The Green House, Drakenstein Valley, 021 863 3852
The fabulous gardens at Babylonstoren on the R45 between Franschhoek and Klapmuts are justly famous, as is their upmarket restaurant called Babel. The whole estate is an example of what can be done when those formidable forces of taste and money get together in the most perfect way.
We’ve eaten quite a few times at Babel, but recently, after a tiring walk through the extensive gardens, came across the most delightful casual daytime place to knock back a glass or two of wine and “eat a little something” as Beryl puts it.
The setting is an actual greenhouse which is warm and cosy when it’s nippy outside. The idea of sitting sheltered but in a large garden is delightful, especially for jaded city dwellers. One seems to be far removed from the hurly-burly of the outside world. Here the idea is to make up your own food. Choose from some of the excellent bread baked in the farm ovens, either ciabatta or rye, add some cold meats, maybe ham of the day, soft cured biltong, smoked chicken or smoked trout, add a salad and home-made chutney and you are set.
Beryl loves the cheeses from Dalewood, which is just up the way from here, and especially their prize-winning Huguenot. I settled for something more substantial, a boerewors roll served with hand-cut chips and spicy tomato relish, (R65) – ‘street food’ at its best, with a touch of class. Sandwiches cost R65 for one filling or R75 for two. Also available were some delicious-looking cakes, and cute little cupcakes, as well as freshly baked buttermilk scones with cream and preserves.
Everything, with the exception of the Dalewood cheeses, is made on the farm and one can buy to take away at their Farm Shop. Estate wines are available by the glass or you can make up your own infusion with herbs from the garden – most appealing. There is a R10 admission fee to the estate, which is used for the upliftment of the local community.