At last I can finally tell you that I have eaten at Foliage! A firm favourite along Franschhoek main road, Foliage has grown in popularity among visitors and locals alikes due to its sourcing practices which rely on the staff foraging daily for fresh produce.
For AGES I’ve been trying to visit (for more than 6 months, but our schedules kept clashing!) and at last long I managed to pop in for lunch with Mr John, while staying at the Waterfall Lodge.
The cosy, contemporary restaurant focuses on fresh, local produce, as in fresh fresh! What makes them unique is their daily forage for natural “gems”. What you’re eating in the evening was sourced on the surrounding farms that morning or afternoon.
I can even confirm this as we literally saw the staff leaving the restaurant with their foraging baskets.
Why Visit Foliage?
- Easy location in the heart of town.
- Interesting food ethos with a focus on foraged ingredients.
- Warm and inviting atmosphere and staff.
- Country gourmet food at reasonable price (in relation to Franschhoek).
- Excellent wine list.
Lunch at Foliage
Passing the smoker on the street corner, Mr John and I were warmly welcomed by the hostess, Lee-ann, and shown to our table. We sat next to a large fireplace, which was a perfect break from the cold Franschhoek air, but did give me a little bit of hay fever!
While I was offered a wine list I was happy to rely on the server’s recommendations as he knew the restaurant and dish combinations best.
How a breadbasket is presented really says a lot about a restaurant! Whether they know it or not, it sets a tone. Consider an old school, plastic woven basket with an underlying serviette versus Foliage’s modern take on a bread board.
Presented in a little wooden crib, accompanied by a rich olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a pickled aubergine hummus, it indicated that we were in for an afternoon of fun dining.
The hummus; sweet and sour with a hint of spice, the texture looked deceptively lumpy, but was totally smooth upon consuming. Accompanied by a lovely glass of bubbly, I started to warm up and feel a little festive on the chilly winter’s afternoon.
It was a REAL task deciding what to eat at Foliage! Their whole menu looks amazing because it’s natural, intriguing and included all the flavours I like (not too much fish, curry nor liquorice – my 3 worst flavour profiles). So it was back, once again, to the advice of our server!
He recommended the chicken consomme while I chose to smoked cheesecake. The chicken consomme was like ramen, except the portion was HUGE! Filled with fresh vegetables including cabbage, broccoli and spring onions.
The surprising element was the toasted corn, which added a touch of sweetness and toastiness. From this bowl onwards, I knew there would be NO CHANCE that visitors could complain about portion size! I was also a bit sick so this warm broth was a pleasure.
The smoked cheese cake was also unlike anything I’d had before. I wasn’t too convinced about the flavour of the smoke, but I think it’s because I was sick and probably couldn’t taste all the layers that smoking cheese delivers. It did, however, taste a little “gassy” opposed to “woody”.
The herb salad and freshly made tomato sauce was delicious and I loved the crumb on top as it added texture and another layer of flavour.
Mains at Foliage
For mains Mr John had the beef and I had the roast pork. The beef was “as pretty as a picture” with onion boats filled with gravy, sauteed mushrooms below and super tender beef.
I wasn’t crazy about the tree picture they created because I just don’t like my food to be that literal. (Sorry to be a hater but Chico the Clown food stops being fun at 12 year’s old!).
The flavours were good though and I LOVED the texture of the beef.
I enjoyed the roasted pork belly, which was paired with margo pomme puree, charred turnips, carrots, icicle radish and roasting juices for R235.
The crackling was spot on; light and snappy, heavenly!
I loved the flavour of both the puree and pomme puree and again, what a huge portion which included TWO quenelles of mash! No one is leaving this restaurant hungry! I wasn’t complaining, it was delicious!
The rainbow carrots gave the dish a real delicious earthiness and the soft crunch of the turnips (my granny used to cook with them, I love them) balanced out the rich flavours. Each dish was complimented with a beautiful glass of wine, which had been perfectly paired.
For our final course, desserts, we opted for the Geranium and Honey iced nougatine, salted chocolate custard, hazelnut ice cream (R80) and Caramel Delice, peanut butter and marshmallow chocolate rock (R80).
At this stage, to be honest, it was mental that we even ordered anything more because we were SO full, but we also didn’t want to miss out on the final course.
I love salted chocolate/caramel anything and this dish did not disappoint. The hazelnuts were toasted, adding a wintery, warming flavour with the salted chocolate custard tying together the delicious ice cream (which I could have raided the fridge over) and hazelnuts together.
I loved honeycomb and this honeycomb was DIVINE! FULL of flavour, but melted easily in the mouth. Paired with gooseberries and a raspberry couli, the acid off set the rich chocolate perfectly. While not as pretty as the nougatine in looks, this was the winning dessert in my opinion.
Last Thoughts on Foliage
All in all, we had a great time at Foliage. I loved the restaurant artwork; from the little bronze rabbit statuettes on each table to the paintings on parcade flooring. A lot of effort had been put into the furnishings and it was a joy to takel in.
Thank you so much to Lee-Ann and the Foliage team for having us. I’m looking forward to returning to enjoy the next menu (which obviously changes all the time) flu free!
Watch more in the video embedded below or find Foliage on Franschhoek main road here or call 21 876 2328 to book. (Closed on Sundays.)