There are many things that you remember as a child. But fewer still as an adult that truly make you think about your life, goals and future. This past weekend I was grateful to spend the weekend amongst friends, old and new, who are nearest and dearest to me for many reasons other than the fact that they are super people. I know, I know … this blog is supposed to be about our Mother City, not her refined grand old aunt out in the Styx. But with only just under two hours of picturesque motoring dappled with some Tuisnywerheid selling the yummiest of odds and sods that you didn’t think you needed until you tasted them and the company of Cape Town’s finest people it really is about the city. Well sort of.
So, it should be noted that I do love road trips and with that in mind mid-Friday afternoon with weekend travelling bag in hand we made our escape from the city in the typical bourgeoisie tradition of packing up everything and everyone sans kitchen sink and heading up the N2 for the weekend which was labelled as “snooze, movie and delish food laden” by our hostess. Greyton Village owes much of its appeal to the layout of a village which was designed and set out by J.G Reitz and the modern village hasn’t changed much in the centuries since it was established. Having been devastated in the 1950’s when the mixed race community was torn apart, the legacy of which still remains to this day, this old-world village is akin to a little English county where modernity and tradition live side by side.
It is a holiday town after all, however, the abundance of shops, restaurants and drinking spots outnumber Bree Str. did surprise me although our hostess did explain the system which the residents had managed to work out so that each laid claim to the migrant moneyed class that keeps a village like this alive and thriving when the locals (mostly IT specialists or artists) hibernate for the winter months.
With so much to do, we took the road most taken (uhm … excuse the poetic pun) with an early morning walk to the renowned farmers market early Saturday morning. Though our hostess was slightly disappointed with her much-anticipated pancake (with lemon curd or cinnamon fillings) and lemonade fix wasn’t met (apparently the regular purveyor was away that weekend!) we did manage to amble around giggling amongst ourselves at the #GlutenFree, #SugarFree, #WheatFree, #SugarFree, and basically #TasteFree food selections which had popped up.
Lucky for us, there were a number of stands that sold the some of the best bacon, feta and spinach quiches; chicken, beef and vegetarian samosas and bacon and cheese and pepper steak pies I’ve tasted in a long time. But sadly with our hostess not having eaten anything we headed off to her favourite little breakfast spot along the main road.
Via’s Deli is a charming place, though I’ve only eaten the Eggs Benedict there (on both breakfast outings), the scrambled eggs and mushroom, full English breakfast and bacon and cheese tramezzini all looked delicious and clean plates were sent back to the kitchen by some pretty fussy eaters. What’s nice about the place is that even your four-legged companions can join you for breakfast or lunch outside. Even noisy screaming babies seem to be welcome at Via’s.
For dinner, other than the night we had a delicious pasta dish with roasted balsamic and olive oil Rosa tomatoes tossed with cracked black pepper feta and pesto at home, we ventured out to Searles Trading Post.
Homemade food using locally sourced produce is at the heart of this restaurant and even though the décor is a little too schizophrenic for my minimalist tastes, the method in the madness just endears the restaurant to you even more than the fact that there were roaring fires in every room on a cold, overcast evening. True to their motto, which is proudly displayed overhead, it really is a way of life out here.
We decided to split the menu up in three – with the buffet being the starter, the main course being the rump and roasted veggies and the dessert being the zig zag pizza minus the anchovy. One of my friends doesn’t like the stuff. Between the lamb, seafood and lentil curries served with poppadum’s and mince curry samosas and steamed rice we pretty much stuffed ourselves full even though this was our starter portion of the meal.
The perfectly grilled rump, unfortunately, had a dollop of anchovy sauce ladled over it, but the friendly waitrons did manage to rustle up some pepper sauce which we managed to modify with even more cracked pepper and finely chopped chilli. This mishap aside, the zig zag pizza was just as yummy as everything else that managed to be eyeballed as it steamed past our table between smoke breaks outside and topping up our glasses with some Piper–Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage.
But just like the near perfect autumn weather, all good things must come to an end, and so we packed up all our clothes strewn all over the quaint cottage, packed up the hard-drive from which we gorged on movies and TV series throughout the weekend, packed up the logs of Namibian wood next to the fireplace and said our goodbyes to the sleepy, welcoming town of Greyton village grateful for the kind invitation to share this magic piece of real estate.