(A good a mantra as any to live by - as seen on the walls of The Foodbarn Restaurant)
This time last week, (Voting Day), I met up with my friends Jilly, and Stephie. For a Girls's Night. Ostensibly also our version of a book club, except that we're more likely to talk about Sex and Sauvignon Blanc rather than Sense and Sensibility. I got to know them when we worked together in Cape Town in our early 20s and we all ended up in London in our late 20s. Stephie was (and still is) happily married. And Jilly and I were mostly single, although she had infinitely more fun than I did, but I lived vicariously through her many romantic adventures. She is the funniest (self-deprecating) story teller I know. Her razer sharp wit and fragile features make up a wonderfully delightful package. And she's single, (but by no means desperate), so if you know of (or are someone) worthy of her, you can contact me. But know that we may giggle at your application (if it's weird) as we did at the Time Out personal ads during those grey wet Fulham winters.
So Jilly is, as I may have mentioned, wonderfully fabulous. She does, however, have one fault. She is, sadly, rather puritanical when it comes to butter and cream.
Steph and I both saw her wince at the liberal way in which Franck Dangereux's uses both during his Wednesday night cooking demonstrations at The Foodbarn Restaurant which is where we spent the evening enjoying one another's company and the Steenberg Menu which is part of the winter special offered by The Foodbarn. I went al la carte, because I am a creature of habit and wanted the deep fried curried baby calamari served in a phyllo cop on top of an avo tower finished with aioli, olive oil and soy sauce, which I always have and which is incredibly rich and delicious. But having seen what Steph and Jill were having, I realised I should have gone with the Steenberg Menu, but I'll do that next time, because the calamari and prawn gratin with chervil cream, as demonstrated by Franck earlier in the evening was sublime and I really wanted to taste the lemon panna cotta and thyme meringue with berry sauce for dessert.
For those of you who may not know, Franck is the award-winning chef who once made diners at La Colombe so happy. And who is now thrilling diners at The Foodbarn in Noordhoek. At a fraction of the price. The Foodbarn is a stylishly simple venue where children (with gourmet tastes), pets (relatively well-behaved) and casual attire are welcome. It's a wonderful place offering some of the finest food in Cape Town, ok, it's in Noordhoek, but well worth the schlepp out there, even in the dark.
The Man, the Dog and I usually go there for weekend lunches (if we've remembered to book, do book, it's popular), and treat ourselves a beautiful lunch after having walked Max on Noordhoek beach. But the last time we did this, Max stole the bread off the table. Thankfully we were sitting outside, and only a few people noticed. 'It's very good bread', I tried to excuse his bad behaviour rather pathetically, before vowing that his fine dining days, unlike mine, were over.
So what you must know about The Foodbarn is this:
1. You simply have to go.
2. Franck gives great cooking demonstrations on Wednesday evenings during the winter months from 6.30pm to about 7.30 pm. It's all very professional, interesting and amusing. And the wine supplied rather nice way to start the night. There is no charge, but you are expected to stay for dinner. Which really is no hardship. And any case why would you want to watch the master at work, and then not partake of his food?
3. The Winter specials they're offering are insane. During the months of May, June and July you can enjoy the Steenberg Menu which is a set menu (with options) paired with various Steenberg wines. Pricing goes like this:
3 courses paired with 2 Steenberg wines for R165
4 courses paired with 3 Steenberg wines for R185
5 courses paired with 4 Steenberg wines for R215
4. During the semi-winter months August, September and October there will be a Ntida Menu. Which of course I will be trying out, and I'll let you know about that then.
5. The Steenberg Menu (and I assume that it will be the same for the Ntida Menu) is not available on Sundays
The Foodbarn Restaurant and Deli (and yes the deli across the green is great if you're looking to go even more casual, but I'm always lured by the restaurant)
Noordhoek Farm Village
Telephone: 021 789 1390
Lunch: Monday to Sunday 12 - 3pm
Dinner: Tuesdays to Saturday 7-9.30pm