The birth of a donkey complemented the opening of somewhere delicious – the restaurant Babel, on the restored and revived Baylonstoren werf (farmyard, usually enclosed by low walls). According to Hans Fransen, it’s one of the most perfectly proportioned, with its outbuildings forming a symmetrical forecourt alongside the manor house – a guiding principle in Cape farm layout.
The delight is that the gardens provide the fresh, tender offerings that tantalize your taste buds. The garden layout was inspired by the 17th century VOC Companys Garden, so that indigenous plants, herbs, fruits, veggies and resident scarecrow are intersected by walkways and pergolas which you just know will groan with climbing roses in time. All interspersed with a wandering menagerie of turkeys, geese, chickens – and donkeys. Very biodynamic. Dedicedly green. Utterly beguiling.
The renovated manor house and converted outbuildings that now offer accommodation are an artful combination of classical and contemporary – the best of both, handpicked by doyenne Karen Roos.
With some 150 hectares under vine and 55 under fruit, their focus is on export, while the veggie garden focus is on local consumption, seasonal delights and dew fresh delivery to your table, underpinning the innovative yet simple menu.
Open for wine tasting, lunches and tea time treats. Book!
Babylonstoren is a mere 45 minutes from Cape Town, in the Drakenstein Valley.