For almost twenty years the manor house and werf on La Cotte Farm, one of the nine original Huguenot farms in the valley, lay neglected. Then, with new owners, came new life as an understated country hotel and restaurant on a working farm right at the edge of the village.
Visitors won’t be able resist. They’re bound to be enchanted. Ancient oaks, white-washed walls, simple gabled buildings and rambling Cape Mediterranean gardens combine with unrivalled valley and mountain views to charm all comers. It’s no surprise that old SA master Hugo Naudé chose to paint the view from the manor house more than once.
The historic manor house now houses the restaurant, an inviting lounge and an intimate colonial-style sporting bar decorated with vintage prints and etchings, comfortable armchairs and a standout pair of red leather bars stools. Diners can choose between the bright conservatory, the dramatically wallpapered voorkamer and the deep, shady stoep.
(Tip: Head straight for the stoep when going for sundowners. The view of sunset over the valley will keep you riveted. Your companions will simply have to forgive you if your mind wanders…)
The restaurant is the domain where Executive Chef Neethling du Toit (previously at La Petite Ferme) conjures up heritage-inspired country fare, much of it from the flourishing vegetable garden a stone’s throw from the manor house, with the rest ethically and preferably locally sourced. Fynbos honey also comes from the farm, as do free-range eggs. Chef Neethling’s farm-to-fork philosophy finds expression in dishes ranging from pickled fish and harvest platters to garden salads and koeksisters. Suffice it to say that whether you visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner your palate will be pleased.
Ethical concerns also inform the farm’s involvement in the Together Franschhoek feeding scheme, which sees farm-grown vegetables distributed to local soup kitchens.
Ten hotel rooms are housed in two newly-built wings flanking the werf. All are individually decorated in a contemporary country style by architect and designer Domenic Touwen, who was also responsible for the garden design executed by Rowena Smuts. Five rooms open to the sheltered pool area while the other five overlook the Franschhoek Mountains. A standout feature is hard to pick, but if pressed the walk-in showers are pretty impressive!
Self-catering accommodation is available in the Forest Cottages – spread along a ridge with wide vistas and individual pools – the Orchard Cottages or a superlative villa higher up on the farm that sleeps 14 guests.
La Cotte is also back to being a working wine farm. Beyond the werf plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Viognier flourish in the mostly decomposed granite soils. (Wines are currently made at nearby Dieu Donné). Plans are afoot to possibly convert the historic La Cotte water mill into a cosy wine tasting venue in the near future.
Franschhoekers will find some familiar faces at La Cotte. In addition to Chef Neethling du Toit, Restaurant Manager Eleanor Kerwin (formerly from Le Quartier Français and Leeu Collection) also needs little introduction. Sue Norman cares for the gardens, while General Manager Mark Dendy Young – another Franschhoeker with impeccable professional credentials – leads the team. Anyone wishing to arrange a dreamy wedding will want to speak to Marketing Manager Theo Pedro.
Mark says their aim at La Cotte Farm is to “create a sense of belonging”. Whether you’re visiting for a meal only or a month we’re sure you’ll feel right at home at this friendly farm.
OPENING TIMES: Daily Breakfast: Mondays – Sundays 09h00 – 11h00 | Leisurely Lunches: Saturdays – Sundays 12h00 – 16h00 | Sundowners On The Stoep: Mondays – Sundays 17h00 – 20h00.
www.lacottefarm.com | 021 207 3907