On Heritage Day, we spent our day at Rickety Bridge Winery. We started off with a relaxing wine tasting, and then headed on over to Paulina's Restaurant.
The Restaurant is named after the original owner of the property, Paulina de Villiers, who was given the land in 1797. She was unique in the fact that not only was she one of the first women to own land in South Africa, but she also attended to the crops. Her love of the land carries through to the restaurant, which makes use of local farmers and producers who personally tend to their herds and make their products by hand. I think this is a great way to show appreciation for all of the hard work that often goes into our food.
I'd never been to Paulina's Restaurant before, and one of the first things I noticed was the large wine rack filled with Rickety Bridge wines (see below).
You have the option of sitting in an outside area on the deck where you can have the pretty views of the vines and mountains. But the interior of the restaurant is really cosy, which was preferable for the day we visited as the weather was a bit miserable. There's a fire going and you can have a good view of the kitchen from this particular spot (see below). The chef makes all of his own sauces, dressings, jams and reductions, which is really cool.
We'd tasted some really good wines earlier, but we hadn't tried the Foundation Stone Red (see below left), so we gave that a try. It costs R169 per bottle in the restaurant, but R100 if you buy it from the wine tasting area.
It's a really easy-drinking wine. It's a blend of 41% Shiraz, 25% Mouvedre, 23% Grenache Noir, 6% Cinsaut and 5 % Tannat. All of these six, hand-picked varietals were matured separately in various barrels for a total maturation time of 18 months and then blended for bottling. I loved the fruity flavours of mulberry, black cherry and plum, rounded off with a subtle oak-like spice.
We had some snacks to start (see below). They were served with three delicious dips, but I particularly liked the olive tapenade on the the left. I could have eaten a whole jar of that!
One of the reasons we'd chosen to drink the Foundation Stone Red is because it was the pairing suggestion to have with the Pork Belly dish, which I had decided on before we even arrived. Rickety Bridge has wine suggestions with all of their main meals, which is a great way to learn how best to pair your wines with your food.
They also offer half portions of most of their meals which I absolutely love! Not only do you not have to feel bad when you have to leave food like that on the plate, but you can also order a few plates to share with friends. This way, you get to taste a little bit of everything, and thus truly experience what the restaurant has to offer.
Having said that, I ordered the full portion! Because it was Pork Belly, and also because The Husband was with me and he never objects to finishing my food!
The Pork Belly full portion (see below) costs R180. It's served with a really nice sweet potato and ginger purée, buttered greens and exotic mushrooms. It's topped with the essential bit of crackling! This crackling was seasoned with Rickety Bridge Shiraz Salt. Yum! This dish was truly delicious! The pork belly was tender and paired so nicely with the purée. (There wasn't too much left for The Husband...)
Speaking of The Husband, he decided to go with the Beef Fillet (see below). It costs R195 and doesn't come in a half portion. It's a 200 gram beef fillet, prepared in the restaurant's famous basting, char-grilled, and served with pan-fried exotic mushrooms, caramelised onion, potato wedges and a truffle mayonnaise. I didn't get a photo of this that does it justice, because The Husband was in a hurry to eat it, but it was really yummy. The steak was cooked beautifully and the truffle mayonnaise was unique to us and equally tasty.
The Beef Fillet's wine pairing suggestion was the Paulina's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is really amazing - we tasted it earlier during our wine tasting. However, it costs R335 in the restaurant. If you feel like spoiling yourself, go for it, because you won't be disappointed, but we were quite happy with the Foundation Stone Red, which also pairs well with red meat.
We had a great time at Rickety Bridge overall. As I mentioned in my wine tasting post, you can easily spend a day there: wine tasting, enjoying a relaxed lunch, and even stay over.
Definitely one of my favourite Franschhoek spots so far!
You can visit them for lunch from Monday to Sunday, from 11:00am to 16:00pm.
Contact: +27 (0)21 876 2129
Address: R45, Main Road, Franschhoek, 7690
Star Rating: ****