Darling Brew & Foliage: A Village Idiot Sunday Collab
We ain’t sure whether it was the braai-smoke wafting over the balcony, the promise of delicious fire-food, or of a few crafty brews that got us walking off Loop street, but either way, it was Sunday in Cape Town and we were about to get stuck into The Village Idiot Braai Collab Series.
Oskar the ostrich (the real village idiot), was watching us from his perch behind the bar. On the balcony next to the braai is Chris Erasmus from Foliage Restaurant, a man who looks like he lives in the forest and loves living off the land, and that’s not far off. His team are no different, and it’s clear from all the tattoos and beards that these guys enjoy taking time and care with what they create – either that, or they make up the Franschhoek chapter of the Hippy Hell’s Angels. With big piles of foraged mushrooms, loaves of acorn and pine needle bread, and a grill full of low ‘n slow smoked spare ribs and brisket, it was shaping up to be one tasty afternoon. But first things first, beer.
Darling Brew head brewer Felix is pouring pints, and before we can say “Weskus-beskus” he fills our glasses with his newest beer, Blood Serpent. Since Darling Brew have built their own brewery, their beers just keep getting better, and holy-hoppy-happiness Batman, this beer is proof of that. This dry-hopped lager has depth in spades, with a spicy kick, and a serious feel-good factor – being that it’s Africa’s first carbon neutral beer. Barefoot hippies and daisies aside, carbon emissions from the brewing process are offset by contributions to the Kariba REDD+ Project in Zimbabwe. Would we like another? Don’t mind if we do.
It’s nearly chow time and we head inside. This place is a collection of the best SA has to offer; oak barrels, old books, leather, skulls, fire and booze that would make Ernest Hemingway feel right at home in the Great Karoo. The starters arrive, smoked Cassiudu chilli poppers with baba-ganoush. The chilli kick works a treat with the spicy bite in the Blood Serpent, with just the right amount of hop bitterness to make you want another sip, and another one, and another.
It takes no time for our crew to smash those, and just then a selection of main courses arrives. The reverent silence lasts about as long as my last sip of beer and soon it’s all hands on deck, and fingers grabbing ribs. More beer please.
It’s time for Darling’s Thunderbird IPA, a perfect match for the fall-off-the-bone, smoked spare ribs served with porcini, wild garlic and potato salad. There is something magical about the combination of a dark, meaty, caramelised crust, and sweet, smokey pork. Add to that a glass filled with serious dose of hops and a malty backbone – you can’t go wrong.
The second main option, low ‘n slow brisket, served on acorn and pine needle bread, with kimchee forest salad was close-your-eyes-and-you-are-in-the-forest stuff. Smokey, earthy flavours that just won’t quit, and yeah, there was only one beer for this. With it’s dark, roast, toasty flavours Black Mist is a blacker than black ale that’s a perfect companion to the epic, foraged, fire-food.
While the guys grabbed one for the road, the ladies got stuck into something sweet off the menu; mini-koeksisters with Amazi ice-cream. Wow! The deliciousness doesn’t quit, and we love it.
This is what Sunday-fundays are all about – a great concept, at an awesome spot, with chilled vibes, good people, delicious, local braai-chow and some of the best craft beer SA has to offer. Will we be back next week? You bet we will.
This Sunday sees Masala Café cooking up Bunny-Chows, and incredible craft beers will be from our mates at Woodstock Brewery. Beers and bunnies, these are a few of our favourite things. See you there…