So there I was, in Reuben’s in Franschhoek. It was lunchtime and I had traveled there with a friend.
I was expecting tasty flavoursome food, I felt that if you knew Reuben’s you’d know what to expect.
When the starters arrived I realised that something new and different was happening. In fact, I got a bit of a shock.
The presentation of each dish was exquisite, almost an art piece. If they were hats I’d say Philip Tracy.
This was food I’d never seen from Reuben before.
Not alone did the plating make the food look gorgeous, the flavours were phenomenal. They didn’t fight or clash, but worked together in harmony, the overall experience on the palate being sublime.
There was a familiarity, but the differences in combinations, flavours, textures and plating has moved his menu onto a new level.
My friend’s starter of Franschhoek honey roasted beet and fig salad with pomegranate, goats cheese creme, aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil was exquisite, and had her taste buds dancing. I had the rosemary and thyme roasted carrots and parsnips with warm pickled tongue, dates and wholegrain mustard. This is Reuben’s favourite dish, and I loved it – intricate but simple at the same time, if you can imagine.
My friend’s main of slow port braised oxtail with cauliflower cheese creme, crispy pancetta, stock braised potato with salsa verde was like “my Grandma used to make”, she said. Perfectly judged. The lightness of the cauliflower cheese creme gave the dish a lightness and a new dimension, while not letting up on flavour.
My dish of lamb shoulder “biryani” is, to me, not a typical Reuben style dish at all. Flavoured with toasted coconut, compressed pineapple and fresh persimmon-mint chutney it was delicious and simple. Heaven.
What was going on? Reuben was in the kitchen, and afterwards we had a chat about the refreshed approach to his menu.
In his typically understated way he said,”I decided on the changes about a month ago, and the feedback has been great”. He has coincided the new menu with his Winter special menu (three courses and a pre-starter for R185).
I’ve been visiting Reuben’s restaurants for over three years now, and I felt that his style was becoming predictable. You knew what to expect when you looked at the menu. Now he has moved onto a new level. My friend described his menu as; “Enticing, surprising, with a freshness. Colour and flavour combinations to delight”.
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Book a table quick, and check out Reuben’s new approach.
Reuben’s Restaurant and Bar
19 Huguenot Street, Franschhoek 7690
021 876 3772
Starters R48-72. Mains R140-178.