Enjoying the view 2

Freedom Hill Restaurant 01/12/11

Laura Cooke heads to Freedom Hill to discover if their vegetarian dishes are up to scratch. They are.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

While not all restaurants are able to offer exclusive vegetarian menus, there are some who are willing to make a real effort to concoct interesting seasonal dishes for their vegetarian visitors. I was pleasantly supplied by the tasty, fresh and varied options available at Freedom Hill Restaurant on a recent trip with fellow Veggie Buntch contributor, Claire Martens.

Living in Cape Town, which is only an hour’s drive from Franschhoek, it is easy to forget how beautiful this area of the country is, with its mix of imposing mountains and the many wine farms whose green vineyards create a patchwork on the landscape. When an invitation to experience vegetarian cuisine at Freedom Hill Restaurant came around, it was a perfect excuse to get out of the city and head into the Cape Winelands.

The spot
Situated at the base of the Wemmershoek mountains on the R301, Freedom Hill is a short distance from both Paarl and Franschhoek, making it easy to access from either side.

Approaching Freedom Hill Restaurant

Owned by Chef Adrian Buchanan (who has worked at Franschhoek’s Monneux, the Lanzerac and accrued numerous culinary accolades) and Ryan Bredekamp, Freedom Hill focuses on uncomplicated, satisfying cuisine which also takes local fresh produce into account. And as Buchanan so rightly says, “It’s all about getting the basics right.”

They also aim “to offer warm hospitality with a rare personal touch” which we got to experience firsthand and judging by their loyal customer base, is a goal they do seem to be achieving.

On arrival, we were seated on the deck, overlooking the valley towards the Simonsberg mountain. The service was good and our waiter was cheerful, helpful and attentive. As we were here to review the menu, Chef Buchanan and Ryan Bredekamp came out to say hello and made us feel very welcome throughout the meal.

The menu
While the menu is not exclusively vegetarian, they have a decent selection. Also, as Chef Buchanan shared, if you call ahead they are happy to prepare something special that fits your particular dietary requirements. In fact, they have regular vegan patrons who Buchanan is more than happy to cater for. A nice extra was the delicious homemade flavoured olive oils (masala and rosemary and garlic – yum!) served with bread.

Enjoying the view towards the Simonsberg

Starters

Ripe Brie and green fig preserve parcel with balsamic syrup and fresh strawberries

This is one of their most popular starters even among non-veggie visitors. I could almost eat this for dessert!

Grilled brown mushroom topped with a gorgonzola & sweet corn crust warm asparagus & a creamy truffle sauce

This may seem a bit rich for a summer’s day, but the delicate greens and strong flavours of the gorgonzola and truffle sauce combine wonderfully for a light and flavoursome starter.

Mains

Grilled artichoke hearts with courgette and potato bake, tomato jus

Perfectly suited to the weather, both of us opted for the grilled artichoke hearts. This is definitely a more creative vegetarian main than I have come across a while and it did not disappoint.

Desserts
With the runner’s up doing well so far, we decided that to miss out on dessert would be a lost opportunity.

Dark chocolate terrine with Crème Anglaise

Chosen by Claire, this was death-by-chocolate. A rich, decadent dessert that would be any chocolate lover’s dream.

Coconut tart with Vanilla ice cream and a raspberry sauce

This was an unusual dessert which was not too sweet and rounded off the meal very well.

The wine
While Freedom Hill Restaurant is based on the wine estate of the same name, they don’t only stock their own wine (which we enjoyed alongside our meals, guided by Bredekamp as to what would complement our meals best). However, Bredekamp and Buchanan take great care in actively sourcing a variety of unique wines. Their wine list is diverse and offers a number of options which you aren’t likely to find on most wine lists.

The atmosphere
What I enjoyed most about Freedom Hill is that although they have set high standards when it comes to food, presentation and service, the atmosphere is completely laid-back.

You could bring your kids and not worry about them getting in the way, enjoy a relaxed birthday lunch with friends or a romantic date in the countryside.

Freedom Hill also stays open from lunch through to supper, meaning you can take your time throughout the afternoon. The personal touch that the owners bring to their restaurant can be felt throughout and I give it a solid thumbs up.

I would also be very interested to see what they could whip up in the kitchen given some forewarning. I may have to go back and see what they come up with.

Get in touch with Freedom Hill:
Web: www.freedomhillrestaurant.co.za
Tel: +27 (0) 21 867 0963

Trading hours:
Lunch: Tuesday – Sunday
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday
Open for functions

A LA CARTE MENU

STARTERS

  • Togarashi-style beef fillet, beetroot, mizuna & onion salad with a sesame & soy dressing 58
  • Asian coleslaw over Chinese cabbage with pickled ginger & honey sauce 48
  • Grilled brown mushroom topped with a gorgonzola & sweet corn crust warm asparagus & a creamy truffle sauce 52
  • Ripe Brie and green fig preserve parcel with balsamic syrup and fresh strawberries 52
  • Vietnamese prawn spring roll with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce 54
  • Mediterranean salad with homemade Dijon mustard dressing 48

MAINS

  • Pan-fried Chicken breast with an apple & herb salad, couscous & lemon sauce 85
  • Giant Burmese prawns tandoori style with jasmine rice, tzatziki & fresh greens 135
  • Rib eye of beef with Cep duxelle, crisp rosti and a creamy Bovril sauce 120
  • Grilled artichoke hearts with courgette and potato bake, tomato jus 75
  • Confit Duck with a sweet pea tartlet, caramelized red cabbage and a Cabernet Sauvignon glaze Basil 110
  • Pan fried Ostrich liver with 3 onion risotto and a red wine jus 95

DESSERT

  • Frozen amaretto parfait with roasted apples and a coffee syrup 42
  • Dark chocolate terrine with Crème Anglaise 42
  • Coconut tart with Vanilla ice cream and a raspberry sauce 42
  • Lemon cheesecake with fresh fruit 42
  • Gooseberry and pecorino gratin with honey 42
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Overall
Quality of food
Value for money
Variety of choice
Service
Ambiance
Rating: 3.5/5 (1 vote cast)
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

Related posts:

Written by 

Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.


You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to this article

 
Miche January 12, 2011 Reply

Oh, YUM! This looks perfect for vegetarian-me and omnivorous husband. I would definitely have gone for the gooseberry and pecorino gratin for dessert… I might have to go check it out for myself!

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
 
Claire January 14, 2011 Reply

This venue was amazing. Although Laura covered all the bases, I must just add that the wine selection left me flabbergasted. However, the Freedom Hill wine that was recommended to me was one of the best reds I have ever had.

I am also really glad of the flexibility shown by the chef. With so few (really) great vegetarian dishes on offer at any restaurant, it is nice to be able to be ensured of a superb dish if you simply phone ahead.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Reply

close comment popup

Leave A Reply