It’s been almost three decades since Grand Roche Hotel was first acquired by an ambitious young farmer, but it’s just re-opened with new owners at the helm, a new restaurant, and a new look across its luxury suites.
Entrepreneurs Hansie and Teresa Britz, both born and raised in Paarl acquired the property earlier this year and set about to breathe new life into this iconic Winelands hotel.
“The Grande Roche has always occupied a special place in our hearts,” says Hansie.”It’s part of the Paarl identity. When the opportunity arose to buy it, we jumped without hesitation.”
They had just a month to rejuvenate this jewel and wasted no time in getting designers, painters and decorators in to do the job. The result – the 18 luxury terrace suites have all had a make-over, with fynbos inspired wallpapers celebrating local flora, being the focal point of each unit. The exposed beams, sash windows and thatch pay homage to the Winelands.
At the helm of the new restaurant ‘Viande’ (formerly Bosman’s), is Chef Pete Goffe-Wood, the much loved ‘Kitchen Cowboy’. He together with well known interior designer Francois Du Plessis has completely re-imagined the interior, adding sleek modern lines, while ornate crystal chandeliers add to the aesthetic which still pays tribute to the heritage of the building.
Viande means ‘meat’ in French and is the perfect name for this meat-focused restaurant. If any of you know Chef Pete, you will know that this is his strength and the contemporary nose to tail dining that is offered at Viande is certainly some of the best out there. Beautifully cured and smoked meats and dry-aged cuts are just a few of the items that will be on offer. The flavours in the dishes are bold and rich, textures are carefully thought out, and while expertly plated nothing is pretentious, but rather inviting and comforting.
Press release excerpt (because I couldn’t say it better myself) – “Goffe-Wood is nothing if not versatile though and has crafted a wide-ranging menu that allows for an easy balance of adventurous meaty dishes alongside more approachable vegetarian, fish and poultry plates. Think butternut and goat’s cheese rotolo or home-smoked yellowtail with a fennel and citrus salad (to die for!!). Much of the menu is inspired by the local seasonal produce of the surrounding Paarl Winelands: the likes of Buffalo Ridge mozzarella served with caponata and bruschetta. There are also plans for an on-site herb and vegetable garden to keep the kitchen stocked with fresh greens. The menu will evolve on an ongoing basis, with a handful of new dishes arriving every few weeks to keep local palates entertained, but a regular highlight will be the larger ‘Plate for Two’, dishes such as prime rib on the bone carved tableside and served with an array of inventive side dishes. After desserts–expect anything from classic profiteroles to pears poached in saffron and Chenin Blanc–a bespoke brand trolley will tempt diners with a glass of the region’s finest firewater.”
Forming part of the restaurant is the new Viande bar, where brandy is the star, apt considering how many award-winning producers of this spirit hail from Paarl alone. There is a large fireplace, with plush couches simply perfect for winter pre-dinner bespoke cocktails, and it is also the ideal place for you to relax after your meal, digestif in hand, of course! Be prepared to spend a long lazy lunch or dinner at the restaurant, I assure you I certainly didn’t want to leave.
Grand Roche and it’s new owners are looking forward to welcoming locals and international travellers alike, and although it’s been around for almost 300 years, this seems like the most beautiful new beginning for this iconic landmark.
For more information about Grande Roche Hotel and Viande Restaurant, visit www(dot)granderoche(dot)com, firstname.lastname@example.org.The Grande RocheHotel is located at 1 Plantasie Street, Paarl. Follow the journey to re-birth on Twitter@Grande_Roche, Facebook (GrandeRoche) and Instagram (Grande_Roche).To book a table at Viande visit http://granderoche(dot)com/viande/
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