The Cape has more than its fair share of fabulous restaurants, lucky us…and The Food Barn is right up there. Co-founders Franck Dangereux (the chef) and Pete de Bruin have done something really clever by serving what is high-level fine dining in a totally relaxed environment without pretension and fussiness. You can bet no-one feels uncomfortable or intimidated when they are eating at The Food Barn, the atmosphere, service and whole feel of the place ensure that, plus the food is just wonderful.
I always think that you can tell Franck really loves cooking, the dishes are made and presented with love and are never quite what you’re expecting when they arrive at the table – in a good way! I can’t wait to see what my masterpiece meal is going to look and taste like.
The fresh fish (tuna) tartare I started with today came with lime, basil and avocado, aioli, soy and petit mussel fritters. Creamy, limy avocado (and a substantial portion of it), topped with the freshed of tuna and surrounded by a cornucopia of tasty sauces, and delicate, melt-in-the-mouth mussels.
And here’s something different…bravely ordered by Sarah who had never tried pigs trotters…braised rabbit croquettes, pig trotter and parsley samoosas, carrot ribbons, star anise juice and herb butter. An adventure on a plate – Franck does seem to like offering the more unusual options – today there was tripe as a main course, for example.
This prawn fritter starter is legendary among regulars – these are not your regular fritters. They come with a celeriac remoulade tian, sweet calamata tapenade, crunchy legs and basil salsa. This dish is sweet, succulent, crunchy and herby and results in plates wiped as clean as can be!
The petite Bouillabaise du Cap was packed with mussels, fish and prawns and came with a rouille sauce and crouton. The taste of the sea in a bowl.
For mains I opted for the Karoo lamb. Roasted rack with Dijon mustard herb crumbs, tomato, basil and pecorino quiche and a thyme scented jus. Karoo lamb is world class – flavoursome and tender and this rack arrived perfectly pink as recommended by the chef. I also loved the little quiche it rested on, the perfect companion.
The spring risotto was a celebration of herbs – basil, chervil, parsley and chives giving the creamy rice a real uplifting zest. It can be ordered plain or with plump sauted prawns (as here). A must-have for risotto fans.
Today’s grilled sustainable fish was tuna and it was served with a Basque pepper ragout, wild rocket, chorizo and red onion spring rolls and smoked paprika cream. A wonderfully Spanish influence coming through in this pretty-as-a-picture dish.
The pasture reared beef was a grilled sirloin served with an onion tart tatin and a rich Cabernet jus. We also ordered a selection of fresh market vegetables which all got polished off smartly. Even the vegetables are impossible to resist at The Food Barn.
A selection of desserts were ordered to share (this is getting to be a habit). They were all spectacles to behold as you can see. My highlight – the hibiscus ice cream in the third one. The creme brulee was pretty damn spectacular, too. Thanks to Sarah for letting me use her pudding pictures – stunning they are, too.
How I love lunch at The Food Barn – we were the last to leave the restaurant – which is not the first time and probably won’t be the last. It’s hard to tear yourself away – no one’s rushing you and you want to hold on to that state of total contentment. Some of it is still lingering nearly a week later…
The Food Barn is in Noordhoek Farm Village on the corner of Village Lane and Noordhoek Main Road.