Review: Lunch at Leopard’s Leap

11 Jun

A quick break in the weather helped to photograph the outside of Leopard’s Leap against the magical backdrop of the Franschhoek mountains.

I received an invitation to experience the rotisserie lunch at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek this past weekend. The invitation said that I could “bring my family”, so I strapped my 2 year old daughter in her car seat and asked my brother Dirk and his partner Frans to join us.

I had been to Leopard’s Leap once before for a wine tasting, and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of their wines (at really great prices). I noticed the rotisserie lunch offering (which also include a children’s menu), and vowed to come back for it soon.

It was a dreary, wet, stormy day in the Cape Winelands on Saturday. As we arrived in the parking lot at Leopard’s Leap, we were greeted by a friendly staff member who offered us umbrellas – what a nice touch! Inside, we each received a glass of sparking wine on arrival at the table. As if on cue, a live band started playing relaxing jazzy music on the covered stoep where we were seated. The interior of Leopard’s Leap is a very impressive space. With it’s high ceilings, industrial feel, and really large floor size, this place can accommodate quite a lot of people before looking busy. But despite the size of the place, there is a definite cozy atmosphere with clever textured elements, couch areas and fireplaces. The display of the rotisserie lunch buffet is truly mouthwatering, and it certainly makes you very hungry for great food! Add some breathtaking views of the Franschhoek mountains and the scene is set for a great family lunch.

Butternut and roasted pepper soup

We ordered a bottle of Family Vineyards Shiraz Mourvedre, and headed over to the soup station for our starter course. The chef on duty dished us bowls full of steaming butternut and roasted pepper soup, topped off with fresh chives and croutons. It was deliciously comforting and the perfect food for the dreary weather outside.

The rotisserie chef in action. (picture courtesy of Leopard’s Leap)

After the soup I headed over to the salad/vegetable buffet (all sourced from their own organic vegetable garden), where I helped myself to a selection of really great roasted vegetables, couscous with butternut and danish feta, tzatziki, curried potatoes and springbok pie. The selection was very large, so I only tasted these few dishes – there were plenty other! After weighing my plate, they asked me which of the rotisserie meats I was interested in. I opted for the lamb neck and the pork belly (I’ll have to go back for the chicken!), and drizzled the pork with some apple sauce.

Dirk, Frans and myself at the table with our rotisserie lunch plates.

The food was really scrumptious, and the crackling on the pork belly was some of the crispiest I had ever had. All of the meats and side dishes were really tender and flavoursome, and I can truly say it is superb family dining. Coupled with very friendly service and a really attentive team, this was one of the nicest family restaurants that I had been to in a long time. Leopard’s Leap is certainly doing things right, and they deserve to have their seats full all of the time.

The dessert buffet at Leopard’s Leap.

For dessert, we had a choice of cupcakes (each one individually plated and differently decorated – a hit with my daughter!), chocolate mousse (my favourite of the day), pecan pie, apple pie, chocolate brownies, marshmallow rice crispies squares (meant for the kids, but I had one and it was great), malva pudding, vanilla custard and cream. We had coffee before we hit the wet road again, and spent a total of 3 hours at the restaurant. It was such a relaxing, wonderful lunch experience, and I can certainly recommend it to families with young children (they also have a great outside play area and a huge lawn), or anyone that want to gather around a table in a casual atmosphere with abundant home-style food, top class service and well-priced wines. Amongst all of the immaculate fine-dining restaurants in Franschhoek, Leopard’s Leap certainly stands out as something refreshingly different – more laid-back, more family-friendly, but still a top quality experience.

Thank you very much to the team at Leopard’s Leap for making us feel so welcome and looked after! We’ll certainly be back for more.

A table full of friends, great food and excellent wine at Leopard’s Leap (picture courtesy of Leopard’s Leap)

More info:

The food offering is available from Wednesdays to Sundays from 11:30 to 15:00.

A tempting selection of culinary and wine related items, gifts and take-away delights is available from the shop.

For more information on Leopard’s Leap Wines and all the new activities at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards, please visit www.leopards-leap.com or contact Harry at +27 (0)21 876 8002.

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