There’s a new kid on the block in the fine dining capital of Franschhoek: Epice, an intimate restaurant located at Heritage Square opposite Leeu House. Epice, derived from the French word Épice meaning spice (and is pronounced eh-peace), is set to delight diners with hints of spice throughout the menu.

“The restaurant menu will revolve around spices, but that doesn’t necessarily mean spicy hot – think of vanilla and saffron or cinnamon and nutmeg, too,” says Scot Kirton, chef proprietor of the La Colombe Group of restaurants, who will be leading this new venture together with James Gaag, La Colombe’s executive chef.

Some of the internationally inspired menu’s items come from a recent trip Scot and James and took to India with Epice’s new head chef, Charné Sampson. The menu also evokes memories of their travels through Spain, Japan, Mexico, Denmark and the US.

Heading up the kitchen of this intimate 45-seater, head chef Charné is no stranger to refined, cutting-edge cuisine – until recently she was sous chef at La Colombe and is another one of Scot’s protégés to spread her wings. A graduate of Silwood, Charné also honed her craft in the kitchens of The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Myoga and The Test Kitchen.

Head Chef, Charné Sampson
Head Chef, Charné Sampson | Image: Epice on Facebook

“I am so excited about this incredible opportunity to grow under the guidance of Scot and James… it is a dream come true for me, and I look forward to working in the beautiful Franschhoek valley,” enthuses Charné . “My time as sous chef at La Colombe has taught me so much, and I am looking forward to this new journey with the La Colombe team.”

While the launch menu is still a closely guarded secret, the chefs are playing with ideas including wild boar chorizo, spiced quail cooked in a tandoor and oysters vindaloo. Plus an ice-cream trolley for the palate cleanser course, from which diners can select their own sorbet.

The warm, spicy interiors with stunning tones of ambers and browns have been designed by Megan Bond and Rotem Shachar, the duo behind the gorgeous new Protégé restaurant and the upcoming La Petite Colombe, opening at Leeu Estates in May 2020.

Epice opens at the end of November – book your table by visiting www.epice.co.za.