The Food Barn review

My dinner at The Food Barn has restored my faith in food. It’s been a while since I’ve been genuinely excited about a meal and I’ve missed the feeling. The Food Barn has undergone a revamp, with the deli being moved to another part of the Noordhoek Farm Village and the restaurant now fills the entire space. With the revamp comes a new menu. The Food Barn was very casual before, I remember having a toasted chicken sandwich the last time I was there (which was definitely the best toasted chicken sandwich I have ever had). Now, while it still has a casual feel, it is certainly taking itself more seriously.

They offer a ‘bistro’ menu where Franck Dangeroux gets to flex his creative culinary muscle. For R200, you can select 3 courses from the bistro menu and this is accompanied by a carafe of wine. Quite a few people went for this option and it is irrefutably good value. While the bistro menu did have some appealing options, I found myself drawn to a particular starter and main which were not on the bistro menu. In fact, closer inspection revealed that the bistro menu options are really just fancier versions of the a la carte options. I ended up choosing the calamari starter (R80) and the linefish main (R110). Adding my half of the bottle of 2006 Groot Constantia Merlot (R105), took my meal to R240 and I had to watch my fellow diners savour their desserts while I fiddled with unclaimed cutlery and tried to appear uninterested.

But, I did not regret my choice for one second. Deep fried curried baby calamari in crispy phyllo cup on an avo tower, finished with swirls of aioli, olive oil and squid ink sauce. That was my starter, it was as tasty as it sounds. The calamari was tender and light, the phyllo was thin and fun and the combination of aioli, olive oil and squid ink was so delicious that I used the complementary bread (which they bake themselves) to scoop up every last drop. If I had ordered from the bistro menu I would have had the Thin brie, candied onions and cranberry tart, served with goats cheese & vanilla panna cotta, tender baby mesclun leaves and finished with a pomegranate dressing. It sounds interesting but the diner to my right was not particularly impressed with his. R80 for that calamari starter was well worth it.

Grilled line fish served on a courgette ribbon salad with fresh lime and basil, finished with a lemongrass and galangal froth would have been my bistro option for main, not knowing what galangal froth could be was not the only reason I went for the a la carte option, check this out: Grilled line fish served on a spring onion mash, with a langoustine and Semillon bisque, finished with chives. It was awesome. The fish was prepared to perfection and the mash and langoustine bisque was sublime.

It was really a superb meal. The service was very good, attentive but not in your face. The wine list was a good size, offering several options per cultivar and at reasonable prices. There were several options below R100 and very few above R200.

I didn’t have dessert, if I had, I would have chosen the Scented Catalonian crème brulee (R41). In fact, I regret not ordering that. The bistro subscriber to my right ended his selection with the Sliced Chocolate and almond biscuit Yule log, served with toffee & vanilla sauce, finished with homemade ice cream and wasn’t particularly excited about it. Not that I was interested.

If The Food Barn wasn’t way past the Lentil Curtain, I would definitely be eating there again soon. Nevertheless, I will be back as soon as an opportunity presents itself.

The Food Barn
Noordhoek Farm Village
Tel: 021 789 1390
http://www.thefoodbarn.co.za/restaurant.html

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7 Responses

  1. Jan says:

    Can’t agree more; The Foodbarn is the quite Franckly the best restaurant in Cape Town.

  2. Bryan says:

    I have to agree. I have eaten there twice in the last couple of months and it is outstanding. I can’t wait to go back. I am not too sure about that diner to your right though! 🙂

  3. Pia says:

    I love that place… I took my mom there for a Mother’s Day type meal last year, and the food was delectable. So delectable was the dessert, in fact, that I felt compelled to lick the plate. Ahem. Anyway, I hope you get to go back soon and try the sweet stuff.

  4. Matt Mills says:

    Had valentines there las week…..I also had the calamari starter and was mesmorized by the taste sensation. Had the Fillet for main, Oh my , it was unbeleivable. Best meal I have ever had! Food barn now tips Bihari as my favourite restaurant. Get there, you wont regret it.

