Bistro fare, Coffee, Fine-dining food, South African
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
R60 (wine) and R80 (Bubbly)
Hanlie van der Merwe
Inspired by the bountiful seasonal produce grown a short walk from the kitchen’s doorstep, the menu changes regularly. For starters, expect fresh produce in the starring role, stylishly colour-coded for maximum visual effect. Meat-eaters need not despair. All dishes come with suggestions for a perfectly paired protein. But here in lies the brilliance of Babel – the delicate balance of interesting flavours in a green dish like the miso and yuzu broth makes even the staunchest carnivore question whether it needs the addition of seared tiger prawns. The wilted Asian greens, kohlrabi wrappers and a sprinkle of toasted Amaranth seeds are a revelation.
For mains, the focus shifts to one core ingredient, like beef fillet on the bone or crispy pork belly. But once again, an ingredient from the garden might just steal the show. The roasted pumpkin with honey and zest, served with cinnamon-and-cumin-spiced lentils and deep fried curry leaves is a deliciously modern spin on a South African favourite. And if that does not sound mouthwatering enough, why not add a double grilled lamb cutlet sourced from Riebeeck Kasteel?
All portions are as generous as the people of the Simonsberg area, which makes fitting in dessert a challenge. Resort to sharing, just so you can experience a weird (yet totally wonderful) combination like miso ice cream with poached guava and wild olive berries.
A meal at Babel is a special treat that makes the drive totally worth it. Herbivores will be in heaven. Carnivores may just be converted.
The wine list includes Babylonstoren wines, several other great options from the region, wine by the glass and occasionally, a seasonal cocktail.
Expect a very warm welcome from a team of local waiters whose genuine passion for the farm-to-fork philosophy shines through in everything they do.
A mix of local and international patrons create a pleasant Babel-like bustle, consistent with people having a fabulous time.
Go for the day. Take a stroll in the gardens, check out the farm shop and bakery, do some winetasting. The garden spa facilities are the stuff of pampering dreams.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Hetta van Deventer Terblanche
Fresh fruit and vegetables – that had hours ago been ripening quietly on the trees and growing snugly in the organic garden – are served boldly, vibrantly and with style in the restaurant. Starter options are coded in three different colour options – green, yellow and red. Expect to be surprised with brilliant unconventional tastes such as buttermilk, plum and beetroot soup with star anise and black sesame ice-cream, or crumbed squid with pineapple carpaccio.
Main courses focus more on a single main ingredient, for example the fig leaf-spiced fish of the day with Jerusalem artichokes and chenin blanc butter sauce, or beef fillet on the bone with risotto. Or be swooned with slow-roasted saddle of lamb with fragrant spices, pomegranate, pear and rose water.
Desserts feature different taste combinations such as sweet and salty, bitter and sweet, sweet and sour, and salty and piquant. These could be in the form of panna cotta, dukka, honey milk, fennel pollen and cape gooseberries. The creative genius of this menu challenges the eater to rethink taste combinations and introduces contemporary styles without losing focus.
The wine list includes the wines from the estate, as well as an extensive selection of other wines, with by-the-glass options ranging from a reasonably priced R45 upwards.
Generous South African hospitality, good humour and a welcome smile is to be expected from all staff, who go out of their way to welcome, inform, direct and serve visitors.
It is a feast for all the senses from the point of arrival, when you will walk through the magnificent gardens to the modern contemporary white-walled, glassed-in restaurant, housed in a converted cow shed.
Make a day trip of it. Take flat, comfortable shoes for walking, visit the beautiful farm shop, bakery and garden spa. Do the wine tasting and do not leave without a freshly baked bread, home-cured meat and cheese.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Went to thee farm last week. The walk, gardens and farm store were simply amazing. A must for those who want to see & experience history as well as amazing edible gardens.
Babel? Simply disappointing.
We were made to pay a deposit to book (R1000) and just so you know, if your bill is below this, they have NO way to refund the balance...
I ordered baby chicken which must have been cooked 2 days before. It was cool, so dry it was almost biltong and the skin was soggy and cold. Definitely the worst chicken I have been served in a long time.
My daughter ordered Pork Belly, this too was so dry she couldn't chew it and obviously leftovers from a previous cook.
My wife had fish which she enjoyed. My other daughters also enjoyed their mains, but we expecting great food not just average...
The waitress was very good about it and offered us ice cream on the house and didn't charge for the 2 day old meals... unfortunately the ice cream had severe freezer burn!
I also ordered a "Craft" beer and was told they were out of stock and offered me a Castle Lite!
Very disappointed and felt ripped off. Spur would have been a safer bet. Why do restaurants in Cape Town rely on ripping customers off with terrible food at European prices? The table next to us (Americans didn't eat most of their food too, blaming it on portion size, promptly paying their bill and departing... have you ever seen portion sizes in the US? )
I would stay well clear of this place as it appears to be a tourist trap, over priced, underwhelming and tired.
After visiting them a few weeks ago for their breakfast we felt a
lunch visit was needed.
Situated on the glorious Babylonstoren farm is Babel Restaurant.
Converted from an ancient cowshed into a sleek restaurant we were
warmly welcomed by their lovely staff.
The menu is based on their farm to table philosophy so everything is
more or less from their grounds. Due to it being a chilly day we were
presented with warm Glühwein - what a treat that instantly warmed us
up and tasted as good as the ones I have had in Germany.
Bread with their own olive oil as well as some green leave emulsion
was offered - excellent. Our waitress also brought us fruit and
vegetables that were already prepared that we could also have with our
bread. What a genius idea!
For starters he had their Lightly smoked Franschhoek trout with
grilled radicchio, tree-ripened roasted Nonpareil almonds, a drizzle
of spicy peppadew dressing and Babylonstoren extra virgin Frontoia
olive oil, topped with dried olive crumbs. He also took their added
option of Prosciutto chips. The dish was amazing especially with the
pepper dew dressing. If only all “salads” could be like this!
I was feeling Asian today so I had their Miso and yuzu broth as well
as wilted Asian greens with kohlrabi wrappers, lemon verbena, toasted
Amaranth and caraway seeds. I took their added option of seared tiger
prawns to go with the dish. Prawns were cooked perfectly and
everything danced together in unison.
We had some Brut by Niel Joubert.
For mains he in need of some iron (his new excuse for red meat) had
their Fillet on the bone, served with a roasted onion and Babel red
wine splash, crisp Babylonstoren black olives and fresh wild olive
berries. The meat was cooked exactly to my liking and I could tell it
was once a fat and happy cow. All round a good dish.
I was still feeling Asian so she had their Crisp pork belly with
wilted Asian greens and a soy and jalapeño sauce. We were surprised by
the generous portions and I even got to taste his. Pork belly was
cooked beautifully and it was a nice change from usually being served
a sweet version to now having a spicy version.
We were also served crisp potato wedges, honey baby carrots, peppered
zucchini and corn on the cob.
A really good round of mains that we enjoyed with their Babel red.
No, we couldn’t say no to dessert. For him it was the Sticky toffee
pudding with rosemary toffee sauce and a sprinkle
of myrtle salt. Warm, sweet and everything a dessert should be on a cold day.
I was now feeling sweet and sour so our lovely waitress recommended
the Warm citrus fruit salad and honey- comb, Babylonstoren’s own
ricotta with cinnamon dust. According It was a marvelous way to end
lunch with the dessert being a bit warm and sweet and sour. A real
Great food as well as service. I will definitely go back to try out
their dinner or pasta night. The location is good and the quality of
produce used is beyond good.