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 this 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.