Venues

Greenhouse at Babylonstoren

Greenhouse at Babylonstoren
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Cost
Cost for two | R100 - R200
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Bakery fare, Café fare, Coffee, Health food, Light meals, Modern, South African, Vegetarian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
2013_eatout_top500
500

Critic's review

Jeanne Calitz

Food
Walking through the stunning and extenstive vegetable gardens at Babylonstoren, it’s hard not to start lusting after some of the produce you notice along the way – quavas, pears, broad beans, citrus, it’s all there. Luckily, there is the option of lunching at the Greenhouse, where the kitchen makes excellent use of the seasonal harvest. (There’s also the fine dining fare at Babel, but for that you need some patience to get a reservation.) Greenhouse’s menu is small but well crafted. Most people opt for the build-your-own sandwich option – choose between freshly baked rye bread or ciabatta, and then make a choice between some fine local cheeses and cured meats. All sandwiches come with a gorgeous seasonal salad prettily presented in a glass jar, and a rather wonderful little pot of pear chutney to add some piquant flavour to the bread. It’s a simple but supremely satisfying meal, bursting with freshness and flavour. Part of the charm is knowing that the salad ingredients – harvested a stone’s throw away – could not be any fresher. If bread is not your thing, they also offer a soup of the day and some special seasonal treats – during this visit it was waterblommetjiebredie. Our table did not have capacity for dessert, although it’s hard not to be tempted by the likes of a kumquat tart, a citrus cupcake or the portions of wheat-free chocolate cake we saw floating past.

Drinks
The Babylonstoren wines are available, most of them by the glass, but the offering includes some fine non-alcoholic choices. These include freshly squeezed juices, homemade ice tea, fabulous homemade lemonade adorned with peach blossoms, a seasonal cordial (plum, for example) and, under hot drinks, the option to create your own tea infusion with fresh herbs from the garden.

Service
Staff members are friendly and helpful, brimming with good humour and enthusiasm for the job.

Ambience
Whether you manage to snag a seat inside the striking greenhouse or find a spot at the colourful tables outside under the trees, the setting is really kind of magical. The atmosphere is relaxed and very family friendly, with loads of toddlers happily running around. It’s the kind of place that you just don’t want to leave, a healthy and organic little paradise, and the perfect spot to illustrate to the young ones that fruit and veg do in fact come from the earth, not the local supermarket shelf.

And…
In a lovely touch, diners are invited to help themselves to some freshly harvested fruit, like naartjies and oranges, waiting in a big rustic basket.

(October 2015)

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  • Greg Landman

    Food
    While the whole idea at big-sister restaurant, Babel, is to get serious about food, here the emphasis is on relaxing and unwinding in a congenial atmosphere. It's very simple in concept – you almost make own food here, choosing from fabulous breads made in the farm ovens as a base. The more fillings you pick – and they are difficult to resist – the bigger will be your bill.

    Choose from the delicious charcuterie from their own charcutier, ham of the day, smoked chicken and trout, and soft cured biltong. Add, or go solo with, award-winning Huguenot cheese from Dalewood farm (their neighbours just down the road), or goat's cheese, cumin-spiced leyden or a slab of rich gorgonzola. This is served with salad, homemade chutney and herb oil, all of it right from the farm.

    If you would like something more substantial, try a boerewors roll with hand-cut chips and spicy tomato relish. Finish up with the tart of the day – if you're lucky it'll be the really good kumquat version served with homemade ice cream. You can even make your own tea from the selection of fresh garden herbs and edible flowers.

    Drinks
    The excellent wines of the estate are available by the glass or the bottle. For a health zing, order a juice (red, yellow or green) made from seasonal fruit and veg.

    Service
    Friendly and efficient.

    Ambience
    This is actually a real, working glass greenhouse which gets warm in the summer. The slack is taken up by fans and misters but you might prefer to sit outside. Either way, the feeling of sitting in a garden is most appealing.

