Heading off blindly onto a wine route has its pros and cons

Looking forward to the prospect of a wineland lunch we headed out to the little De Meye winery in the back-end of Stellenbosch where we’d heard there was a good table offering comfort food for hungry souls. We were in adventurous mood, but hadn’t factored in the roadworks along the R101 (darn stop-go system) and then arrived at ‘The Table’ to find the restaurant closed… The first couple of pages of the website make no reference to ‘weekends only’, but the business hours are there for all to see on page three. If only we’d looked properly before heading out. The place looked homely enough and the chap suggesting where else we might munch was a friendly bloke…

The Table at De Meye

Next stop was up the road at Marianne Wine Estate. The Olivello restaurant was open but we would have been the only guests, with staff buzzing around preparing the room for a function scheduled for the following day. Can’t say I’d rush back unless I was in large group: the place had the feel of a hall at the bottom of the garden which the guesthouse owners rent out for weddings and parties. Again, we had only ourselves to blame.

Back in the car, we headed east to Babylonstoren, a newly rennovated Cape Dutch property in the foothills of Simonsberg-Paarl. We’d been told about the award-winning restaurant ‘Babel’, but didn’t even get to see it… The time was after 1pm, we were hungry and frustrated, and on arriving at the front gate that’s pretty much all you see – a huge metal gate, a gravel road, a sentry hut and a man wearing brown overalls. Again we hadn’t done our research, didn’t know what to expect, and when the guard wanted us to sign his clip-board and pay for the privilege of driving on to explore what was around the bend, we did a u-turn and headed for Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. Surely there we’d get lucky without having to have our fingerprints taken or retinas scanned…

Babel, Babylonstoren

Where did we go eventually? The Big Easy Wine Bar & Grill! Wonderful couple of hours of wining and dining near a fireplace in the company of plenty of people having fun. A story in itself.