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.
Ilse van der Merwe
Babel is a bold, stylish restaurant where only the freshest ingredients are showcased in their seasonal simplicity - true to their “pick, clean and serve” approach. The farm remains a firm trendsetter in the local farm-to-fork scene, serving freshly picked fruit and vegetables from their massive garden daily.
Expect a limited, thoughtfully simplified menu with three salad starters (red, yellow or green), four choices for mains (fish, beef chicken or vegetarian) and three or four options for dessert. Mains are accompanied by side platters for the table, filled with seasonal roasted vegetables and golden roasted potatoes. Menus are presented in either English or Afrikaans with an almost poetic affinity for beautiful words.
The red “stirring” (starter) includes a warm beetroot falafel with fresh autumn fruit and vegetables, and is served with beetroot hummus and sumac yoghurt. The char-grilled beef fillet on the bone with a side of bone marrow and olive balsamic vinaigrette remains a favourite option. Chef’s specials include wild mushrooms risotto, made from arborio rice grown on the farm. Desserts include local favourites like a chocolate milk tart fondant, rooibos ice cream and poached guavas. An open kitchen allows guests a view into the kitchen preparations.
Babylonstoren’s own range of wines are showcased on the winelist with a notable mark-up compared to cellar prices.
Service is excellent. With a reservation, the gate security will be aware of your name and group numbers upon arrival. Guests are welcomed by a host at their cars and escorted with a flashlight (at night) or an umbrella (rainy weather). All staff are fully bilingual, friendly and well spoken.
Babel’s interior is modern contemporary with white walls, massive artworks on the walls and huge glass windows. Housed in an old cow shed, a golden thread of understated style is weaved throughout the farm with a focus on naturalism and simplicity.
If you’re visiting during daytime, come early to wander through the expansive vegetable garden and pop in at their farm shop. Both are really worth the visit. The grounds and restrooms are wheelchair-friendly, although walkways are covered in gravel and peach pips. Bring comfortable shoes and a hat for hot days, and wellies for rainy days.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.