    And...
    There's a R10 entrance fee into the estate, which is used for the upliftment of the community. The walk to the Green House from the entrance is fairly long, but it will take you through the most beautiful vegetable garden and orchards imagineable.

    (July 2014)

  • A more casual alternative to Babel, the Green House pairs a country atmosphere with award-winning design. Sit inside the charming Victorian glass house or outside under the trees and sip on colour-coded juices while you choose from the unfussy menu. After brunch, take a walk in the estate’s lush orchards and gardens. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    Don’t let the handful of unfussy options on the menu fool you: this food will fill you up with goodness, letting the incredible ingredients – mostly harvested from the estate’s considerable gardens – shine. Make your own sandwiches with a choice of bread baked on site, cheese and charcuterie, served with salad and fragrant herb oil. Seasonal vegetables and fruit (don’t be surprised to find figs, plums and nectarines) bring salad plates to life. Boeries are deeply satisfying with their tangy home-made chutney and freshly baked rolls, and the accompanying potato wedges – in a twist of paper – are sensational. Clear plastic cutlery emulating ornate silver knives and forks, glass condiment dishes, and blue and white delft china let the food do the talking. The scones with vanilla cream will change your life ¬– definitely not for sharing. After your tea, make sure you stop to get meats cured and matured in the white-tiled butchery, as well as top cheeses from the area.

    Wine
    Order a freshly squeezed yellow, green or red juice made from the garden’s bounty, with garnishes of beetroot, carrot or whatever’s seasonal. Cordials and iced teas are flavoured with herbs from the garden.

    Service
    The waitrons are polite and swift but not terribly sophisticated; this is farm-style eating with service to match. Summoning up impatience in this tranquil setting is pretty much impossible anyway.

    Ambience
    (Winner of the [Boschendal Style Award](http://eatout.co.za/Awards/Award?showtab=4 ""Boschendal Style Award"") in association with Visi at the [2012 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards](http://eatout.co.za/Awards/Award ""2012 Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards ""). It’s beautiful under the trees outside the greenhouse. Benches and little tables are often occupied by families and youngsters, so it’s easy for anyone to fit in. Take a turn inside the glass structure to admire the plants and charming nostalgic touches like old green medicinal bottles and a Victorian cabinet of drawers, some of which are pulled open to display Delft china ¬– one of the signatures of the estate.

    And...
    Go for a stroll around the gardens after your meal to pluck the odd lemon, rub the leaves of herbs and walk barefoot –¬ and lie down! ¬– in the dedicated thyme and camomile gardens. The shop is also a must, filled with estate honey, cordials, printed cloths, platters with Babel’s signature bull and fruit preserves. (Linda Scarborough, March 2013)

