Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Foodbarn Restaurant - Loving Food and Life in Noordhoek

Food: Fine dining, French inspired with some Asian twists.
Wine: Selection not excessive but right (all budgets).
Service: Outstanding, knowledgeable and friendly.
Ambiance: Relaxed country chic style, food barn setting.
In a Nutshell: Enjoy an unpretentious fine dining experience where food tastes fresh and is approached with creativity, care and a bit of dare. Don't miss: Tuna Sashimi, Nitida Wine, the Deli.
Where: Noordhoek Farm Village. Corner Village Lane and Noordhoek Main Road. Noordhoek, Western Cape.
Tel: 021 789 1390
Looking to plan something to do during our trip in Cape Town that we hadn't done in our previous visits, we were determined to take a stroll down Chapman's Peak Drive. I figured it would be nice to arrive in Noordhoek right around lunch time and looked for the best place to eat in that area. Almost immediately The Foodbarn popped up about everywhere and I was making a booking in no time. We arrived to find a very country chic styled restaurant where we were warmly welcomed. I had read about the Nitida Menu Winter Special on the website which were 3 to 5 course menus with Nitida wine tasting included. We opted for the 3-course menu option and our adventure began...

They served a deliciously crusty-on-the-outside yet soft-and-fresh-in-the-inside bread that had us entertained for a while, until the first meal arrived. For the sake of trying various dishes we both chose differently. I, for starters, had the Tuna Sashimi with Cauliflower and Basil Mousseline in a ginger and Soy sauce, which were straightforward flavours harmoniously combined, paired with a extremely fresh and floral Nitida Sauvignon Blanc 2011, the perfect start. My husband had a nicely put together Wild Mushroom, Tarragon and Ricotta Ravioli with a creamy and tasty Fontina Sauce served with Nitida Semillon 2010 that had a smoked wood taste. Although the latter dish was rather good, I found the texture of the Ravioli filling to be on the unappealling side, as the ricotta made it more watery than creamy and the mushrooms had been minutely chopped, loosing in the process the intensity of flavor and the fleshy texture of mushrooms.
The Foodbarn's Tuna Sashimi
The Foodbarn's Wild Mushroom Ravioli
The Foodbarn's Pork Belly Roast
The real adventure, however, would come for the mains in the form of Calf's Brains for myself together with a glass of fresh yet bodied Nitida Coronata 2009. If I may say, I was highly recommended this signature dish by our host, who would swear by it, so it certainly helped me into making the decision to give it a try. It was very nicely presented, and it obviously did not look like brains. Cut into bite size pieces and bathed by a creamy port (not sure) sauce, the little whitish pieces of brain matter were rather good, achieving a creamy camembert-like texture and an arguably good taste. Even so, I don't think I'd be prone to order such a thing again. To be fair, I was feeling sick from my tummy even before getting to the restaurant, but after that meal I had a terrible and painful tummy ache for the rest of the afternoon and evening, so, fair or not, my system has kind of blamed the "brains" for the damage caused. My husband for his part, greatly enjoyed the Slow Roasted Pork Belly on Almond Mash, wilted spinach and Balsamic Jus paired with Nitida Calligraphy 2010.
The Foodbarn's Calf's Brains
Banana Crepe with Rum and Treacle Ice Cream
To finish off our adventure I went caribbean and chose the Banana Crepe in a coconut sauce with Rum & Treacle Ice Cream and my other half had the Tempura Taleggio with a Sweet Herb Vinaigrette. My choice was good but not so memorable, while his was not very good at all. The idea had its merit, but the sauce was too tangy and salty for an already salty cheese so it didn't really taste much like dessert, but like a salty starter. Like everything I write here, this is just my opinion, but I think they could still save the dish by changing the sauce to, for example, a Sweet blackberry/raspberry and balsamic vinaigrette with basil.
Tempura Taleggio with sweet herb vinaigrette
Overall, it was a good experience, service was outstanding and the food had a lovely presentation and generally good tastes and textures. If you're going that way, it is a place you should try. They also have a deli where you can buy nice breads and other stuff, so if you're going from Noordhoek towards Hout Bay (heading to Cape Town) you can probably stock up on some goodies for a lovely picnic at Chapman's Peak (ask where the deli is though, because it's not right next to the restaurant as you would expect).

If you have your own recollection of an experience at this restaurant, please, by all means share it here.

Love, iSa


  1. Hi there! Thank you so much for visiting my blog...and I am so glad to have found yours! Your photos are really beautiful, and I love your descriptions of each course. I am a big fan of The Foodbarn, but I haven't tried the Nitida menu as yet - you've convinced me to go and do so! Lovely!

  2. Thank you for visiting my blog too! Thank you for the compliments on the pictures, the good ones are usually taken by my hubby ;) I love wine and food pairing menus and this one had interesting choices, worth a try! I think they change it every week though...


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