Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Keenwa. Taste of Peru

I love discovering new restaurants and cafes especially ones that offer something different from the usual steak or pasta dishes. I had recently heard of a new place called Keenwa which specialises in authentic Peruvian food.

When I heard about it I was down right excited to try Cape Town's first Peruvian restaurant. I just simply had to find it straight away.

Keenwa unfortunately only opened in January th
is year seeing them miss the hub and rush of the World Cup a real pity seeing as though they are positioned right in the middle of the fan walk on Waterkant Street.

Nevertheless this hasn't seen them fail to earn themselves a credible name in the restaurant business. With evening shifts busy and buzzing with hungry people the lunch time shift is a lot more quiet allowing for an intimate atmosphere and for one to absorb the names and different dishes on the menu.

The menu itself is relatively small seeing it offer about 10 starters and 10 mains each, with a selection of desserts and for the not so hungry folk various sandwiches. Though in my mind you cannot come to a Peruvian restaurant and order a sandwich so we opted for a fully fledged Peruvian main meal which never disappointed.

I ordered a dish called, "Filete Aguaymanto y Pesque de Quinoa". This dish was a choice of beef or Ostrich fillet accompanied with a gooseberry sauce on a bed of spinach Quinoa.

I was simply blown away by the presentation of this dish. The meal was served on a blue and brown ceramic plate, with the green Quinoa in the middle topped with the steak and some deep friend vegetable strips. The Gooseberry sauce was drizzled along the side of the plate with sprinkles of Parmesan on the other side.

The meat was cooked just to my liking of medium-rare with a succulent juicy taste to it. The Gooseberry sauce blew me away as it managed to maintain a fine balance of the sweet and sour of the berry, this complimented the steak and the spinach Quinoa perfectly.

On previous occasions I have been disappointed at how Quinoa has been cooked but the Spinach Quinoa in this dish was cooked to perfection as it had the fine taste of spinach with an undercurrent of Parmesan in it whilst maintaining the texture of a well cooked Risotto.

With each bite the dish kept on getting better and better as the flavours and textures worked so well together leaving this customer extremely satisfied and full.

The second dish called, Arroz Chaufa, that was ordered was a simple dish packed with powerful flavours. Arroz Chaufa is one of Peru's stable dishes of fried rice with chicken and beef. Simple but effective.

The dish arrived in a bowl with chopped pieces of Chicken and Beef along with cut up peppers whilst the fried rice provided a great balance of crunch and softness. It was packed full of flavour and a portion generous enough to allow for a starter or a dessert.

The meals were both scrumptious and satisfying whilst the service was excellent. The waiter attended to our every need and was able to answer all the questions our inquisitive minds were wondering about Peruvian cuisine.

I cannot wait to return to Keenwa and to tell all my friends about it as it was a real joy and pleasure to be able to eat something that is out of the ordinary. With the Latin American music playing in the background, the photo's of Peru on the wall and the authentic cuisine it was as if we had escaped to Lima for the day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ultimate X 2011

If you are fan of extreme sports then the V&A Waterfront is the place to be on Saturday 19 February where ABSA Life Extreme Presents the Ultimate X - Xtreme Games 2011. Ultimate X sees 16 of South Africa's best riders in each category invited to participate against each other for a cash prize of R40 000 as well as the title of Ultimate X South Africa.

At just 80 bucks a pop everyone is welcome to join in the a day of fun filled with tricks and shows by the riders, while there will be sports stores, bars and food stores also available to the public. While the will be a three band line-up that will kick-off at 6pm, seeing Ree Birth start off the proceedings followed by Psychedelic techno band P.H Fat. Taxi Violence will close the event with another brilliant performance.

Your all day pass also includes access to the after party at the Assembly. For more details access the Facebook event page here

is bound to be another brilliant event in Cape Town that is sure to bring in the crowds. Pictures of the event will follow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February Brings The Fun

The second month of the year is already upon us and this is when we are expected to have settled into our New Years resolutions, keep our main focus on work and family and let the partying slow down a bit. However; this will not be the case for South Africans as the month of love brings to our front doors several huge live acts and concerts that simply cannot be missed.

On the weekend of the 3rd through to the 6th Hippies, Campers and rock band lovers will be heading up to the Brede River for a four day long rock concert called Up The Creek. This event is one on of the first outdoor rock festivals of the year which will see three stages and live comedy acts take place. With artists such as Boo! Captain Stu, Jack Parow and The Rudamentals this concert is one that you cannot miss out on.