User reviews

  • Visited the farm last Sunday. Whilst we enjoyed the facilities, we were greatly disappointed by the menu items available from the Greenhouse restaurant. As we do not eat pork/ham, the already limited list of items was greatly reduced. Having been shown to our table, the special containing chicken was sold out (around 13h10, so well within the lunch period), whilst the cheese sandwich contained ham, which we were told was pre-prepared(!) and thus taking out the ham was not an option. As neither of us felt like eating a salad, we left without ordering anything. This left a bitter taste in our mouths (pun intended!) as we would have liked to have brought family members on a later occasion. To make matters worse, one week later and the management have not even responded to my polite email. Will not be returning there again. We ended up at the lovely Lust Bistro on the Vrede en Lust Wine Estate, which is definitely worth a visit.
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  • Absolutely beautiful. Gorgeous spot in the gardens. Such a magical wine farm. Unwind your soul with a glass of their delectable wines or a cappucino. We had a sandwich - very tasty. Home made chutneys are delicious. Service was good. Will definitely visit again!
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  • First of all... Who serves (orange) curd and cream with scones? Nothing wrong with curd, but I was disappointed and extremely confused to say the least. Especially as the menu says preserves will be served. Secondly if you pay R75-R85 for a glorified ham and cheese sandwich (no butter!) you sort of expect it to be served on a plate. The paper wrapping is quite chic, but if you share a sandwich then what? Tear the wrapping?... Not so chic! The hostess was very gracious and friendly, but overall the restaurant is understaffed. Naturally then the staff are quite short and sarcastic with the customers and you struggle to grab anyone's attention (we were literally ignored by everyone walking past). I can just imagine over worked staff=unhappy staff. Don't get me wrong, the venue is beautiful, BUT that alone is not enough. I went with so much expectation, but left disappointed and disillusioned. Conclusion: overrated and pretentious
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  • I'm disappointed to find negative comments here, albeit old. We spent a beautiful day at Babylonstoren. The R10 entrance fee was worth every cent. The gardener, Gundula, took us on a guided tour of the garden at 10am and invited us to pick fruit, as long as it was ripe. So if you go to The Green House to eat, don't just go directly there. Arrive earlier and explore. We found the service friendly and attentive. We were charmed by the free bottle of water placed on the table. The Chenin Blanc by the glass was reasonably priced and served in lovely large wine glasses. My sister and I shared the huge salad - What a masterpiece of colour, freshness, taste and texture - all straight from the garden. A generous portion of trout was added, at extra cost. My brother in law ordered the boerewors roll. Served with beautiful flat roast potatoes (called chips) and a spicy tomato relish, it was also large enough to share, but it was so delicious, he ate it all himself! He was just disappointed that the Greenhouse did not serve beer, as it is available at their other restaurant, Babel.( and that's the only reason that Food loses one star).
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  • After very high expectations, we were extemely disappointed with our lunch at the Greenhouse today. Not only was the hostess extremely arrogant and rude, but service was shocking and food far below average. Although the setting is gorgeous and we enjoyed our walk though the gardens, it was not enough. I shall not be returning!
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  • very diappointing all round - having had to pay an entracne fee of R10 per person (imagine) a vehicle with 6 people - this means you have paid R60 upfront before even setting foot on the grounds - furthermore the walk (more like the great trek) to the greenhouse - not really suitable for elderly or disabled - only to find a waiting list for tables and then do to wine tasting you had to schlepp back to the where you frist entered!
    food offering at Greenhouse consists of make your own sandwich of either cheese or ham or cheese and ham!
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  • So disappointed. Very high expectations and excited about our lunch booking, bringing friends from overseas. Food is OK, but doesn't match other restaurants in the Winelands. Service is extremely slow. The place itself is very pretty and nicely designed. But that is not enugh. Will not be back.

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  • I booked an outside table overlooking the dam a year in advance for our wedding anniversary. We only got the table we wanted when complained that the inside table was not what we had asked for. The food was reasonable without being outstanding, but the service was shocking. The six people at the next table had a worse experience than we did, and complained bitterly. So either jack-up the service or downgrade the food to 2-star. The manager took our email address with a promise of a report-back, and surprise surprise, we have heard absolutely nothing. A BIG disappointment.

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  • Average food, service very slow... Had to go to kitchen twice to ask for bill and even a third time. Gardens wonderfull! Excellent experience.

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  • Absolutely stunning setting, very slow service. Had to ask twice to order and 3 times for the bill. Eventually presented with wrong bill and had to tell them what we had and they made a hasty sum at our table.

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  • In my humble opinion, this is the best place on earth! We spent 4 glorious days at Babylonstoren, experienced the wonder of the garden and ate at the glass house and had breakfast in the restaurant. Simple perfection!

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  • My wife and I had an excellent meal with outstanding service. Meticulous attention to detail. Freshest ingredients. A delightful setting. A real find at very reasonable prices and generous portions. One of the best kept secrets in the Winelands. Maybe not for long. Do not miss this gastronomic experience.

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  • Great meal, inventive presentation of meal. Beautiful setting on a really hot day. Service a bit slow but well worth the wait!

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  • Why the R10 per person charge to get on the property even if you are having lunch?

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Child friendly
  • Food
  • Hotel
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Vegetarian
  • WiFi

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