When I think about Franschhoek my mind immediately goes to fine dining, sparkling glasses of MCC and bold red wines. The historic wine valley situated about an hour’s drive from Cape Town definitely has a manicured, posh feel to it, and on arrival you are greeted by a wide range of gourmet foodie spots lining the main road of the town, not to mention a treasure trove of high-end restaurants on the surrounding wine farms.
While I love myself a gastronomic experience, sometimes I also have a desire for simplistic, uncomplicated food that I can have over lunch time while enjoying a game of rugby with friends (yes, I am a girl and I watch rugby. Deal). I just don’t want to go to the local Spur to get it. Luckily I think there is a foodie movement in this direction. In Cape Town I am seeing more and more spots opening up that offer refined pub-grub and even fancy fast foods, giving us more casual dining options that are still packed with flavour and made with quality ingredients.
Franschhoek recently welcomed Tuk Tuk Microbrewery to the main road and happily this new spot treats you to a laid back atmosphere, a nice selection of craft beers and Mexican tapas when you get peckish.
I first visited them for the first time in May this year when we stayed over in town for our anniversary. Scattered clouds made way for a mild autumn sun and the outside seating at Tuk Tuk was a perfect spot to while away the afternoon. My latest visit was with a group of foodie writers and while the rain threatened outside the modern yet cosy interior provided an equally comfortable haven.
We were invited out to the winelands for the launch of Tuk Tuk Brewery’s own selection of beers. Up until now they have been serving CBC brews on tap. Now you can try either their Lager, Weiss, Pale Ale or Dunkel, all created by brewmaster Dewald Goosen who has worked as head brewer at Woodstock brewery and senior brewer at CBC.
Tuk Tuk, which forms part of the Leeu Collection, is the first microbrewery on the main road in Franschhoek and opened their doors in February this year. The interior is like an ultra sleek, modern version of an old English pub with a vaulted ceiling, exposed brick and sandblasted walls, and copper finishes. A glass partition behind the bar separates the diners from the brewery, which was designed by Kaspar Schulz from Bamberg, Germany and has the fermentation capacity of 4 000 litres.
We tasted the Weiss, Pale Ale and Dunkel on our visit. My favourite was the Weiss, made with a mixture of American Amarillo and South African Southern Passion hops. The result is a light beer with fruity undercurrents and a hint of passion fruit. I also thought this beer went really well with most of the dishes we ate on the day.
Apart from their own beers you can also order one of six CBC brews: the Lager, Harvest Lager (seasonal), Mandarina, Bavaria IPA, Oktoberfest Beer (seasonal), Imperial IPA, Pilsner, Amber Weiss, Krystal Weiss and Red Weiss (seasonal).
The beers are accompanied by Mexican foods like nachos, tacos and ceviche, prepared by Leeu Estates Executive Chef Oliver Cattermole. I’ll be honest, it isn’t the best Mexican I’ve ever had but everything I tasted was really good and the food works well with the beers. The best thing I had on the day were these sweetcorn nuggets served with a chilli and Chipotle dipping sauce that was sweet, smoky and seriously spicy. I completely overindulged on these.
I think Tuk Tuk Microbrewery is definitely worth a visit, even if you go just wash your hands under the beer taps in the bathroom. Seriously though, if you’re in the mood for a change of pace from all the sophisticated dining experiences in the valley then you will probably enjoy a daft or two while watching all the hustle and bustle happening in the picturesque main road.
For more, visit leeucollection.com