Leeu Collection (www.leeucollection.com) has revealed exciting new plans for its Cape Winelands properties that will cement its desire to host only the very best dining experiences (that make the most of local produce and talent) and emphasize Franschhoek’s title as the Gourmet Capital of South Africa.
The seeds for this concept were sown earlier this year when it was announced that Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan (www.simonrogan.co.uk) is to take over the restaurant (to be called Henrock www.henrock.co.uk) and every other aspect of the F&B at Leeu’s British property, Linthwaite House in the Lake District, from early October 2019. Now, Leeu Collection has reached an agreement with two of the best culinary teams in South Africa to replicate the idea in Franschhoek.
Multiple award-winning chef Darren Badenhorst, already well-known as the Chef Patron of Le coin Francais (https://lecoinfrancais.co.za/) in Franschhoek, will manage the food and beverage offering at Leeu Estates as of 15 October 2019, creating a new restaurant in the Manor House called Le chene (The Oak) that will serve French-inspired dishes made from local produce. Both the name and concept of this new dining experience acknowledge Franschhoek’s history – French Huguenots settled in the valley in the 17th century, hence its name of Franschhoek which derives from the Dutch for “French corner”.
Then, from the start of May 2020, the award-winning team at La Colombe (www.lacolombe.co.za) in Cape Town will move La Petite Colombe (which is currently located at Leeu’s Le Quartier Francais) into a larger stand-alone space on Leeu Estates that is set amid beautiful gardens, with glorious river and mountain views. Alongside it will stand a new Everard Read gallery for monumental art, creating a “must-go” destination for food and art aficionados. (La Petite Colombe will be the only F&B outlet at Leeu Estates not operated by Badenhorst.) Protégé, also operated by the La Colombe team, will remain at Le Quartier Francais.
Says Analjit Singh, founder of Leeu Collection, “Food and drink are such an important part of a hotel stay, we have made the decision to welcome top chefs and their restaurants into the Leeu Collection properties, to enhance the guest experience. While we provide the infrastructure and functionality, focusing on lifestyle aspects such as beautifully curated interiors, exquisite landscaped gardens, stunning pieces of art and immersive Mullineux & Leeu Family Wine tastings, we can allow the experts to cook up a magical storm in our kitchens”.
Leeu Collection offers guests a wide and diverse choice of unforgettable places to stay in the sublimely beautiful Franschhoek valley, just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town. The portfolio comprises three unique properties: Leeu Estates, the mountainside country house hotel and boutique winery recently awarded the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA)’s new 5-Star Premium grading, as well as Leeu House, an exclusive boutique hotel in the heart of Franschhoek, and Le Quartier Français, a romantic hotel with two independent villas.