wines, or indulge in retail therapy in the kitchen shop and deli. Take your place in the light, airy restaurant with its inviting backdrop of the Franschhoek mountains. Take a moment to watch talented David Schneider, head chef and co-owner with Liam Tomlin, as he perfects each plate in the open kitchen. He has come home, the call of country being louder than that of the city.
David believes that living and working in the Franschhoek valley is a privilege and responsibility. “Visitors come here to taste what is grown here, it is our responsibility as chefs to use what is local,” he says. “They want to experience something they cannot get at home.” His ‘tapas for two’, is a torrent of robust, layered farm-style flavours; small dishes designed to share, casual yet special. “Time is the best ingredient,” claims Dave.
Two years of working in a butchery in Paarl gave him a real understanding of the beast and how best to transform it. His homemade charcuterie is the hero of the stalwart beef sirloin pastrami, served with a horseradish catalan, spiced onion relish, charred spring onion salsa and a homemade soft pretzel. He creates magic for pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans and is a trailblazer of using waste products imaginatively. Whey is used in dressings, reductions, glazes, risotto bases, fermentations and batters. Everything is carefully crafted into unique dishes that have meaning. The ‘gerookte’ (house-smoked) snoek and braaied cauliflower dish, rich in flavor and contemporary in presentation, perfectly illustrates the country. “Here we tell the culture of this place, it’s a working farm.”
All your senses will be entertained. Dishes from the seared venison tataki with its beetroot-balsamic dressing to the fragrant, homemade pine-ring mushroom linguine, will entice. The linefish sashimi is memorable, dressed with lime pickle, green mango and a coconut cream reduction, the limes pickled by David for six months. Desserts too are tempting and abundant in taste, but be warned that you may feel an affinity with the resident pig, Porcini, if you order more than one.
“I am lucky to live in Franschhoek, each individual should rise to the responsibility of making the most of this incredible environment.” Chef David Schneider
Address: Maison Estate, R45, Franschhoek
Contact: 021 876 2116