Category Archives: Noordhoek

Food Barn

Ayiee, it has been way too long, and my knuckles need rapping.

I took the crew to Noordhoek, to finally try the Foodbarn, which is done by that guy who did that thing (guy – Franck Dangereux*, thing = La Colombe). The idea is that it’s wonderful food in a comfortable environment, a little less pretentious than the high-food places but not compromising on quality. On the whole, they succeed beautifully and it was a lovely outing.

The setting is brilliant – I’d like to go back for lunch to have a better feel. The little farm village is quaint, there are few streetlights on the way there (almost missed that turn), and the barn itself (and it is a barn, very nicely converted) is beautifully decorated (I liked the fake-window mirrors, and spoons in windows. I think.). There is an upstairs area, where we were seated, up a very narrow staircase that gives credit to the waiters.

The service was great – chatty, informal, helpful and interesting. If a little too busy – the restaurant was full and sometimes it was difficult to find our waitress who did the whole upstairs area by herself. But she was very nice when found, and overall a good experience on the service.

The food is interesting. They have at least 2 menus – the a la carte and the Bistro (there is also a Degustation menu none of tried) . The Bistro is a set price menu with a number of courses for a fixed price (R185 for 3 courses if memory serves) which is a fantastic price. I had that, while everyone else had the a la carte. This created a strange discrepancy on the table – a lot of the Bistro dishes were almost exactly the same as the a la carte ones, but slightly smaller and lacking one or two ingredients (prawns, or truffles). They both worked, and I see the point of the smaller courses (I had room for desert), but I did feel like a poor cousin a little and would recommend everyone does one menu or the other together to avoid this subtle feeling of discrimination.

The food was excellent – I had:

Fresh fish tartare with lemon and chives, served on avo pulp with aioli, finished with minute fried curried calamari
Rack of  lamb roasted in a mustard and bread crust, served with a tomato and olive tart “Tatin” , finished with a rich garlic jus
and something for desert that I have unfortunately forgotten (or they’ve changed the menu since none of the options on the website look familiar).
The fish was wonderful, very fresh and interesting flavours. The “grown up” a la carte version had extra prawns, which weren’t necessary in my view, but I didn’t get to taste Eckie’s so may be wrong! The lamb was nice – the truffle version on the other menu was much better (Jess had that) and Steve’s steak was also nice, but in the end I felt there was too much “brown gravy” type of tastes in the mains and not enough distinctive flavours.
On the whole, I really like the place. Will definitely go back. Worth exploring the Bistro menu but don’t let others show you up with the a la carte. Lunch needs to be tried. On the negative side, a little too busy and while the flavours are lovely, I was missing that spark of genius that combines unexpected flavours into taste explosions (TM) – but that is setting the bar very high.
Atmosphere: 8/10 (would be 9/10 if it were slightly less busy/crowded)
Staff: 9/10 (intelligent, informed, friendly)
Service: 6/10 (lovely and friendly but need one or two more!)
Food: 8/10 (excellent)
Value for money: 9/10 for the bistro, 7/10 for the a la carte.

*Dangereux? really? Life’s not fair when other people have such awesome names.