We headed to Franschhoek for a fantastic weekend away. I pulled a post together on our recommendations of where to eat, drink and sleep for your next weekend which you can finds over here. One of our recommendations was to have lunch at Marigold in Franschhoek. We had such an incredible time that I wanted to write a full post about our lunch. I thought this post would be a fantastic “what to order” post but I can see now that is going to be a challenge. This is because I would recommend you order everything and then go the next day and order even more of the menu!
We joined them for a Saturday lunch and after our Sunday wine tasting I turned to Jono and said: “maybe we should go back to Marigold for lunch?”. And the only thing that stopped us was a visit to Cosecha which was a long awaited first for me!
Marigold is a beautiful spot and far from the stereotype of an Indian restaurant- bright, light and beautiful. Marigold is focusing on a Northern Indian inspired menu created by Chef Vanie Padayachee. Chef Vanie spent time in India before the launch of Marigold tasting the local flavours to incorporate in her dishes back home.
We started our meal with rotis and poppadoms, served with a mango achar. We snacked on these light crispy bites while working through the wine list. Marigold has a fantastic wine list and I appreciate the thought that went into wines that pair with curries. Wine doesn’t typically pair with curry so we tend to opt for sweeter wines like Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Bukettraube to balance out the spice. I was flipping delighted to see one of each on the menu!
We started with the Thelema Riesling which was absolutely smashing. And when we had successfully smashed it we moved on to the Paul Cluver Gewurztraminer which is a real star. Normally I only boss everyone about with regards to food. This time I am being boss about wine. Please drink one of these bottles of wine- they are beautiful and pair perfectly. You’ll thank me later 😉
How to Start at Marigold in Franschhoek
I wanted to be a control freak about our lunch. I had read all the blog posts and I knew what I wanted to try. But Jono and our waiter recommended I put our choices in the chef’s hands. I compromised- I requested three dishes and left the rest up to chance.
This meant we ordered the Marigold Thali which is a set menu based on what the chef likes best to highlight all the flavours from her kitchen. Thali includes one of each of the following: chaat, tandoori, main dish, basmati rice, dal, salad, yoghurt, tandoori naan and dessert. This is a host of exciting flavours and a lot of food. The full experience is R320 per person and for a fancy lunch in Franschhoek that is an incredible deal.
Our starters arrived in the form of Chaat and Tandoori dishes. Chaat was explained to us as Indian style street food and was a completely new concept to me. We had the Palak Chaat which are crispy spinach leaves in a gram flour batter topped with sweetened curd, tamarind, chilli and onion. These were incredible! Crispy, crunchy and slightly sweet. I could have easily snacked on a whole bowl.
The Golgappa and tamarind pani was a dish I requested because of how unique it sounded. They were light crispy pockets filled with potato, onion, chickpeas and served with cold tamarind water. They little crispy pockets arrived filled with delights and you pour the cold tamarind water into the pockets yourself. You then place the whole crispy ball in your mouth and bite! It explodes with flavour and texture all at once. If is delicious- I am not sure. But it is different and exciting and definitely worth trying!
We also tried two tandoori options – tikka line fish and tikka chicken thighs. The line fish was marinated in lemon and curry leaves with mustard oil. The chicken thighs were marinated in yoghurt curd skewered with diced onion, peppers and tomatoes. I had never tried tandoori style fish before and it was brilliant! I loved the texture of the dish with the mustard spices. The tikka chicken thighs were packed with flavours and more recognisable as standard Indian fare.
All the shared tastes for main course
The Thali experience includes many little dishes for sharing at the table. I love to share food as you can try all the options without any of the commitment ;). The curries were served with a fresh kachumner salad of lightly pickled cucumber, red onion, mint and lime. And perfect sides include fluffy basmati rice with cumin and peas, buttered and garlic naan and raita for cooling the heat!
What I loved the most about ordering leaving the choices in the chef’s hands is that I would never have ordered my favourite dishes from the lunch! Just never! So thanks to the Thali experience for opening my eyes about the Indian food and flavours on offer!
Our seven little dishes were made up of the following:
* Murg Makhani – butter chicken
* Mutton Rogan Joshu – mutton spicy curry
* Achari Gosht – Beef with spicy pickled gravy with garlic and ginger
* Yellow Dahl
* Black Dahl
* Masala Prawns – prawn curry with tomato based gravy
* Aloo Ghobi Adrakhi – dry North Indian curry of cauliflower and potatoes
Favourites of the menu? Everything…
But actually my favourite was the achari gosht and the aloo ghobi adrakhi. I would never have ordered a beef curry and it ended up being my favourite! The dry curry of cauliflower and potatoes with lots of garlic and ginger was incredible and very different to Indian dishes I have had in the past.
I obviously loved the butter chicken curry which was delicious and a long time favourite of mine. However, I would really recommend trying other options if you are a standard butter chicken curry fan like me! You will be blown away!
The masala prawns were also wonderful and I could definitely eat a full size portion of those! Subtle flavours and juicy prawns!
A little dessert to finish
We finished off our lunch with Khulfi lollies which are Indian ice creams made with boiled milk, sugar and fragrant spices which we dipped into nuts and spices for extra crunch and texture.
We had an incredible lunch with Marigold and I could not more highly recommend them. It has definitely been one of my favourite dining experiences of 2017 to date. Be warned that this is a huge lunch and you may need stretchy pants and to skip breakfast!
- Location: Heritage Square, 9 Huguenot Street, Franschoek
- Opening times: Open seven days a week, lunch from 12:00 to 15:00, and dinner between 18:00 and 22:00
- Contact details: 021 876 8970 or their website
Disclaimer: We enjoyed our lunch as guests of Marigold. However, all images and opinions are my own.