What Piet Huysentruyt loves most about the South African culinary scene is quite simple: its lack of emphasis on rules. Best known for his unlikely combinations of noble ingredients and offal – which he aptly describes as ‘mixing everything’ – Huysentruyt is clearly unaffected by the constraints of conventional cooking. Although risky, his rebellious approach has certainly paid off, earning him two Michelin stars, five bestselling cook books and international fame.
Huysentruyt is taking the team from his restaurant, Likoké, in the south of France, on a world tour of sorts, kicking off in his home town of Kortrijk in Belgium, and travelling to Japan, Bali and Singapore for collaborations with top chefs. Franschhoek’s Môreson Estate in the Cape Winelands is his last stop.
The beautiful glass Conservatory at Môreson will house the travelling version of Likoké from 28 February to 15 March 2018. We were lucky enough to meet the man himself as a teaser to this final episode of his tour.
Huysentruyt walked us through the highs and lows of his career, which reads more like the biography of a rock star than a chef, complete with an image of Huysentruyt crowdsurfing at what might well have been Coachella. He has become instantly recognisable in Belgium, France and beyond for his patterned chef’s jackets, his liberal use of yoghurt and buttermilk and his renowned love of pigs’ trotters.
An element of mischief informed the menu we were given, most evident in the bucket of LFC (Likoké Fried Chicken): drumsticks served with Congolese-style Moambe for the dipping. The internationally-inspired selection came closest to home with the Biltong Spiced Steak, served on charred wine staves, a beautiful twist on the humble South African braai, and the Stoverij and Friet, a hearty Belgian stew prepared with beer and served with thick cut fries, was refreshingly complex whilst falling firmly within the category of comfort food.
The Belgian Waffle with Mushroom and Wild Garlic (grown on the Conservatory premises) was a surprising highlight – a burst of flavour which delicately dissolves on the tongue. Even the pig’s trotter, which was met with some apprehension, was full of flavour and wonderfully soft in texture.
Although a variety of drinks were on offer, the Môreson MCC was the obvious choice – an elegant bubbly well-suited to the event. Huysentruyt has commissioned a Merlot, made at Môreson and aptly called the Conservatory Merlot to pair with the food on offer. Likoké on Tour offers an exceptional experience of international standards and its short run is not to be missed.
Likoké restaurant runs from the 28th of February to 15th of March 2018 at the Conservatory at Môreson Estate in Franschhoek.
Mischa Ruby Fisher