One of my favourite newly-discovered restaurants in Cape Town is the Quarter Kitchen Restaurant, located in The Portswood Hotel – a one minute walk from Cape Town’s famed Waterfront.
The restaurant is part of The Portswood Hotel and proudly pays homage to the city’s almost 400-year history by celebrating the Cape Malay cuisine so central to the city’s history. The restaurant is one of the Waterfront’s oldest, housed in a section of the original Breakwater Prison that was built in 1860 – some of the original features can still be seen.
For foreigners looking for a taste of local cuisine, look no further! And locals need not despair – every Wednesday there is a mouth-watering three-course curry buffet for only R175 a person. Unbeatable value, just make sure to arrive hungry. Book ahead to avoid dissappointment.
Free cookbook and Competition
As the lockdown has been extended until the end of April, I’m sure I’m not alone in my desire to visit some of my favourite restaurants. Until that happens we’ll continue to work through our tried and tested recipes and also exercise culinary creativity with some new ones. The Quarter Kitchen has decided to add a little spice to our lockdown experience:
Firstly, Chef Wade Kearns has made his full recipe book freely available for download to all past patrons and now also to those who are yet to visit his Waterfront restaurant! We thought this may be of interest to those looking for some inspiring content during lockdown. Get your copy here!
Secondly, in addition to the provision of the recipe book, Chef Wade is running a competition and would love to see some of his recipes come to life over social media. People are encouraged to use the #QuarterKitchen hashtag and tag the restaurant on Instagram at @QuarterKitchenRestaurant or Twitter at @ThePortswoodSA. At the end of the lockdown, he will choose a winner and reward them with dinner for two at the Quarter Kitchen. Time to get cooking!
My Interview with Chef Wade Kearns
Tell us a little bit about your journey to The Quarter Kitchen?
I trained at North link Hotel School Panorama Campus for three years, of which two years were a diploma in professional cookery and one year an advanced Patisserie diploma. During this course of studies I had a 18-month in-service training with six months spent at Asara Wine Estate, The Mount Nelson Hotel, and Encore Restaurant and Conference Centre respectively.
I started my career back at Asara Wine Estate where I worked for a further year to gain five-star experience as Commis Chef. Furrther positions included Lourensford Wine Estate, The Mount Nelson Hotel, INN on the Square Hotel Greenmarket Square. I finally moved to The Commodore hotel where I worked three years as a sous chef until receiving a promotion as Head Chef to their sister Portswood Hotel, a position I’ve now held for two years.
How did your love for Cape Malay cuisine develop?
My love for Cape Malay started as a young boy coming from the Cape culture of cooking and traditions; it was quite easy to fall into the Cape Malay cuisine learning from the way my family cooks and seeing how they did things and traditions. When I started at The Portswood these dishes and spices just came back to me as memories and I could put all that history back into my menus I created.
Which is your favourite of the curries in the curry buffet and why?
My favourite curry dish will be the Pienang curry, the name “Penang curry” comes from the Malaysia but was localised by the Cape Malay people as Pienang curry (change of spelling in the name). It’s a dish consisting of meat and an aromatic sauce, it is my favourite because in the Cape culture it is a delicacy to eat lamb – a that would only be served on special occasions.
What do you think is unique about the Quarter Kitchen?
Quarter Kitchen has had a small family of chefs working there for years and they come way back with the Cape Malay culture. It’s a distinctly cosy feel when you sit in the restaurant with warm hearty food made with love and service staff treating the guest like family. I see it as a unique place where memories are made – and of course particularly on special occasions such as Christmas lunch, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, honeymoons and anniversary celebrations.
How did you develop your Malay recipes?
The recipes that I developed in the book was inspired by my youth and culture. They are always craving special things like samosa’s and curries. The recipes I’ve developed and feature in the book are the most craved and most popular dishes for Cape Malay. Stay tuned for a new recipe book that will launch in 2020.
Visit the Quarter Kitchen Restaurant in Cape Town’s Waterfront for an unforgettable fusion of history, heritage, and Cape Cuisine.