We drive through Barrydale quite often en route to The Plus One’s parents, yet we’ve never stopped over to do as much as top up the tank or buy coke in a glass bottle, as Robertson is usually our stop over on Route 62. In December of last year we decided to break routine and stay the night.
I found Tradouw Guesthouse on top of Google search and assumed that they had some search engine optimization (SEO) was done to their website. But Leon knew nothing about SEO when I asked about it later, it was purely organic.
The word organic encompasses the rest of Tradouw perfectly. It is exactly what one expects from Karoo accommodation. Kapok hoendertjies running around, sitting on a stoep, a cosy bar where one can listen to local gossip and a room equipped with everything you really need, and it’s not a flat screen TV. (Oooh but a bath would have been nice).
The town basically goes on lockdown on Sunday nights. The only place we could find a hot plate of food was at the Barrydate Karoo Hotel. Not at a table of course, no that’s for people who have the sense to reserve a table in a one horse town. While waiting for the takeaway the Plus One found a few tables in the courtyard which they agreed to serve us at.
We ordered the rib eye steak special which came out in record time. The meat was prepared exactly the way we wanted it and the overall quality was adequate. Dessert was horrible. The Amarula crème brulee was lumpy and instead of a hard shell of caramelised sugar it had these sporadic flakes.
The service was good and I’m very grateful that they accommodated us outside. Our waiter recommended a Sauvignon blanc from Boplaas called Stoepsit, very appropriate for the situation. However I won’t recommend the hotel and as it’s basically the only place to eat on a Sunday evening rather plan your Barrydale overnighter Monday-Saturday.
After dinner we settled in as if we were the resident bar flies at Tradouw Guesthouse’s bar. At inland towns, we’ve discovered, that chatting to the locals are as important as an ocean facing room at a guesthouse down the coast. Even though Leon was the only local in the bar, as it’s only open to guests, he was more than enough to satisfy our thirst for local history, gossip and even some theatre discussions.
Breakfast the next morning, made by Leon’s husband Denis, was a simple fry up of eggs, bacon and toast with a side of fruit salad. I was almost disappointed at the lack of imagination but the quality of the food made up for this. The bacon was Woolies quality.
A former colleague’s parents are currently working on what will most likely become Barrydale’s main tourist attraction in the coming months. I have seen their house on the main street many times assuming it was a restaurant or something as people don’t cover their homes in a million vintage signs (the Plus One is very jealous). Their restaurant or something, Diesel & Crème, however is currently being built right next door, and what we’ve seen so far it’s shaping up to be quite remarkable.
We’ll be driving through Barrydale again this week, at a slightly slower speed of course to check up on the progress of Diesel & Crème and a quick scoop of gelato at Coco’s. Small Karoo towns are meant to be savoured, one scoop at a time.
Tradouw Guesthouse Barrydale
Contact: 028 572 1434
Address: 46 Van Riebeeck Street, Barrydale
Diesel & Crème
Address: Route 62 Barrydale
Contact: 028 572 1008
* Update: A few months after the opening we returned to Diesel & Crème and had the most amazing milkshakes.