Chefs Warehouse at Maison in Franschhoek is as delightful as Chefs Canteen in Cape Town. Whereas the latter prides itself in its casual dining, canteen-style, no reservations policy, CW at Maison is more formal, although it still has a relaxed somewhat casual ambiance. Reservations are encouraged as the restaurant itself is not big, save for patio seating outside, which lends itself to a cozy lunch and dinner restaurant.
It offers a tapas-inspired menu that allows one to work their way through flavours and taste sensations over 3 courses and 8 dishes. Started with the beef sirloin pastrami, cured Franschhoek trout tartare and ‘corn on the kob’ – which was lime-marinated kob, charred cajun-spiced corn, homemade cuppa, lime ricotta, house-picked peppadew, with tempura celery leaves. And all this was in just one dish.
We moved on to the Maison straw wine mossbolletjies (semi-sweet bun) which came with pickled harder and buchu hollandaise. The smoked celeriac risotto with roast chorizo and deep fried onion followed. At about this stage we were ready to call it quits. I love tapas-style menus for the variety they offer, but they also require near starvation before one tackles them. Their roasted free-range chicken thighs came with a feta and confit garlic cream, grilled asparagus and kataifi pastry glazed with eucalyptus honey. Pan-fried hake with a Cape-Malay dressing and an atchar-spiced carrot and coconut sauce; and finally the Glen Oaks smoked ham hock with organic beetroot and blue cheese croquettes, house preserved figs with a teriyaki beetroot jus. Dessert was the Maison s’more, a sticky chocolate brownie, wood-fired marshmallow, and cinnamon crackers.
Absolutely wonderful food, friendly efficient service, and a casual lunch in a cozy venue.