An accomplished chef opens a little French Bistro in a small two room restaurant in downtown Stellenbosch. It has a pretty courtyard, and the day I was there, the lemon tree hung heavy with fruit in the crisp, blue skied, Autumnal air.
A recipe for success?
Yes, if the chef is Christophe Dehosse, yes if his style of cooking is pared back French country Bistro style, and yes if the man in question is a real live Frenchman who has been classically trained in France.
This is what Christophe has achieved in the few months his small restaurant has been open. His “Traditional French Cuisine” has been attracting customers and praise in equal proportions.
While in Stellenbosch on a quick visit for meetings I had the “Business Lunch”.
This is a short menu with three starters, three mains and three desserts.
Starters were a delicious marinated goats cheese salad and a creamy mushroom soup. High quality ingredients and intense flavours and textures were the reward. The mushroom soup was easily the best I have eaten in a long time.
We both had the pork and chorizo casserole with tomato and rosemary. It was winter comfort food at its best. More intense
flavours and the yum factor that will allow you to remember a dish long after having eaten it.
Service was snappy and assured. I loved that little room, with its green walls and artwork. The atmosphere was intimate, comforting and informal.
Christophe came to greet customers and chat after service was over. He’s a charming fellow, his Burgundian accented English mashed with an Afrikaans twist, rolling off his tongue, and a great friendly smile on his face.
I liked everything on the more extensive menu; mussel and saffron soup, pan fried quail salad with a mushroom ragout, braised beef brisket in red wine and potato and onion mash, roast tiger prawns with a bearnaise sauce, ratatouille nicoise and polenta fritter.
I can’t wait to go back and have dinner and try the larger menu, which has me already reaching for the car keys and the babysitters phone number.
Business Lunch 2 courses R130, 3 courses R150.
Main menu, Starters R60-R130, Mains R115-R145, Desserts R45-R60.Restaurant Christophe,
44 Van Reyneveld Street,
021 886 8763.