Ryans Kitchen

1 Place Vendome, Huguenot Road, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa

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This restaurant is on the outskirts of Franschoek, a simple restaurant with an open kitchen and a quite interesting menu. Chef and owner Ryan Smith opened here in 2011 after a culinary career that has taken him to many countries, some of them cooking on cruise ships.

The 50 seat dining room has comfortable bench seating though peculiarly highly set tables, so unless you are a professional basketball player it will seem as if you are peering out over the dining table. The lighting in the room in the evening was as murky and gloomy as an English winter day. 

The wine list rather oddly only listed its vintages patchily, but had labels such as Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc at ZAR 290 (£13) compared to a shop price of ZAR 274 (£12), Cape Point Isliedh at a bargain ZAR 460 (£21) given that it retails in the UK at about ZAR 732 (£33), and Peter Barlow Rustenburg 2006 at ZAR 795 (£36) compared to a retail price of ZAR 573 (£26).

The menu had small plates as well as main courses. We tried a few of the small plates, such as a house salad with thin slices of squash, yellow beetroot, cos lettuce, cauliflower, peach, pea shoots and an oddly sweet dressing. The salad elements were fine but the dressing tasted peculiar (11/20). I had wildebeest tataki, which featured raw wildebeest, radish, apple and a soy-based dressing; this was harmless enough (11/20).

Parmesan croquettes were served with sesame tuile, pea shoots, avocado and cooked cherry tomatoes. The croquettes themselves were nicely fried and the other elements were light enough to provide balance (12/20). I tried a butter chicken curry with a tomato-based sauce and a little radish salad. The curry sauce tasted just one dimensional with vaguely chilli heat, though it was served with some very pleasant roti bread (11/20).

Service was friendly, though getting the bill took an inordinate amount of time. The bill came to ZAR 709 for two, which equates to £16 a head including a very pleasant bottle of Klein Constantia wine. If you had three courses and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per head would be about £19, which is certainly inexpensive.    

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User comments

  • Michael

    Ryan's soufflés are outstanding!