Nevertheless for those that don't like the outdoor experience Faithless will also be bringing in the crowds on Friday the 4th as they will be performing live at Grand West Casino. Cape Town be ready for some heavy dance tunes.

Though if that was not enough the following weekend Grand West Casino have the pleasure of bringing in yet another sell out crowd and this time it will be to German rock legends Ramstien. The masters of heavy metal, rock and electronic they are bound to make their huge South African following go insane to their hard beats. Prepare for crowd surfing, marsh-pitting and plenty of chaos.

Despite the rock and the dance concerts for the real nature loving hippies there are a few Trance festivals to go loose at too. On the 12th Beartrap are bringing down Celestial beings for some stomping under the stars whilst on the 26th Alien Safari presents Masked ball in what is guaranteed to be a colourful psy-affair.
Whatever you do this February be safe and have fun!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Must Stop Shop: Mooiberge

As mentioned in my previous article on Hillcrest, Stellenbosch is one of my favourite places to go out and spend the day tasting wine and indulging in fine tasting foods.

From central Cape Town there are two main ways in which one can enter into Stellenbosch and they are via the N1 or the N2. Depending which wine farm or place you are visiting it is sometimes easier to take one of these two routes.

When accessing Stellenbosch from the N2 side there is one particular little place I like to stop at called Mooiberge. Nestled in and amongst the magnificent wine farms, Mooiberge lies on the main road from Sommerset West.

Upon driving past the little farm one takes more notice and the large strawberry and the strangely colourful scarecrows that are one display. These art works fool the passers by into what this little gem actually possesses.

Traditionally known as a small Strawberry farm, Mooiberge allows visitors to go out and pick their own strawberries, while afterwards they can relax at the little cafe that serves tea and cake. Inside there is a shop that has the most amazing dried fruit products and preserves imaginable.

From dried banana chips, to strawberries; from date balls, to dried kiwis (yes kiwis and they are out of this word!!) Mooiberge has every form of dried fruit imaginable. They also have a wide selection of jams and preserves made from the fruit that can be seen in the shop.

It is a must-stop shop and on my outings to Franshoek or Stellenbosch I always make sure I save time for a quick detour to Mooiberge to stock up on some healthy dried fruit and jams.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hillcrest Berry Farm.

There is something quite magical about taking a day trip to the wine lands of Franshoek and Stellenbosch where the evergreen farms are surrounded by the mountains, with the animals roaming around the open fields.

Personally you can't get anything better than the wine lands of Franshoek and Stellenbosch; the picturesque landscape is aw inspiring, while the magnificent tastes of the different wines could lead any teetotaller to drink, and not to mention the fine cuisine that is produced is purely sensational.

Franshoek and 'Stellies'- as known to the locals- are famous for their fine-dining, award winning restaurants; seeing both towns blessed with famous Chefs such as David Higgs of Rust en Vrede and Margot Janse from The Tasting Room. While their food is aesthetically pleasing and sets alight all the human senses, there are other unknown smaller places that I like to try.

My favourite has to be Hillcrest Berry farm in Stellenbosch. Known for their famous berries and berry products such as jams, liqueurs and coulis; Hillcrest also has their own deli and farm shop.
With an outside terrace that over looks one the many mountains and valleys that the wine lands have to offer, the view is perfect for one looking to soak up the sun, scenery and enjoy good food.

With the weather gods blessing us with yet another perfect day in Cape Town there was no better option but to head to Hillcrest for a good, wholesome and healthy meal while admiring mother nature's landscapes.

What sets Hillcrest apart from the rest is their constant changing of the menu. Every week or so new ingredients are brought in and the menu is constantly adapted to the season and the availability of ingredients.

With a Chicken Cesar salad and a Goats cheese tart ordered, we sat back, soaked up the sun and admired the view.

The Cesar Salad was one generous portion with chicken, croutons, bacon, egg and Parmesan shavings topped with an anchovy Cesar dressing. The dish it self was full of flavour and the different textures of the delicate chicken and crunchy croutons complimented each other well.

My goats cheese tart was not a baked tart. The base was baked into a mini tart base and it was filled with rocket, warmed goat's cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, raspberry roasted onions topped with a freshly made pesto.

The tart was amazing as the colours and display of the tart was perfect while the flavours of each individual ingredient could be distinguished but complimented each other in such a way that made the dish one unit. The homemade pesto was fantastic as it was covered in oil, the garlic wasn't pungent and every now and then one would stumble across some crunchy pine nut pieces.

