Tue 19 Jul 2011
Ethical Rating :
Tel: 021 863 3852
- Restaurant: Wed – Sun 10am – 4pm
- Garden: Wed – Sun 9am – 5pm
Babel truly is one of the most unique eating destinations that you will come across.
It reminds me of a pristine oasis of health and vitality set amongst the venerable wine estates of this area.
The restaurant is designed to create an open, contemporary space for one to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of the incredible gardens situated right next to the restaurant.
Think Manna Epicure meets country kitchen…white, open, light and airy with stunning vistas all around you.
The main reason for including this restaurant in our guide is because of the above mentioned garden from which all the restaurants fruit, vegetables and herbs are sourced.
Gundula is the head gardener and it is a delight to have her take you on a guided tour around her pride and joy.
As she says, these gardens are not certified organic (they will not be applying for organic certification) but they are as organic as they can be!
The reasoning behind this is partly due to the fact that there is no intention of selling the produce to the general public, as it is all intended for consumption by the restaurant, the hotel and the workers and people who live on this unique farm(they provide a daily meal for all people involved with the farm(working and living) which amounts to between 100 – 130 people depending on time of year.
The garden is divided into 15 clusters spanning vegetables, berries, bees, indigenous, ducks, chickens and even includes a prickly pear maze.
Gravity feeds the water into waterways from a nearby stream into the garden as it has done for over 300 years.
Patrice Taravella, owner and designer of the world famous Orsan Gardens in France designed the garden.
The head chef is Simone Rossouw, previously with Le Quartier Francais and The Showroom
As she is never sure exactly which ingredients will be available on the day, they have created a menu that is ever-changing and flexible.
Even though their garden produce forms the core of what they prepare, Babel also offers delicious non-vegetarian dishes with ingredients sourced from the surrounding valley.
To celebrate the garden an innovative and complimentary seasonal fruit or vegetable is served with all meals.
The menu (click on link to see latest menu) is divided into 4 sections:
- From our Garden – salads, vegetables and juices.
- Blackboard Specials – daily (2 & 3 to swop around)
- From our Good Farmers – a selection of main dishes, veggie and non-veggie sourced from the surrounding farms
Dishes are divided into 3 colours, Red, Green and Yellow and each is comprised of a wide variety of ingredients of the colour specified…and what a riot of rich and vibrant colour it is.
You can add some fresh smoked trout, free range smoked chicken, free-range poached eggs or a home-made yoghurt cheese with fresh garden herbs.
There are no organic wines on the wine list. They concentrate on wine from the surrounding Simonsberg area.
Their own wines are due to be released around October.
They do not serve organic coffee but use a local roastery’s beans.
Toiletries are organic and all refuse is recycled either in the garden or outsourced.
There is an outside courtyard with plenty of shade to protect oneself from the hot summer sun.
Truly a place worth visiting both for the food and the spectacular garden!
For an independent review of this restaurant see Rossouws Restaurants
All photo graphs courtesy of Bellananda