The Lovely Princess Gwen and I were excited to hear about an interesting South African restaurant in Black Mountain called BUSH FARMHOUSE. Actually, Gwen was excited. I was fearful. You see, we once went to Italy. I’ll explain.

      Before our Italian adventure we both learned a little of the language. Gwen hit the phrase book harder than I, but I did pick up a few essentials like “Where is the men’s room?” “What is this insect on my arm?” and “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.” That expertise in hand, we flew to Rome and began doing what one does in Italy, which is view hundreds of paintings of The Virgin Mary, and then every three hours break to eat. Fortunately, there are almost as many restaurants in Italy as crazed Moped riders, so maintaining an eleven-meal-per-day regimen is quite easy.

     So, we were often in one those restaurants, and invariably, and by invariably I mean every damn time, The Princess would order her meal in what sounded to me like perfect Italian and the waiter would nod and, in nearly as perfect English, say “Wonderful choice, Lady with the Magnificent Eyes.” Then he would turn my menu right-side-up, and I would order, and he would shake his head sadly and, having suddenly lost his grasp of English, mumble something which I learned on our return home translates roughly as “What a moron”. Fortunately, I like sardines, because I did perfect the Italian for the popular dish “Sardines and Onions”, which I ordered consistently after learning a technique for scraping off the onions. I remain, however, the only person to return from Italy having lost weight.

     Thus, my apprehension regarding a South African restaurant – especially one which I heard had a zoo attached. I mean, I appreciate a martini mixed with the aroma of Yak as much as the next guy, but…

      It turns out I needn’t have feared. Yes, there was a small gathering of animals, but it included only two very fat pigs and a donkey none of which smelled, and we both like donkeys. Also, the place is a real kick – very unique by Western North Carolina standards, and, I assume, other standards outside South Africa. We dined alfresco in the “farmyard” which included not only the aforementioned donkey, but a very nice vegetable garden and a two-piece band which played what I assume was South African themed music, but which also had a lovely Caribbean sound. In fact, had I been dropped into the place, I might have thought I was in Key West. It’s that kind of casual-funky.

    And, get this, I understood the menu. It started with the words “Sawubona-Welkom”, which I was almost sure meant “Welcome”, and included other entries such as “Mains”, “Sides” and “Samies”. Okay, I don’t have a clue what “Samies” is/are, but let me just say that The Princess enjoyed a very delicious Curry, and I had an equally nice (and very traditional) Chicken Pot Pie. I watched our fellow diners enjoying everything from huge burgers to spare ribs and Chakalaka and Umngqhushu. I’m not kidding about those last two, and I’m not sure I saw them, but they’re on the menu.

     So, Gwen and I had a very nice time, and I spoke only English. The BUSH FARMHOUSE is located at 151 Ridgeway, Black Mountain. They accept reservations (828) 357-5367 and walk-ins. We suggest you pick a day with nice weather, so that you can sit outside. And please say hi to the donkey – in whatever language you choose.

When not eating, k.c.friese wrote for a number of television shows and authored the novel STATE OF DISARRAY, which is available via Amazon. Got a suggestion for a restaurant review? E-mail editor@mountainbreeze.online.

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