Neatly nestled in a cute little corner at Cape Point is a crooked little shack made of windows with a uniquely simple purpose: to welcome passersby with a cup of hot tea and a scrumptious scone or two while giving visitors a taste of modest country living.
The Scone Shack emanates sincere hospitality. Made almost entirely from windows, it draws the outside world in and allows even the familiar farm animals to join its guests to share the same space. The entire premise is open for creatures and humans alike; you’ll find almost no fenced off areas that detain the roaming farm animals. Instead, the furry and feathered bodies mingle freely with the visitors, giving The Scone Shack a unique feel that sets it apart from the typical eateries you’ll find in the city centre.
Nearly 30 years ago, Karl Odendaal bought the farm that this memorable shack calls home while he was still acting as a chef on a motor yacht in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.
“At the time, the farm was covered in dense alien bush and over the years, I’ve been steadily clearing it. I’ve always lived off the grid and re-used, re-purposed and recycled materials, and my first house I built on the farm was a tree house,” said Odendaal.
In 2018 the Lalaphanzi Succulent Nursery opened on the same farm and the need for The Scone Shack was apparent as visitors needed replenishment after browsing for succulents. The nursery adds to the special atmosphere of The Scone Shack, since you first have to walk through the nursery before you get to the Shack, and the succulent garden immediately sets the tone for the visit: an experience deeply imbedded in nature and country life.
So where did the idea for scones originate from? Odendaal explained that he had always planned to open something there, but nothing as intense as a restaurant.
“I trained from the age of 13 under Ming Taylor at Almondbury restaurant in Lakeside and was always inspired by her take on desserts – offering simply and consistently delicious treats. As desserts are my favourite part of a meal and I often have it as the first course, I wanted to create a space where having a treat is the occasion,” said Odendaal. And what better star of the show than the simple, yet delectable scone!
The building that is now The Scone Shack used to be lived in by a labourer on the farm but when he left, Odendaal decided to remodel it and make a kitchen area. The unique “café of sorts” was created with sustainability in mind, building up the walls from scraps and repurposed window pieces, while ensuring the shack has its own source of electricity.
“My friend who is a carpenter had the old sash windows standing around in his garden, so I asked if I could take them and used them to create the conservatory. Everything is made from scraps of wood from around the farm and other repurposed materials. We are completely off the grid: solar power for the electrics and alien wood for the wood burning oven. The oven was designed by a late friend (Peter Rutherford) and we use it to bake everything. It takes some experience and skill to manage the temperature, but we’ve got it down to a fine art,” Odendaal added.
All of the scone baking is done in the one-of-a-kind wood burning oven and vegans as well as those with gluten allergies can also enjoy the spoils. Everything that is served with the scones is also made on the farm and patrons can purchase organic eggs from happy chickens that roam the grounds.
“We bake new batches of scones (both traditional and the vegan and gluten free options) as needed throughout the day. We make all the jams in a potjie on the fire with seasonal fruit and as little sugar as possible. The jams are only for sale from The Scone Shack, along with free range, organic eggs (our chickens roam free and feed themselves by foraging),” said Odendaal.
While visiting The Scone Shack, you’re sure to notice a few friendly animals making their way around the grounds. The pigs love belly scratches, and the chickens and ducks will linger by your feet hoping for a dropped crumb or two.
“We have ducks and geese too, and a family of miniature pigs who are happy little foragers too. We also have a superb band of farm dogs that love being the Meet And Greet team,” Odendaal shared.
The Shack’s scones come highly recommended by locals, which is no surprise as their recipe has been refined and perfected, but if you’re not a scone-lover, there are other delicious dessert options to look forward to as well.
“The scone recipes (including the vegan and gluten free options) are what we’ve worked on and tweaked until the results are scrumptious. We use only the best and most responsibly sourced ingredients. We serve the scones with butter, cream and the homemade jams (vegan scones with coconut cream); carrot cake with a lemon zest, cream cheese frosting; a Cape Brandy Pudding with cream or ice cream and a Pecan Pie with ice cream,” said Odendaal.
As the seasons change so does the menu. Since The Scone Shack is an experience in and of itself, no takeaways are on offer. This rule helps save waste on containers too. Simple and sustainable is The Scone Shack way, so expect to be doing your part for the environment while supporting this quaint café. Visiting customers are encouraged to interact with the environment and appreciate the nature around them.
“In summer, we’ll offer savoury scones with cheese and a preserve. Our juices are absolutely fresh as they are made to order. We also offer great coffee (plunger only – simple is how we do it), a large selection of teas, hot chocolate, chai latte, milkshakes and homemade iced tea. We don’t do takeaways as we don’t want to encourage new packaging and we re-use all our washing up water (containing bio-degradable dishwashing liquid) on the nursery plants. We encourage our customers to take off their shoes, have a little stroll or play on the swings and boats, and really take the time to enjoy the environment,” Odendaal concluded.
So next time you have the need to escape from the bustling city life, reconnect with nature and modest simplicity and visit The Scone Shack.
- Location: Lalaphanzi Farm, Plateau Rd, Cape Point Cape Town, Western Cape 7975
- Socials: SconeShack, @scone_shack
- Contact: 079 045 1318
Picture: @scone_shack / Instagram
Check out some things to do in Cape Town on Daddy’s Deals.