Babel at Babylonstoren and other Cape/Boland gems

The entrees – um, we over-ordered
Awesome potato chips

The lamb shank

The emphasis is on seasonality and food grown on the farm (they have incredible fruit, vegetable and herb gardens which are a whole separate reason to visit the farm) so at any given time you are sure to see a repetition of an ingredient in abundance on your chosen menu. Which doesn’t bother, it makes you think about seasonality in real-time.

AWESOME trout with brown butter

The food is innovative, thoughtful and tasty with a punch, and it definitely looks like they pack out the crowds here on weekends. Once again with all the food on your table, it looks a bit like a spread for a foodie magazine shoot, but to no disadvantage of the meal.

The sides – officially stuffed now

Refreshingly, there’s no leaning towards the catch-all’s of modern fine dining – no foams, soils, oils, gels or croquants. Nothing was dehydrated. Amazingly, I recognised all the food – this is good cooking underscored by solid technique, balance and passion.

Some interior

One note though … a ‘gate fee’ is charged at the entrance of the farm, I guess because once you enter the farm, they don’t know what you are going to do – walk in the gardens, taste wine, or visit the restaurant. So, if you visit the restaurant, you pay – a cover charge?

The entrance, tres chic

I mean seriously – not even ‘supper club’ restaurants in Amsterdam charge a cover if you dine – and there’s way more to see … Just a rant.

Brandy, coffee and dark chocolate

We also did a bit a brandy tasting at Van Rhyn’s brandies in Stellenbosch, a very organised experience, if anything, but worth a look for the Cape history.

Saggy Stone, Robertson, ZA
The tasting at Saggy Stone Pub

Then outside Robertson we found this pub – Saggy Stone, which is a bit of a legendary local hangout, and has a micro-brewery attached. You can do a tasting, eat some pub food or just lol about in the sun and watch the mountains…

Posh
Ostrich neck entree

Or drive back into town and visit the rather posher The Robertson Small Hotel, where Reuben Riffel’s ‘other’ restaurant is located. Pretty fine food, grown-up surroundings, proper service and so forth. I vote the pub. We can’t all be grown ups.

Salmon main
Gnocchi with pumpkin

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