The newbie in Franschhoek
When you think Tuk-Tuk you immediately think of the hustle and bustle of Mumbai or, weirdly, Piccadilly Circus on a tourist infested corner. I guess there is some correlation, Tuk-Tuk Microbrewery is part of the Leeu Collection, which is owned by Analjit Singh – known as the Indian who is buying up Franschhoek, and doing the most amazing things for and with it – for example – Tuk-Tuk Microbrewery.
Now I had eaten at Foliage, opposite Tuk-Tuk Microbrewery, quite a lot and had always been intrigued to why the Leeu House and its restaurants are always so full. Throughout the week, lunch until dinner. This is normally common with a new restaurant, but since they are in the culinary cove of South Africa, it is rather peculiar. Even more so that they are so close to Foliage and La Quartier Francais (which the Leeu Group also bought).
So I decided to decipher this on the long weekend, my mother acting as my Dr Watson, we headed out to the French Corner to discover this new phenomenon. I am now going to refer to Tuk-Tuk Microbrewery as TTM – it’s fairly long to keep typing out.
We parked opposite it, which is a surprise as parking on main road is usually a fight till the death on a Saturday mid afternoon, and walked inside. The bar wraps around the room and in the background you can see where the beer is busy being brewed. What first struck me is that it was really homey, which was nice as it was torrential downpour outside, I took off my snorkel and grabbed a seat at the window. It was already full for dinner, at 17:30pm.
First things first
After we got comfortable, we ordered some drinks. Now because they are a microbrewery, they have loads of different options to choose from. What helps with this, is that they give you a separate menu with the selection of the beers, describing the taste and fermentation. I went with the Krystal Weiss and my mom got a rock shandy, they have Fitch & Leedes Lemonade which is like the Moet of lemonade I am told. CBC (Cape Brewing Company) have partnered up with TTM – so all the beers are the different range that CBC offer, which is awesome as it means everything is local.
We then had a look at the menu after ordering our drinks. I was surprised to see that the food was all Mexican. After spending 3 weeks in Mexico, I was pleasantly surprised but also quite confused as I expected either Indian or South African. However, when the food came, it went even quicker. It was probably better than Mexican food made in Mexico.
I ordered the chicken taco and my mom ordered the quesadilla (jealous). The taco had chicken, buttermilk mayo, chopped salad and sweetcorn hash. The quesadilla had chicken, cheese and roasted tomato cream cheese. The taco was delicious, I can’t comment on the quesadilla because it was too good to share – there you go. Both meals had the taste-buds in a frenzy, but we realised that what we should have done as order Nachos to share and then something smaller or three items off the menu to share. It would have made the experience a lot more fulfilling, but that is our own fault, next time!
Dessert – because you eat before hibernation
After our Mexican food in a French town in South Africa, we got some coffees and then after some digestion and people watching (2016 Hobby), we decided to tuk (pun) into some dessert. Sitting with a view of people going by is actually quite fascinating, we all do it, and this evening I am happy we did – it was thrilling. So, I ordered the churros with Nyangbo dark chocolate and chili dip and my mom ordered the pecan maple tart and vanilla ice cream.
You get a fair amount of churros, which I was happy about as I love them. They were crispy on the outside and then soft and moist once you bit into them, the cinnamon sugar that coats it just added to the whole flavour, especially once dipped in the sauce. Not dipping them into the sauce is like not taking an insta on top of Lions Head (just so millennials know how important it is) – you just have too. The pecan maple tart was also exquisite, my mom did not have the chili sauce that goes with it but I’m sure it adds all sorts to the flavour if you do.
Just a little bit extra…
So after we paid, we went to the art gallery opposite the road and discussed if the menu changes seasonally or quarterly or monthly, as a lot of restaurants in the area do. They already have a special for their burgers on a Monday night, so maybe they could add a different day. After coming to the conclusion that it had only been open for a few months, I decided to just wait and see what the future would hold.
Funny enough, they posted a new special the following afternoon. Every Thursday Oliver Cattermole – head chef for the Leeu House – is making the Best of British, which is his special take on traditional English pub food. This meal will change weekly for the entire winter season, which is really cool if you enjoy a warm hearty meal on a cold winters afternoon.
So there you have it, the newbie in Franschhoek is making waves and even better food!
Here is some contact information:
14 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek
Its great to see a restaurant utilising all social media platforms, disregarding the power of social media is a common mistake done by many restaurants in South Africa.