A la Bouffe
I’m a little bit crazy about France (read as: I have a weird and probably unhealthy obsession with it.) With French lessons in the near future and an intense love for French food, it must have been fate that we would move into a little flat right across from what is by far the greatest French Restaurant this side of Normandy: A la Bouffe.
We first went to A la Bouffe for lunch on the day they opened, and I’d been watching the incredible wooden panelling and beautiful mix of furniture being set up for months. I was pretty convinced that nowhere that looked that amazing could serve anything but amazing food, so it’s safe to say that my expectations were pretty high – and I was not disappointed. The gorgeous decor, friendly staff and incredible food have quickly made A la Bouffe my favourite place in town, and that’s not just because we can stumble across the road and into bed after a delicious and wine-heavy meal, though that is a total plus.
Since that first lunch, we’ve been back almost every week and slowly gotten to know the incredible chef Romuald ‘Romi’ Denesle, who is an award-winning French chef and an all round great human. Passionate about his food, his restaurant, and his family (he runs the restaurant with his wife Margeux and his Father in Law, Dennis), Romi makes real efforts to get to know his customers and constantly improve on the menu, changing it out every so often to keep things fresh.
So last week we decided to try out one of A la Bouffe’s monthly food and wine pairings, which I’d wanted to go to for a while. This particular evening was in partnership with Welgemeend Estate – a wine estate that I didn’t know much about, but was definitely keen to try.
We were welcomed with a glass of Welgemeend’s Sparkling Symphony, which is a new Sparkling Wine that they’ve just added to their already impressive list of wines. I’ve gotta admit that I could have easily had a bottle of this to myself – it wasn’t too sweet (a characteristic of sparkling wine that I often hate) and was so drinkable. The perfect way to start an amazing night, and once I order some for home, many more nights to come I’m sure.
With every course, Thys Lourens of Welgemeend would talk us through the wine and the dish, giving a little insight into what we were having.
The first course consisted of Escargot en croûte, which is snail encased in puff pastry and was paired with the Welgemeend Private Cellar Rosè – both were incredible, and we even ended up ordering a case of the Rosè at the end of the night.
Escargot en croûte
Private Cellar Rose
For the next course, we were treated to Poitrine de porc, crevette et champignon sauvage – Pork belly, prawn and wild mushroom, paired with Welgemeend’s Chenin Blanc. One of my favourite things about A la Bouffe is the impeccable way that the food is presented, and this dish was my favourite of the night – not only delicious, but so pretty too.
Poitrine de porc, crevette et champignon sauvage
On to mains, which looked and tasted absolutely incredible: Cuisse de venaison braisee, courge, chou rouge et epinard, which translates to Braised venison haunch, butternut squash, spinach and red cabbage. This was paired with Welgemeend’s Estate Reserve, which is the first Bordeaux blend made in South Africa and my favourite wine of the night.
Cuisse de venaison braisee, courge, chou rouge et epinard
Finally on to my favourite: dessert. Romi served up Poire pochee et glace au chocolat et thym, which is Poached pear and chocolate and thyme ice cream, served with Welgemeend’s Douelle. Guys, if you are yet to taste thyme ice cream, you need to make it a life priority TODAY. It was out-of-this-world tasty and complimented the sweetness of the pear perfectly.
Poire pochee et glace au chocolat et thym
It’s also worth noting that my friend Gerrit is a vegetarian and joined us for the evening, and he said the vegetarian options were also all incredible – so veggie eaters need not worry about not being welcome.
Chef Romuald Denesle
All in all, I can honestly say this was the greatest night I’ve had in a while, with impeccable food and wine (and company). With these evenings happening monthly and a variety of wine farms clamouring to partner with Romi, I’d really suggest that you get yourself signed up for one of their food and wine pairings in the future – you (and your taste buds) will be so glad that you did.
You can contact A la Bouffe: