In the heart of La Dauphine Guest Farm is a small French-style Bistro, Bistro BonBon. La Dauphine Estate is out of the main hub of Francshoek, and you can sit back and relax at Bistro BonBon and enjoy breakfasts, lunches or dinners. The Bistro is owned and run by head chef Archie Maclean and his wife Dominique runs the front of house.
Before owning and running Bistro BonBon, Archie was the executive chef at Catharina’s on Steenberg Estate in Cape Town. He and his wife decided to leave Cape Town and move to Franschoek to run the Bistro in Franschoek.
My brother used to work under Archie at Catharinas but moved to Singapore three years ago and went on to work at places like the Ritz Carlton, the only 6-star hotel in Singapore. Earlier this year he moved back to Cape Town, and Archie asked him to come back and work with him, this time at the Bistro.
The Bistro is split into two sections. Breakfasts and lunches are served out front, overlooking the lush green lawn. Dinners are served round the dining room, an old, converted fruit packing shed. Dinners are accompanied by light piano music. The dinner menu consists of small, tapas-style dishes which you can mix and match.
Archie was looking for some more marketing material, and over lunch in December I offered to come and help him out. He was looking to photograph some of his signature small plate dishes to use on social media. He was also wanting some updated staff portraits and some general interiors and exteriors.
I arrived at the Bistro around lunchtime on our arranged date and we immediately started work on the staff portraits, which was followed by a delicious lunch of fish.
I then had a few hours before dinner service to work on the interiors and exteriors. About two hours before dinner service we got to work photographing some of the small dinner plates. There were about 12 or so dishes to get through, so we had to work quite quickly as dinner was fast approaching and guests were slowly starting to arrive around six o’ clock.
By 10 o’ clock that night we had documented everything we needed to do and I left with full memory cards full of amazing content I knew Archie would find invaluable.