Tuesday, April 12, 2011
marianas at owls barn
'marianas at owls barn' is one of cape town's most treasured country restaurants - loved by locals, international visitors and critics alike. in a country cottage setting in the small overberg village of stanford, overlooking vegetable gardens, fruit trees and the mountains beyond, marianas offers discerning foodies an unpretentious taste of cape cuisine, with french and italian influences. furnished with mismatching vintage furniture, a light colour palette and minimalist decor, the interior feels like a serene backdrop to its people, food and the aromas of rosemary wafting from the kitchen.
receiving top ratings in the rossouw food guide, three years in a row, and winner of eat-outs 'best country kitchen' award, marianas is not only an experience in delicious cuisine, but a return to the practice of leisurely lunches. i've been enjoying mariana and peter esterhuizen's wonderful fare since they opened at owls barn around nine years ago, often visiting three times a weekend. i'm proud to boast that i've sampled almost all their food, from gruyere souffles and lamb shank, through to their humble chicken pies (stuffing my wicker basket full of muesli, bread, fresh vegetables, eggs, mayonnaise and biscotti from the deli at the same time).
a decade ago, marianas was my introduction to dining at a restaurant where the ingredients were sourced almost entirely from the garden. the beautiful kitchen garden produces herbs, vegetables and bulges at the seams with fruit trees such as guava, citrus, quince, fig and pomegranate. mariana has been bottling her own olives for many years and beamed with pride when she told me about receiving their first batch of locally pressed olive oil recently. mariana and peter's philosophy of sourcing ingredients as close to home as possible, is one of the elements that form part of the restaurant's kitchen sorcery; also benefiting local dairy farms, fisherman and suppliers in the overberg region. mariana and her helpers toil all week to produce food for the restaurant and deli. everything is made from scratch, from handmade pasta, to breads, sauces and pickles, infusing everything with the essence that makes the food so delicious. but above all, there is heart in everything that comes out of the kitchen at marianas, and you'll taste it in every morsel.
marianas at owls barn - 12 du toit street, stanford
opening hour - thursday to sunday, arrive from 12.
regretfully no children under the age of 10