What a setting!!

Chef Richard Carstens











One of my favourite chefs, Richard Carstens, is now weaving his magic at Arkeste in Franschhoek on the Chamonix Estate where he has reappeared after many years at Tokara.   His cooking makes it all look effortless but for anyone who cooks, you know it takes patience, knowledge and that hidden factor—talent—to make it all happen. Richard’s food has always used Japanese influences seamlessly blended with French classic dishes to create something really unusual without being precious. Working in Australia in his formative years brought him to a fascination with Japanese styles and flavours which he still uses today. A visit to Arkeste today in this ideal setting,  one is far removed from the hurly burly of life into a world of delicious hedonism. The name is Richard’s play on the French for carpe diem which he is doing with both hands. The wines of Chamonix make a great partner to this kind of cooking, the staff is professional and the occasion –whatever it is—is unforgettable.



Summer tomatoes

Lamb shank

Some of the superb dishes to try are tamarind glazed lamb shank, with salted dried apricot and Cape pickle jus—heaven,– the last of the summer tomatoes with goats’ cheese, tomato dressing, fig leaf oil and  sansho (Japanese pepper), and a spectacular Franco -Japanese interpretation of oysters, mussel , prawn, squid and line fish—a knockout.

Oysters and friends

The menu changes as the seasons do but there will always be many things to tempt that jaded palate—guaranteed!