Llamas Love Keenwa

In the heart of Cape Town’s CBD in a beautifully restored Victorian building lies South Africa’s first Peruvian restaurant and the key to the correct pronunciation of ‘quinoa’. The Photog heard about Keenwa and I was very keen wa (ha ha) to try it. I’ll always try something once, even tripe (but never again).

Luckily it was a delicious exploration. And the interior is filled with photos of Peru and llamas (another animal favourite of mine). The service is great too and our Colombian waiter helped us navigate a totally unfamiliar menu to be able to get an in-depth taste of Peruvian food. It’s very interesting as the owner was telling us that Peru is influenced by many different cultures in their cooking such as Spanish, Asian and even Middle Eastern.

We had a great starter platter with the definite highlight being the squid cooked in olives and the Cerviche, which is hailed as a sort of national dish. It was incredibly refreshing and I couldn’t get enough of the sauce. Mains were equally yummy with some of the best short ribs I’ve ever had and the Photog tried quinoa, which was another first. At this point our waiter must have divined we were full to bursting because he very kindly brought us two shots of Pisco Sours on the house. He said it was a good digestif similar to grappa but is made from the whole grape, rather than just the pips. It certainly smelled like it could digest my food in rapid time. But the llama told us it would be good for us so we finished our fiery shots.

Despite our Pisco we could not find room for dessert, which was a pity as they had some of the most interesting sounding desserts I’ve ever seen. We promised our waiter we would come back and start with dessert first next time. When the bill came it was a bit steep, the culprit was the starter platter. However they do have good lunchtime specials during the week so I’m definitely going to try that.
And if you’re not too full after dinner or boring like us there is a very trendy bar attached to the restaurant called the P.I.S.C.O. bar. It serves Pisco sours cocktails and Peruvian tapas and looks to be a good place to have a few drinks and socialise with some pretty Cape Town people.

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