Home to one of Cape Town’s most affordable all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets
Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant
Fine wine, fine art and fine food in Franschhoek
From the moment you enter La Motte wine estate you’re elevated into another world – one where beauty, grace, good food and great wine reigns supreme.
We’re on our way to lunch at the farm’s on-site restaurant, Pierneef à La Motte, where both the food and the decor is inspired by the work of the late South African artist, Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957).
With wine in honour of Pierneef and a museum housing some 104 Pierneef artworks, La Motte added the Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant to its properties as another dedication to the art giant, this time in the form of food.
At the top of the winery’s driveway, we’re greeted by a tall, bronze sculpture of a woman holding an overflowing chalice. The Franschhoek mountains and sprawling vineyards cut a dramatic backdrop behind her. In the foreground indigenous plants, from proteas to violet agapanthus, lead us to the reception where the entrance of La Motte looks like a vintage-style cottage house with wide white walls, large wooden doors and vines flowing all along.
Upon entering the reception area we are greeted by the friendly faces of La Motte staff at the glass doors, which leads us out to the world of La Motte beyond. As we exit the reception area, the green grass and the picturesque vastness of nature beyond that prompts me to immediately reach for my camera to capture the leafy light landscape beyond the white walls.
Journey to the Farm Shop
As we make our way through to Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant we pass the Farm Shop, which stocks everything from fresh produce and flowers grown on the property to baked goods, like Ouma’s bread; a special Shiraz bread; and a delicious array of cakes and confectionery. The Farm Shop also offers other specialty goods that make for great gifts, such as ceramics and culinary tools, handmade stationery, books, Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg CDs (Hanneli owns La Motte estate and is a former South African leading mezzo-soprano), and special spice blends from the farm kitchen. And that’s still not all, also shop for La Motte’s unique coffee blend, their delicious wines (of course) and a range of Arômes de La Motte body products, which are made from essential oils that are harvested from plants that grow on the estate.
Welcome to the restaurant
Pierneef a La Motte is housed inside an old Cape Dutch style building on the estate.The is luxurious and elegant, without any formal or pretentious airs. The aesthetic of the space is best described as a contemporary take on the traditional, which we later find is a good way to describe the food too!
As we enter the restaurant, the kitchen is to the left. It’s an ultra-modern space and I am immediately excited about the culinary creations that will emerge from here! It’s an open-plan kitchen that diners can all see into, with bespoke decor best described as the fanciest barstool-like chairs you can imagine, complete with prints of Pierneef artworks on the backrest. What’s even more impressive are the downlights above the counter that ascend and descend to the dishes so that the chefs can add the finishing touches in good light before the food is served.
A quick detour to a private space
Adjacent to the kitchen is a separate space where the Chef’s Table and food and wine pairings take place. Here guests can experience a fine dining menu, pre-arranged with Chef Michelle Theron, which offers patrons the opportunity to experience a personalised menu of Cape Winelands Cuisine, coupled with a complementing wine selection. What’s more, the chef herself facilitates the process as creative, culinary guide! The space is intimate and private, and can seat up to six people, making for a perfect foodie experience with close friends.
Back to the menu
As we peruse the seasonal menu we discover that the Franschhoek eatery is a custodian of lost recipes: it not only specialises in traditional Cape Winelands Cuisine, but played an important part in resurrecting and popularising it. Driven by owner, Hanneli, and CEO Hein Koegelenberg, the La Motte team conducted exhaustive research into three centuries’ worth of Cape Winelands food heritage, ingredients, and techniques to eventually offer a fresh interpretation of traditional Cape Dutch, Flemish and French Huguenot fare.
“The recipes and cooking traditions have been passed on from generation to generation from the many different nationalities that travelled to this region,” explains Michelle.
From garden to plate
Most of the vegetables and herbs served at the restaurant are grown in the estate garden. In the early mornings the chefs head out to harvest the day’s ingredients.
It’s a tough choice with so many delicious options to choose from but for my main course I opt for the Provençal inspired lamb served with braised tomatoes, olives and creamed potato and herbs, olive caramel and glazed aubergines. This substantial serving was not only filling but supremely delectable too.
While the dishes certainly aren’t your everyday fare, there’s still something to suit most palates: for the meat lovers, there’s cider-roast pork, with apple and sage tart tartin; slow-cooked marmalade glazed duck breast, served with confit duck leg, seasonal citrus salad, candied sweet potato and kumquat preserve; and venison with peaches and Cape snowbush, served with bean cassoulet with confit onions, and saucisson sec. Fish lovers can try the pan-fried Franschhoek salmon trout, which comes with the savoury kale “scone”, a poached egg, sauce vierge, tomato and red pepper ketchup. Vegetarians can choose between the savoury rolled oats and lentil porridge, which comes with roasted mushrooms, parsnips, and brown butter-whipped honey; or the roasted beetroot and onion galette served with herbed chevin and caramelised red wine onions.
The delivery of these dishes are unique, the ingredients authentic and the food and wine pairings exquisite. La Motte makes for the ideal culinary experience for both food and wine lovers.
Glass half full
Above all else, wine plays a pivotal role in how the chefs prepare the dishes. “Funny enough, the spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and mace – used in a lot of our traditional dishes match perfectly with the La Motte Shiraz,” says Michelle.
The estate’s signature robust red is exceptional, as is the golden Chardonnay I’ve heard so much about. Not to mention, they won the 2015 Drinks International Wine Tourism Awards, and the La Motte Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Millennium, Shiraz, Pierneef Shiraz Grenache, Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc, MCC, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pierneef Shiraz Viognier are among the top winners of some of the most prestigious wine awards in the world.
A meal at La Motte is both a journey into South Africa’s artistic and culinary past, as well as an on-trend, modern experience of food, wine and art in the Cape Winelands.
Tip: Take the recipes home. Cape Winelands Cuisine Cookbook by Hetta van Deventer and La Motte is available for purchase from the restaurant.
By Marian Volkwyn
Interested in learning more about this innovative Franschhoek wine farm? Read about our day at La Motte wine estate.
Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn and check out our Pinterest boards for updates.