There is a large beautiful building on Queen Victoria Road that’s been under-utilised for far too long, but hopefully that will all change now with the creation of the Botanik Social House. True to its name, it’s meant to be social spot, featuring bars, private rooms for parties, and a restaurant, all with a botanical feel. Indeed, when you enter the main space, it feels a little like stepping into a jungle, with green lighting enhancing the botanical ambiance. It is here that you’ll also find Kweyol, the Afro-Caribbean diner that calls this spot home.
Kweyol, created by Caribbean model Mala Bryan, aims to give Cape Town a first true taste of Caribbean food. Sure, there are some twists here and there, but most of the recipes have been passed down from Mala’s family to find their way into the Kweyol kitchen. Mala herself is the one creating the magic, and her passion in sharing her culture as well as her recipes can be experienced in every bite of her food.
The Kweyol Space
I joined Kweyol for a media dinner a little while ago, and I was thoroughly impressed. Sure, there are some mismatches in the space that a few of the media present commented on. The building is chic and upper class. The food is simple and homely. I, however, quite enjoyed the setting, and I loved the feeling of having a simple meal in a fancy place. And I think it’ll work really well on a busy night out with people grabbing food before heading back to the bar or other hang-out areas.
Food-wise, yum. I loved eating Caribbean-inspired food back when I lived in the US, and I was only too ecstatic to be able to try it again. And none of the meals disappointed. Granted, the lighting may be great for ambiance, but it’s terrible for pictures. I tried to make do as best I could until one of the lovely waiters showed me to a back room where I could take semi-decent pictures. So you won’t get to see the terrible ones coz, well, no food looks good if it has a green tinge and I wouldn’t want to expose you to that.
But it all was delicious. For starters we had three courses. First up, Kachumbari, a seasoned tomato and onion salad (R58). Next, Curried Corn, which is basically grilled corn in a coconut milk, tomato, and curry sauce (R48). Last on this list, the Tostones, twice-fried plantains served with a garlic sauce (R48).
The Mains That Rocked My World
Mains were equally delicious. Here we had the Grilled Jerk Chicken, served with rice, beans, steamed carrots, and cabbage (R95). This was followed by the highlight of my evening, the Brown-Stewed Lamb Neck, served with rice and stewed red beans (R95). The lamb was soooooo soft and juicy. While everything was delicious, this is the dish I’d order if – when – I go back!
The portions you’re seeing on the pictures are taster portions only, and the actual portions are quite a bit larger. Match that to the prices and you’ll see why I’m so ecstatic. The world has given me a place where I can enjoy an utterly delicious lamb stew for only R95, and that makes my foodie heart very, very happy.
Dessert With A Punch
There was dessert too, and we got to enjoy a homemade Rum & Raisin Ice Cream (R55), which is made with real rum, and is absolutely delicious. There was also a vegan Pineapple Sorbet (R55), which I thought was fantastic.
All in all, I loved Kweyol. I loved the simplicity of the food, and the love and care it is prepared with. I loved the service and how friendly everyone was. But, most of all, I loved meeting Mala and hearing her story. Her passion is infectious, and I hope everyone who dines here will have the chance to say hello to her. I’ll most certainly be back.
Address: 54 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens
Call:+27 21 424 5306
*Photo courtesy of Kweyol.
Article Date: March 2019
MISSED OUR LAST ARTICLE? IT’S A VEGAN TEMPURA MUSHROOM RECIPE.
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