Restaurants: Rubens, Franschhoek, South Africa


Franschhoek, in South Africa’s Western Cape, is a beautiful destination. With mountains every way you look, this valley feels hemmed in, in the nicest possible way. It has turned into the gastronomic and tourist centre of the winelands, and there are lots of boutique hotels and high-end dining options, as well as a few casual ones.

This is how you do caprese salad!

Rubens fits nicely in the middle. It’s fine dining, but in a casual setting, without a pricey tasting menu but with beautifully prepared dishes showing off assured skill in the kitchen, and making use of good ingredients. We stopped by for a weekend lunch.

The setting is a nice one, with a stylish dining room and a small semi-outdoor area, tucked away in a road just back from the main drag.

Butternut squash risotto

Everything we ate was spot on, and service was attentive without being intrusive. The wine list is short but pretty good, but we didn’t have any wine because of driving commitments later in the day. Nothing to criticise at all here, and excellent value for money, too.

Mushroom gnocchi was insanely good