Given that the estate Faber calls home is Avondale, a pioneer in premium organic and biodynamic South African wines, it should come as no surprise that this restaurant does more than pay lip service to sustainability. Nearly 95% of the ingredients used in the kitchen come from the estate itself, including grass-fed, hormone-free beef; organic eggs; and vegetables and herbs harvested from the organic, biodynamic garden. (Ingredients not directly from the farm are sourced from small, ethical suppliers.) And what a harvest it is … Things kick off deliciously with a bread course of piping-hot 12-hour-fermented sourdough and perfect pumpkin fritters. For starters, you cannot go wrong with the salad of slow-roasted celeriac, hazelnut, poached quince, pickled gooseberries, fried-celeriac-and-herb-butter pureé, and herbs and flowers. That said, the smoked Struisbaai kabeljou in a tozasu dressing, with charred aubergine purée, nori and radish crudités, and salt-and-pepper squid is a very close second. Mains are a wholesome, hearty affair, beautifully presented, but without pretentiousness. The dry-aged Overberg grass-fed beef fillet is served with a fricassee of roasted king oyster, shiitake and portobellini mushrooms; fried sweetbreads; and a Jerusalem-artichoke purée – well-balanced and not too earthy despite all those mushrooms and the artichoke. If the sight of the gorgeous Black Angus roaming the farm has turned you pescatarian, opt for the butter-roasted kingklip with roasted baby marrow, Granny Smith apple, steamed Saldana Bay mussels in a superb velouté, and chives, wilted Swiss chard and cucumber. The kitchen team doesn’t fail at the final sustainability hurdle of dessert: the rhubarb for the baked-rhubarb tart (with white chocolate, Avondale pecan nuts, milk and mint sorbet) is freshly picked by the chef en route to work. And if you can’t get enough of the farm’s pecans, try the warm-roasted apple with pecan ice cream, pecan cake, pecan streusel, vanilla sauce and flowers. Diners can choose between the farm-to-fork a la carte menu and the six-course Faber tasting menu, which can be paired with Avondale wines (the latter coming in at pretty good value overall).
The wine list exclusively features Avondale’s organic wines and is therefore succinct but satisfying. The selection includes two MCCs as well as a Muscat Blanc and Noble Late Harvest to pair with your sweet finish. Everything is available to enjoy by the bottle or the glass – at cellar-door prices, too. In keeping with the ethos of the estate, beers, spirits and non-alcoholic tipples are predominantly sourced from local breweries and distilleries.
Service is smart and efficient, with heart. It’s obvious that the staff is passionate about the estate’s terra est vita (soil is life) ideology. Guests are swiftly and enthusiastically educated on the history of the farm, the terroir-first approach to winemaking, the food philosophy at Faber, and the composition of each dish.
Faber is set in a gracious, Old Cape farmhouse with garden, vineyard and mountain views. The sustainability theme is present in the decor too, with restored early-1900s pieces from the owners’ collection, and much of the furniture having been crafted from decades-old pine harvested from the estate (proving that upcycling and chic are not mutually exclusive). The overall effect is bright, warm and comfortable – perfect for enjoying a serene meal as you contemplate nature.