REVIEW Cafe Bon Bon is worth a trip

A friend told me a while back about a Franschhoek spot with a divine setting and delectable cakes. A late January Franschhoek visit proved that Café Bon Bon is exactly what its French name suggests: café good, good… dsc_0037.jpg The winding drive to La Petite Dauphine guesthouse is textbook Franschhoek tourist stuff, and the daytime restaurant offers a lovely summer setting with tables outside an old sandstone building on a shaded terrace overlooking a duck pond.

A small printed menu offers fairly limited choices, with starters ranging from R49 to R72. Lots of salads on starter and main menus, presumably the idea being that some are ordered as a meal – a smoked trout and barley salad (R72) with creamy dill dressing appealed. We shared an oak-smoked snoek fishcake with homemade fruit chutney and salad (R49) instead. Pleasant, but I wished I could taste more flavours of the fresh herbs, ginger, garlic and chilli listed on the menu. c_bon_bon.jpg

A lot of Chris Smit’s menu has a creative, somewhat healthy twist. The beef burger (R69), for instance, appeals for its partnering with red pepper hummus, grilled aubergine and butternut wedges. Main courses range from R65 to R125.

Our mains were a chicken wrap and pork belly, both recommended as chef specialities. No regrets on either. If you’re hungry, I reckon the pork belly (R98) has few rivals in the Western Cape. I dare anyone to disagree after looking at my photo. A hefty option for summer lunch, a caramelized layer of crackling and tender-sticky meat, in a pool of intensely flavoured caramelized chilli sauce. Pureed potatoes, wilted spinach and julienned red peppers added flair. Although not as showy, roast chicken breast with cashew nuttiness was tasty yet light in a mild, flavoursome curry filling (the chef makes his own pastes) inside a flour wrap (R68). With freshly dressed salad and tomato salsa, what more could anyone want?

dsc_0045.jpg You may not feel like you have capacity, but the fresh bakes are so worth it (R35 to R42). I couldn’t resist because the cake display tempts whenever you’re en route to the building housing the bathrooms. After a 20-minute break before coffee and a very large slice of lemon meringue, we got lost in feathery white peaks and tangy lemon filling, relieved that we’d had the sense to share one piece. The carrot cake also has a following.

CAFÉ BON BON, La Petite Dauphine, Franschhoek. Tel 021 876 3936 café Bon Bon Open daily for breakfast and lunch. Dinner on Friday only.

See my February Q&A with chef Chris Smit at Chris Smit on a plate