Restaurant News: Le Quartier Français closes iCi, opens The Common Room


Le Quartier Français has closed its Bistro iCi, which it opened six years ago, and has turned the informal dining room into a new one, called The Common Room, opening four days ago.  The new no-reservations restaurant is a relaxed and informal one, and will serve tapas-style food, described as “food to share”.

“The Common Room, the latest addition to the exceptional Le Quartier Français culinary experience, offers diners a menu packed full of lip smacking delights designed by Margot Janse to serve as snacks or the building blocks of a more substantial meal. Margot, in creating this new experience says “Food is constantly evolving and changing and people enjoy food at different times.  We have created a menu that will encourage people to chill out, taste, share and enjoy good times in great company. Being aware that not every meal has to be a “huge spend” we have kept the prices small and the idea is to share with friends” Fish pops with chakalaka ketchup, bone marrow with salsa verde crust, chocolate and milk ice cream sandwich, are just a few of the WOW-bites on offer”, says the announcement on the Franschhoek Wine Valley and Tourism Association website.

The menu follows below:

cup a  soup          20

avocado / grapefruit / salted macadamia salad         30

little caesar  25

risotto / wild mushrooms / buffalo labne          45

grilled vegetables / aioli           25

chickpeas / chorizo / mint                           20

fried parmesan gnocchi / spiced brinjal / swiss chard  30

chilli mieliemeal & chevre puffs            20


free range beef tartar        35

flat koek / lamb frikadelletjies / raita         40

springbok bitterballen / apple mustard           20

neil’s saucisson sec / pickles                           35

duck rillette / crostini / butternut marmalade     35

chicken liver parfait / salted plum / corn bread         30

artichoke flan / broad beans / bacon / broccoli /

pine nut crumble     35


big bay oysters / each       15

prawn toast  20

grilled squid / preserved lime / smoked paprika / coriander               30

fish pops / chakalaka ketchup         40

mini salmon cakes / rough tartar sauce                     40

saldanha bay mussels / mcc / five herbs          40


from the wood oven

warm roasted olives           25

roasted sweetcorn  / smoked butter                  20

little pan pizza / home made cheese / smoked tomato /

basil    30

dalewood camembert / soldiers       30

butter roasted mozambican prawns / common sprinkle   55

crispy smoked pork riblets  / garlic       55


chicken or beef?

whole wood roasted free range chicken / gravy  135

four hundred grams  free range botswana beef fillet / buchu béarnaise                      155 



dauphinoise      25

hand cut chips         20

roast potatoes   20  

smoked mash           25 



chocolate and milk ice cream sandwich            35

fried custard / vanilla ice cream / salted caramel     30

self saucing white chocolate and granadilla pudding  35

[20 minutes]

sticky bun ice cream / sugared almonds          20

trifle               30 


sweety jars

marshmallow           20

nougat           30

brownies       30         


“Occupying the space previously used by iCi, Le Quartier Français’s, bistro-style restaurant, The Common Room is poised to become Franschhoek’s favourite foodie hangout; the perfect place to relax and linger with friends over a tasty dish or two, the local grazing ground.   Here guests can meet up for drinks and snacks or pop in, sans reservation, for a scrumptious breakfast, lunch or dinner.  In a truly delightful twist The Common Room has a strict no-reservations policy. This ensures that it is refreshingly first-come first-serve in its attitude towards guests and great cocktails can be enjoyed while waiting for a table”.   A stated rule on the menu is “No reservations, no whining, no swearing”, and the pay-off line for the restaurant is “Local grazing ground”.

“The decor is plush without being overwhelming, and in true Le Quartier Français style it is supremely comfortable.  The Common Room themed elements add depth and humour to the experience.  The Common Room combines the best ingredients, in both its menu and décor, to create another mouthwatering dining experience at Le Quartier Français.”  The decor has been changed, and consists of owner Susan Huxter’s favourite colours, being turquoise, orange and pink.

NOTE: I will not be able to write a review about The Common Room myself, as I have been barred by the owner of Le Quartier Français, Susan Huxter, from all her and related businesses, on the grounds of a harmless remark of feedback made about the declining value for money of the iCi Bistro to one of her staff three years ago.  She admitted in her letter that she was unable to meet my high service standards, and therefore thought it better to ban me from eating and shopping, and from seeing movies, there!  She has employed a bouncer to make sure that I and others on her banned list do not enter her establishment.

The Common Room, Le Quartier Français. Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  tel (021) 876-2151. (The Le Quartier Français website surprisingly does not contain any details of The Common Room).   Mondays – Sundays, 7h30 to 22h00. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:

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4 replies on “Restaurant News: Le Quartier Français closes iCi, opens The Common Room”

  1. I like the democtratised grazing first-come, first-served approach, should help keep the ponces out but what no swearing and no whining? Do these ‘manners’ apply to the chefs in the kitchen too?

  2. I’m very curious to know who this bouncer is that Susan employed. I had the pleasure of dining at The Common Room and had a wonderful experience. This is definitely the style of dining that’s becoming a trend amoungst young people and I would definitely be a returning guest.

  3. Hi there, I am looking for a place to dine on Christmas day for a Christmas lunch. The people that will be dining with me are from JHB. I was therefore looking for a beautiful nature and wine farm setting. Would you be able to accommodate us (6) and if so what can we expect to pay per head?

    Kindest Regards

    Michelle Kuruc

  4. Dear Michelle

    This is not Le Quartier Francais’ blog, but I do know that they read it diligently. They are not on a farm, but on the busy main road of Franschhoek.


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