Friday, November 27, 2009

Cape Town Dining: Foodbarn

After reading a great write-up in the NY Times, I was curious to try the Foodbarn, in Noordhoek. Getting there required a 40 minute drive that was both harrowing and lovely along the cliffs overlooking Cape Town’s beaches. We were rewarded with stellar views on the drive and a phenomenal dining experience.

First off, the French chef’s name is Franck Dangereux, which is just plain awesome. And I just now read that he trained under the chef from Moulin de Mougins in France, site of my all time greatest meal, so he’s even cooler than I imagined!

The setting is nothing special. The restaurant is pleasantly appointed and certainly has the feel of a converted barn. As we found everywhere in South Africa, no matter how nice the restaurant guests arrived in jeans, but here more than most places, it felt appropriate. Our server was an adorable guy who had the rosy cheeks and exuberance that only come with youth. He was certainly not a ultra fine dining kind of waiter, too cheeky and enthusiastic for that, but he seemed perfect for such a relaxed atmosphere.

We had the choice between a multi-course bistro set menu and a la carte. Mr. AT went with the former, and I chose the latter.

While Mr. AT started with salmon ravioli, I oped for tempura of prawns on a tian of avocado , confied eggplamt and tomato, served with basil salsa and finished with a red chilli syrup- Despite it’s long list of ingredients and visually titillating presentation, it was really a pretty straightforward dish. Certainly, there’s nothing complicated in the notion that crunchy shrimp, spicy sauce, and mellow veggies are divine together. Yum!


Both of our entrees were hearty and delectable, too. My steak with a creamy sauce, pearl onions and a mache salad were perfectly prepared and just frenchified enough to be totally decadent. Mr. AT’s lamb chops, the first of many on this trip, were also cooked to a lovely pink medium rare.
Our dessert, while good but not exceptional, came with a sweet inscription of congratulations to us, and we found the XXX portion of the inscription to be a hilarious and most likely unintentional message to a newlywed couple.

In hindsight, we continue to refer to Foodbarn as one of our favorite meals. Given we ate at some of the country’s finest restaurants, this is actually quite a compliment. So what accounted for our fond memories? It was ultimately the price/quality/charm trifecta that sold us on it. Many SA restaurants are priced comparably to high-end Atlanta restaurants, but Foodbarn still felt like a deal. For $27, Mr. AT got 3 courses and a glass of wine. Not too shabby, right? Add to that the delicious food and charming, attentive server, and we were talking about Foodbarn throughout the rest of our trip.

Check it out for yourself:

The Foodbarn Restaurant & Deli
Noordhoek Farm Village, Village Lane, Noordhoek Telephone: +27 (0)21 789 1390

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