A Happy-making Birthday Dinner at Reubens in Franschhoek

27 06 2010

Bellies full of contentment. Hearts left behind.

Reuben’s has a colourful history and is a veritable jewel in South Africa’s culinary crown. It is only fitting then, that the food should have character, substance and a certain je ne sais quoi* that grips you as you walk through the door. Set against a backdrop of understated elegance and sophistication without the smugness, chequered black and white floors, an enormous stately fire place and comfortable leather booths lend themselves to exuding warmth and welcome in the restaurants interior.

We found ourselves there a couple of weeks ago for my birthday dinner, and were joined by our two friends Gui and Luciana and their adorable little son Thomas. Gui is French and is married to the lovely Luciana who is Argentinean. They are expats living in Cape Town and, conveniently, this gives us numerous excuses to venture around the countryside together, trying out local restaurants. You won’t hear me complaining.

Reuben, and consequently Reubens, takes great pride in leading you on a gastronomical adventure. Indeed “the kitchen is territory where there are always discoveries to be made” says Grimod de la Reyniere, and Reubens truly embodies this.

You can’t help but be swept up in the drama of the eating experience here. Reuben has adeptly put together a menu that plays out like a literary masterpiece, with each plate a stage that showcases his delight and genius.

Ok let’s get Started on what we actually ate…
Gui and Luciana both had Chilli salted squid, nuac chum, fragrant herbs, mayonnaise
Rob had Salmon carpaccio, French style chilli-shallot dressing, avocado, tomato, coriander
I had Prawn tempura, wasabi-sweet milk puree, soya and black beans

Luciana chose Seared beef fillet, carrot puree, pommes puree, asparagus, mushroom jus
Rob and I both went for their signature Roasted, cured pork belly, ginger glazed greens, pommes cigar, pickled cabbage, chilli, ginger caramel, crackling
Gui, in true French fashion, chose the Roasted duck breast, dried fruit-mango salsa, tahini, greens, pear, potato-celeriac gratin and spiced orange sauce

And then, believe it or not, our group of gluttons went on to have dessert in the shape of…
Vanilla panna cotta, fruit medley sorbet, mixed berry sorbet and orange sorbet, dehydrated fruit for The Boys
And for the Birthday Girl: Duo of chocolate truffles, 12 year old Van Ryn’s brandy (I skipped) and espresso
Luciana put us all to shame and restrained. (I’m telling myself that she just missed out on a few more mouthfuls of wonder 🙂

In short, the whole evening was Utterly Charming.

Continue the culinary adventure at home and download some of Reuben’s favourite recipes which are available here for FREE.
Now I think that’s amazingly magnanimous.

3 Course Winter Menu for R150pp.
Staggeringly good value.
Download the winter specials menu or current winter main menus here.

Physical address:
No 19 Huguenot Street, Franchoek, 7690
Tel: 021 876 3772
Fax: 021 876 4464
Email: reservations@reubens.co.za
Bookings are essential and must be made two weeks in advance

*Je ne sais quois? Translates to ‘I don’t know what’ or, quite simply, X Factor, if you will.



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