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Review: Fruits of the earth at Babel at Babylonstoren in Klapmuts

The Babylonstoren gardens on the Klapmuts-Simondium road are known far and wide for their abundant vegetables, fruit, and herbs. Greg Landman pays Babel a visit to taste the estate’s earthly bounty.

Food

The Babylonstoren gardens are known far and wide, with vegetables, fruit, and herbs growing in abundance. Therefore it isn’t strange to find that almost all the fresh produce used in the restaurant comes from their own soil. There are three spectacular salads available, red, green and yellow, each with multiple seasonal ingredients influenced by the colours in the gardens. The red one might be a Caesar salad with warm pickled beetroot, salmon gravlax, aubergine, blood orange, pink oyster mushrooms, pomegranate, prosciutto crisps and a classic anchovy Caesar dressing. The result is a fabulous mix of red and pink flavours and textures. The other salads might include warm pumpkin fritters (yellow) and braised bok choy hearts (green).

Babel. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Babel. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

For mains, we indulge in oven-roasted almond-crusted trout with fennel jam and a superb flame-grilled beef fillet on the bone with Jerusalem artichoke and Bordelaise sauce – delicious. Desserts range through flavours of sweet (a warm doughnut with kumquat and cinnamon sugar,) bitter-sweet (baked brie with blood-orange pâté and black olive tapenade,) savoury and sour (lemon and parmesan soufflé,) to sour (poached guava with savoury custard and beetroot crumble.) The homemade breads and estate olive oil are an added treat.

Drinks

Obviously the wines of the estate feature prominently, but there are other treasures available, like the Morgenhof Brut Reserve, and the Rupert & Rothschild Baroness Nadine Chardonnay.

Service

Impeccable and knowledgeable, with an appealing touch of country warmth.

Ambience

The room is completely glassed in, letting in a lot of light. One wall is tiled and features a large illustration of a bull and the menu for the day. The almost-clinical theme, thanks to the use of plenty of white, is carried through to the wine carafes, which have laboratory-style markings on the glass. The kitchen is open to the diners’ view and in summer the garden area is most desirable.

Babel. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Babel. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

And…

Make the time to do a wine tasting, and to visit their fabulous deli for charcuterie, breads, and cheeses. There is a small entrance fee to the estate, which is donated to the Babylonstoren Trust for the upliftment of their community.

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