An interesting place in Franschhoek is Le Lude. This boutique winery with its very own L’Orangerie restaurant. This relatively new, family owned piece of heaven is a beautiful addition to the village, something different to the places Franschhoek already has so many of. At Le Lude, situated next to the Franschhoek Monument and Museum, there is a tasting room, where you can do a canapé and wine tasting or a high tea, the restaurant with terrace where you can have a classic French lunch, and there is a vegetable garden.
The interior you could call contemporary, but also a bit old fashioned in the right meaning of the word. It is special and different than all other places. Almost like a traditional English tea garden room meets a modern white and minimalistic building. Black and white marble floors, lovely furniture, the finest table linen, personalised crockery, thin Champagne flûtes, a well maintained vegetable and flower garden, the vineyards and just magnificent views of the valley. The family started with planting and sourcing vineyards and grapes about five years ago, and their first harvest was in 2012. Only last year, October 2015, they released their first sparkling wine: Le Lude MCC Brut and Le Lude MCC Rosé. At the moment Le Lude only produces Méthode Cap Classique, and personally I find their bubbly really good. It has an refreshing elegant taste, light bubble, right balance of acidity and natural sweetness, and a lovely dry finish. A said before, the winery offers a Brut, a Rosé, and they are busy with a Prestige Cuvée. It’s such an interesting detail that Le Lude is the first place in South Africa using the Agrave – Tirage Liège method. This artisanal method in Champagne-world uses a large metal clip and cork instead of the normal crown cap (this all while still busy in the process of making the Champagne). A bottle secured this way is called agrafé. Nowadays you see more and more ‘simple’ crown caps in the sparkling wine business. But sometimes, with the more special or exclusive sparkling wines (especially in France), this Agrave – Tirage Liège is still popular. I find it very special and brave that Le Lude is the first winery in South Africa to produce these Agrave fermented sparkling wines. In their opinion this methode results in a more integrated aroma profile and texture.
On the blog you’ll find today a photo report of the lunch I had at Le Lude Boutique Winery and L’Orangerie Restaurant.
What a beautiful black-and-white marble floor!
How pretty is the outside of Le Lude? Very pretty. If you ever have visited the official Moët & Chandon in Épernay (Champagne region, France), you will recognise the architecture of the building is almost the same as L’Orangerie at Moët. So they even share names!
This Gruyère cheese soufflé with grilled asparagus and a light cream sauce was so light; still full of air. Absolutely delicious, it’s not easy to bake a soufflé so perfect.
For the love of mussels and fries…. The mussels are steamed in the MCC Brut, decadent! Their home made small, crispy baguettes and farm butter they serve for each table are also absolutely divine!
Fresh line fish, homemade tagliatelle, prawn bisque and green peas. This dish was ‘ok’, but not a wow! In our opinion there was a bit too much pasta with too little bisque. If they would have halved the amount of pasta probably there would have been a better balance.
You cannot finish a French lunch without a cheese platter, right? Well you can, but I just always try to find a perfect excuse to have cheese. The homemade preserves and flat bread were perfect with the cheeses. I always appreciate it when a restaurant put some time and effort in serving a good cheese platter.
This report start to be a bit boring, but again these vanilla, caramel & sea salt profiteroles were delicious.
What a beautiful garden full of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
And last but not least, this is the view…
So, there’s the new kid in town: Le Lude. A perfect place to surprise your love or family/friend(s) with a lazy lunch, wine/canapé tasting or high tea. Do yourself a favour and book. It’s a real gem!
Le Lude Boutique Winery & L’Orangerie restaurant is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am – 8 pm and on Sundays from 10 am – 8 pm. You can do canapé tasting, wine tasting, lunch, pre-dinner drinks (Wednesday – Saturday) and high tea. The average price for a starter is R85, for a main course R165 and desserts are around R60.
Situated on Lambrechts Road, Franschhoek (just turn left at Franschhoek Monument and turn right again after you passed the Franschhoek Museum and Old Slavenhuis. There is a white Le Lude sign where you have to turn right).
Franschhoek Wine Tram also includes Le Lude to (some of) their routes.
For more information, visit Le Lude’s website
*I have not been paid or invited to write about Le Lude boutique wintery and restaurant. We did pay ourselves for the lunch. All photos are mine.