  5. Rene says:

    I booked this restaurant for my birthday last sunday as I was recommended it by a friend. I could not get through on the phone and when i eventually did they were full but could give me a table at 1430 which was a bit late. The lady said she would come back to me if she had a cancellation which she did and said we could dine at 12 or 1400 so we chose the 1400. We travelled a long way for lunch from Sea Point to Noordhoek and arrived at 1345 to be told by a waiter “oops we have just given your table to someone else- let me see what we can do.” So he pointed to a 2 seater at the door. The wind was howling – a strong s.easter and the door was being opened every second by a waiter, waiters were running passed the table as was an enormous dog. I told the waiter that it was my birthday and his comment to that was “nice try” so I asked if he would like to see my i.d. which I had on me and he then apologised and thought i was trying to get something out of them – i was – a decent table and continued to say that as it was my birthday and as i had chosen this restaurant in particular i didnt want to spoil it by sitting in front of a door which was being continually opened and that i had come all the way to enjoy a lovely meal and a lovely birthday. They offered me a table upstairs in the loft which was dark, dingy and claustrophobic. I asked why they had given my table away and then they asked a woman who i assume was the “maitre d” and she said that the people werent happy at the table she had given them and had asked to move. (She knew it was a special day for me) and so now she was putting us at the table they were’nt happy with. She said that was all she had even though the restaurant had about 6 open tables to which she added that other people would be sitting there. I said wasnt there something she could do and she said “no”. I was so taken aback by her dispicable attitude and disinterest that i said well we would have to leave then and go somewhere else and she said “fine” and continued on her way. I would never recommend this restaurant to anyone . I wonder how the owners would feel about her bad attitude. I am very well connected in the area and i dont think they will be happy knowing that i will not be recommending anyone to try this restaurant. There are plenty of restaurants with a nicer atmosphere charging a lot less than their R205 for a 3 course lunch that would be happy to have our business.

  6. reto says:

    This has to be the best restaurant food-wise in South Africa. I’ve been to La Colombe and the Tasting Room, but Franck’s food just blows me away. As a veggie I don’t get spoilt for choice often, but the wild mushroom roulade and the tomato risotto are honestly the tastiest things i have ever eaten. Long live the Food Barn.

  7. M says:

    We ate there last Thursday night. What a lovely evening! The service was excellent, such a pleasure these days. Waitress was attentive but not overbearing, and all the waiting staff seemed to get involved in making sure the different dishes came out on time.

    I had the five-course taster menu. Portions way too big for a taster, would’ve preferred much smaller portions (yes, I know, I could’ve left food on my place…).

    I think it was over-priced for the enjoyment, although not over-priced for the amount. The similar taster menu at Myoga is much better value @ R150. This was R250 or R300 (I forget, I wasn’t paying!).

    Tempera vegetables on a bed of avo with chilli sauce and garlic mayo was simply amazing! Not sure I saw it on the regular menu.

    The other veg items weren’t amazing (I am vegetarian, so I can’t speak for the meat). Artichoke risotto was a little tasteless, hardly found an artichoke in there, just a few rough pieces. Mushroom salad was tasty, but nothing compared to the temperu veg. Mushroom ravioli was very good, but too heavy for a starter.

    After the second course of mushrooms — the taster menu is a surprise menu, so you don’t know what you’re getting, but you can say what you don’t want — I asked for no more mushrooms. Why do people think vegetarians will be delighted with mushrooms in every dish?

    The dessert wasn’t great. A slice of coconut gelled pie, really unappealling. I was sure there was gelatine in it, but was assured there was none. I don’t know how it was made to be like a piece of gelled coconut. Anyway, it was tasteless and had no texture of coconut. The others loved their desserts, chocolatey, coffee items.

    Will definitely go back for the tempera vegetables (and normally I would never order those, restaurants usually never get it right). And the atmosphere, really lovely. And the big dog was gorgeous, a friendly lab, really love it when dogs are allowed in restaurants, shows a relaxed attitude.