Orangerie @ Le Lude, Franschhoek

I had written a short review on the bubbly tasting at Le Lude (updated in this post) when we first visited the farm but I absolutely, without a doubt, needed to do an update after having a lunch at their restaurant, Orangerie.

 

I am big on celebrations. My husband thinks it’s pretty hilarious. I don’t believe in working on birthdays. Anniversaries MUST be celebrated – sometimes even monthly – and we still celebrate our dating anniversary, Christmas is massive, Easter and Valentine’s Day are biggies too. Even National Braai Day MUST be celebrated. So it is inevitable that National Women’s Day is a big day for me. Every year my husband takes me somewhere really nice for lunch and this year we decided on Orangerie. My mom-in-law and sister-in-law joined us too so it was the three ladies and my husband. Pure bliss for him, obviously!
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The Gardens & Decor

The estate is so dreamy. It is surrounded by mountains and vineyards as far as the eye can see. The gardens are so beautifully manicured and green and lush. I almost wanted to pop a picnic blanket on the grass and just sit and stare at the views all day long. The decor inside the restaurant and tasting room is so classy and elegant, yet comfortable and warm. The paneled walls, massive oval windows and marble counter tops just stole my heart straight away. Oh and let’s not forget the black and white marble floors. Pure touch of perfection!

 The Bubbly

We started off with a bottle of the Le Lude Brut MCC (R200) which went down like a house on fire. My sister-in-law isn’t a big bubbly fan and even she enjoyed it. Not sure we were too happy about that though because it meant less bubbly for us. Hmmmm. In her defence, she only likes real french champagne so the fact that she enjoyed this bubbly just shows how flipping incredible it is. I’m blown away by the standard of some of our MCC’s in this Country.

 

 The Menu

The menu isn’t massive (which I prefer) but there is something for everyone and you can tell that all the dishes have been well thought out with so much detail and flavour combinations. The cuisine is classical French but with a contemporary twist and let me tell you that the food looked as good as it tasted.

 

All four of us had a different dish which meant loads of swapping and tasting and as always, I spent the first five to ten minutes trying everyone else’s food before even tasting my own. I decided to go for the Fresh West Coast Mussels, steamed in Le Lude Brut finished with a gremolata creme served with pomme neuf chips (aka Parisian fried potatoes). I’d never had mussels with chips before but it was such a treat to dip those crispy, chunky chips in the creamy deliciousness of the sauce. I went for a full portion as opposed to a half portion and I realised half way through my lunch that the smaller portion would have been sufficient. I guess it’s my own fault for eating everyone else’s food before my own. I would say with all confidence that these were the best mussels I have ever had and for R140 for a full portion, it is absolutely worth it.
My husband went for the Beef Tagliata, wild mushroom, sweet oven roasted tomatoes, arugula salad, Grano Padano and pomme neuf chips. This dish was ridiculously good not only because the beef was done to perfection but also because it was fresh and colourful and all the elements complimented one another so perfectly (R180). My mom-in-law went for the full portion of Trio of wild mushroom tortellini, warm vinaigrette, fresh parsley and Grano Padano (R160) which was incredibly tasty and well-balanced in terms of the acidity of the vinaigrette and the creaminess of the mushroom tortellini. I could have very happily had a few more tastes of this one. My sister-in-law went for the Glazed pork belly, thyme, apple chutney, potato gratin and buttered cabbage (R180). You could practically cut the pork belly with a spoon. It was so soft and tender. Cooked to absolute perfection and the sweet apple chutney balanced out the richness of the pork so well. We were all way too full for dessert but we have sworn to return for the afternoon tea in the near future.

 

 Bubbly Cont… & Tasting

Lucky we weren’t too full for bubbly so we promptly ordered another bottle of bubbly but this time we went for their Brut Rosé MCC(R200). Equally as incredible as the Brut MCC. Both of their MCC’s are a classic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend but obviously the Rosé has a higher Pinot Noir content than the traditional Brut to give it that beautiful pink shade. I truly believe that there is something magical about bubbles and these two bubbles just prove that.

As I mentioned earlier, we had been to the farm for a bubbly tasting a few months ago. The tasting room is inside, past the restaurant, and also full of charm and elegance.  We opted to do the full bubbly tasting, which included the two Le Lude MCC’s (Brut and Brut Rosé) and a champagne from France. Their basic tasting includes their two MCC’s (R50) and the full tasting includes their two MCC’s and one champagne from France (R110). It really is fabulous to compare these two South African bubbly’s with a real French Champagne and realise how close they are in terms of quality and flavour- but ours are even better, of course! What I found rather fascinating is that Le Lude is the first winery in South Africa to produce the artisanal Agrafe bottle fermented sparkling wine. This is the method of fermenting wine under cork instead of crown cap. Pretty impressive stuff!

 They also offer bubbly and canapé pairings with three different canapé selections, including a vegetarian option. The canapé tasting including their two MCC’s costs R140 and the canape tasting including their two MCC’s and the French Champagne costs R200. They also have a beautiful High Tea Menu for R140 a person which looked absolutely delicious (By the way, I was informed that booking is essential for this because they prepare all the food on the morning of to ensure freshness so be sure to book).

Considering my in-laws are moving to Franschhoek next month and Le Lude is their closest wine farm, I am pretty sure that we will become annoyingly frequent visitors. We already can’t wait for our next visit!

Contact Details: Le Lude, Franschhoek , http://lelude.co.za/

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