Farm to fork at Babel Restaurant
A trip out to the winelands is a unique Cape Town luxury activity with wine tastings and pairings, hiking, walking, fishing, cycling and riding to enjoy. One of the greatest treats on your trip into the nearby surrounds of the Mother City is the food, and you can’t go wrong by stopping off at Babel for lunch while doing your rounds.
Rated one of the Top 100 restaurants in South Africa by American Express, Babel is housed in a revamped cowshed on the esteemed Babylonstoren property in Franschhoek.
Plate glass windows add an unusual dimension to the Cape Dutch architecture while providing views over the gardens and vineyards. Babylonstoren is itself a recipient of prestigious worldwide recognition for its fine wines, so make sure you bring a driver along on your trip so you don’t have to hold back.
That’s the drinks sorted, but what can you expect on the menu at Babel. This restaurant is dedicated to a farm to fork policy and uses only ingredients grown fresh either onsite or in the nearby vicinity. So you can look forward to something different every time you visit.
The 2017 winter menu is awash with ingredients picked fresh from the garden. Chestnuts, waterblommetjies, kale, guavas, citrus, beetroot and rooibos are grown here and all the creamy cheese and yoghurt featured in the dishes is made at the onsite Cheese Room. Even the delicately fragrant honey is courtesy of the farm’s busy bees.
What’s on the menu
At this time of year, the menu is entitled simply, ‘Early Winter’ and features such delicacies as succulent lamb cutlets with horseradish, roasted quince, pink peppercorns and chervil. A sprinkling of myrtle and lemon salt completes the plate. If you prefer fish you are sure to find the spicy tomato soup with prawns, line fish and West Coast mussels to your liking.
Starters include a broth infused with rare yuzu-citrus, hotpot of quail, bobotie cream and waterblommetjies, and carpaccio of Franschhoek trout with beetroot. Sticking with the Babel tradition of contrast dessert comprises a choice of sweet and sour white chocolate terrine with kale, lime and granadilla, bittersweet chocolate espresso fondant with medlar jelly, and sour poached guava with yoghurt and yuzu sorbet.
Masters of harmony
While the menu is a masterpiece of uniting complex flavours into a singular enjoyment, Babel remains a clean, white contemporary space free of clutter and full of charm. Put one of the country’s most celebrated Cape Town luxury restaurants on your to do list when visiting the winelands this winter.