Both dishes were fresh and light; perfect for the hot summers day. Fourth time back and Hillcrest is yet to disappoint. A much highly recommended stop for anyone passing through Stellenbosch and Franshoek. They serve scrumptious breakfasts, light lunches and High tea, which is available all day.

Unfortunately no photo's were taken of the dishes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MMD Brings Out the Deviant Species

All I can is WOW. What a weekend, what a party, what awesome tracks. My mind is still honestly in a daze from the Trance party that saw MMD put on yet another mind blowing party with their featured DJs Deviant Species.

I wish I could honestly provide a full review on the actual event regarding the DJ's sets and beats but the party just seemed to whisp past so quickly with the drive to and from the event feeling like it was longer than the time spent at the actual party.

The party was hosted in it's usual spot just outside of Langebaan called Vlak Vark. The venue was amazing in itself as it was the perfect size to host an intimate trance party of no more than 1500 people. The parking and camping area was within 400 metres away from the decks and the dance floor with an amazing plunge, rock pool right next to it. Bamboo fields sounded the main area which left me feeling rather uneasy as I kept on remembering the movie Signs when waking past it.

We arrived at the venue come 9pm with clear skies above us and the sound of heavy psy beats drawing us in. With more Vodka to the Coca Cola in our bottles it was time to hit the dance floor where everyone was in their own zone, stomping away to the beats.

I do remember Dirty Motion at 2:30am bringing in some pumping tracks that got the dance floor going crazy. On the side of the dance floor several Fire Poi were working their magic in and amongst the beats and strobing lumo lights.

With the drinks running low once again we missioned for yet another top-up but we never made it back to the dance floor until sunrise as the fatigue took over our bodies.

There is something about the Sunday day session. Described as 'the playground' this is the time where everyone goes that little bit more crazy. With mud pits forming in front of the stage, people with water guns squirting each other, and a race to finish off all the remaining alcohol in the boots of the car takes place.

The acts that stood out for me where featured DJ's Deviant Species, Rubix Cube vs Lunar, and undoubtedly Super Evil who come close every time to stealing the limelight with their live act of James Copeland on the decks and Adriano Rodigues melting down the strings on his guitar.

These acts set the tone for an afternoon packed full of pure mayhem and debauchery.

I know I keep saying this with every passing festival but the weekend just keep on getting better and better. The Venue was awesome, the people so friendly and relaxed and the sets definitely a manipulation of the mind. Thank you MMD for an epic party.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

L'Ormarins Queen's Plate

Before I start this post, I would like to say a very big thank you to the gents from MyCityByNight who kindly provided me with a ticket and allowed me to tag along with them to the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate at Kenilworth Race course.

Last Sunday saw the 150 consecutive Queen's Plate event take place in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. The Queen's Plate is an annual horse racing event that provides the perfect excuse for the usual laid back, casual Cape Townians to dress up.

With the theme 'Timeless Elegance' Cape Town's finest gathered to the race course dressed to the nines in what was a strictly blue and white theme. With a fine array of Haute Couture, vintage cars and delectable cuisine it was time for the races, betting and of course the sampling of wines.

Upon arrival a free R20 betting voucher was given to each individual, so it was only natural to place at least one bet. We arrived in time to place our bets on the fourth race. Without looking at any odds or making any calculations myself and my 'date' chose two random numbers and hoped that Lady Luck would be on our side with a win and a place.

True to form the Old Lady brought in the luck with my horse 'Seal of Approval' winning and the gent's 'Silver Apple' coming in second. Our grand winnings altogether? Eighty one big ones.... time for our second bottle of wine!
As the races continued, the betting increased, the wine flowed, the people began to loosen up whilst enjoying the warm midday sun.

Various prizes were given throughout the afternoon for the best dressed and best hat. However paying attention to the prizes proved rather difficult, after having positioned ourselves in a prime position in the wine tent, with quite possibly our fourth bottle of wine having already been drunk.

After the main race live singers and bands came on to perform their part in the event but we did not linger long enough to see them as the stomachs were calling for a plate of dinner. Acts included Locnville, Gazelle, Crazy White Boy and Louise Carver and Zebra & Giraffe.

The Queen's Plate was a fun, fantastic and different way to spend a Saturday afternoon; being able to dress up, watch horses racing and drinking wine was an absolute delight and I had an absolute blast. Once again the biggest thank you to MyCityByNight and the gents.