Think Franschhoek dining, and French cuisine comes to mind — a homage to the wine farms surrounding the Western Cape village. Or the burger bar, offering a quick bite for one of the throng of summer tourists. You don’t really expect to visit the picturesque town — sometimes called the food and wine capital of South Africa — to sample Southeast Asian specialities. But head to Ōku, and you’re in for a treat of bao buns and Asian plates.

Ōku is not so much about fine dining as slow, experiential eating, where you’re encouraged to savour flavours while connecting with your dining companions, says owner Ryan Shell. The décor lends itself to that: natural light streams in through windows on three sides of the restaurant, and stylised wooden furniture and floors create an elegant yet casual environment...

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