“LOKAL” in Baardskeerderbos only opens its doors now and then . . . actually, hardly ever . . .
One of the ways to describe things is to say what they are not. But that only works with simple things. When you say that something is a piece of furniture, and you say it’s not a chair, nor a cupboard, nor a sofa . . . and even the village idiot will come up with “table” before you can finish your sentence.
With a venue like LOKAL in Baardskeerdersbos (and yes we do have a village idiot), this can’t be done. No, it is not a restaurant. No, it is not a bar. No, it is not a lunchroom or coffee shop. And no, it is not a wine tasting venue. And nooooo (!) , you cannot just stop and visit.
So what is it ?
Let’s start with the garden.
There are more species of indigenous trees in the garden of LOKAL than you even knew existed. But you will be able to tell them apart from the abundant nut and fruit trees: peach, figs, nectarine, lemon, orange, macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecan nuts and pineapple. (No, . . . pineapples don’t grow on trees, yet there are rows of them in the garden of LOKAL, growing on top of knee high plants).
Amongst the trees, rows of straw- and other berries give way to rows of all kinds of heirloom vegetables.
The wind (there is always a bit of that in Baardskeerdersbos) whips up and spreads the smell of herbs through the whole magical garden of LOKAL.
And then there is the lush Poplar forest. Take one step into it and you are transported into another world: a quiet, peaceful haven where you can witness all the busy-ness of LOKAL without being seen.
The building, not small and not big (exactly the right size actually) is the prettiest thing ever erected in Baardskeerdersbos. Even the village idiot agrees!
The wind-sheltered stoep at the back has a long table for people who like to socialise at long tables. Inside, you’ll first see the open kitchen and a moment later, realise why LOKAL indeed eludes any common definition. If you describe LOKAL (“Lokal” is Afrikaans for room- sort of room that is - did you know that?) as a space where friends mingle, share and laugh, you are getting close, very close.
LOKAL is a Mingle-and-Laugh-Room.
But no, that still doesn’t fully cover it. Because there is also amazing food and delicious wine.
And there is The-larger-than-life-LOKAL-lady, who is in charge of making your belly full and happy. She gathers her produce from the garden and from the Baardskeerdersbos Valley: no pesticide drenched leaves, no meat you can eat as an alternative to antibiotics, or eggs from would-be (but oh so not) ‘organic free range chicken farms’. Not at LOKAL . . . of course not. Only fresh, local produce, prepared and cooked with care and love . . . not to mention magic.
And though she is a celebrated chef (one of the most loved in the Western Cape), we don’t call her that. Her name is Suzie and she is simply is our “Larger-than-life-lady”. Of all the places Suzie could work her magic, she has chosen LOKAL in Baardskeerdersbos.
The fact this isolated tiny spot in its own valley called Baardskeerderbos (which, like LOKAL, eludes definition as to what it actually is: not a village, not a hamlet, not a farm . . .but that’s a story for another time) is the place that Suzie fell in love with, plays a role of course.
So there we are: LOKAL is a Mingle-Laugh-Eat-and-Wine place . . .that’s wine, not whine! LOKAL is a happy place.
But being happy all the time is of course not possible, and so LOKAL is only open now and then. And when we say “now and then”, we actually mean “hardly ever”.
Oh, and of course walk-ins at LOKAL become walk-outs. Trust us, there will only be a mere second between the IN and the OUT if you have not made a reservation . . . except of course if you’re the Village Idiot!
Come and enjoy the undefinable, indescribable phenomena that is LOKAL. A wondrous garden, secret forest, beautiful space where food wine and friendship are shared.