Restaurant Review

Take your tastebuds on a Caribbean holiday at Kwéyòl in Cape Town

It's worth visiting this bar and eatery for the enticing rum punches alone, writes Kit Heathcock

18 April 2019 - 00:00 By KIT HEATHCOCK
Kwéyòl is the brainchild of model Mala Bryan; she mixes all the spice dishes for the eatery's dishes herself.
Kwéyòl is the brainchild of model Mala Bryan; she mixes all the spice dishes for the eatery's dishes herself.
Image: Supplied

Cape Town connects with the Caribbean at Kwéyòl, a new bar and eatery on Queen Victoria Street next to the Company’s Garden. It’s the dream of model Mala Bryan, who wanted to bring a taste of her St Lucia childhood to the Mother City that she now calls home.

“I never went to culinary school but I had the best teachers in the world– my grandmothers,” Mala tells us. “One was a street vendor and every weekend we sold grilled chicken by the roadside.” These are the meals she serves at Kwéyòl, wholesome home-cooked dishes, tasty street food, grassroots Caribbean flavours.

Mala enlisted the collaboration of experienced chef and restaurateur Giorgio Nava (95 Keerom and Carne), and has established a niche at his new Botanik Social House events venue. An old-school banking hall with high-vaulted ceilings and wooden panelling, the space is leafy with full-size trees in pots, bright cushions in booths, coloured lights, and a sound system playing calypso and reggae.

The enticing rum punches are worth visiting for alone. A bright tropical fruit punch with spices conjured up island vibes, and the signature Papa’s peanut punch could easily double as dessert, so smooth, creamy and, well, peanutty, with a kick of mellow rum.

Bar snacks to keep you going until dinner is served from 6.30pm might be spicy chicken wings, Jamaican patties, curried chickpeas, or shrimp skewers.

Kwéyòl is bringing Caribbean flair to Cape Town's Queen Victoria Street.
Kwéyòl is bringing Caribbean flair to Cape Town's Queen Victoria Street.
Image: Supplied

Mala stresses that what she’s offering at Kwéyòl is good home-cooking, mixing all her spice blends herself and channelling the island vibe with gently spiced curries, flame-grilled vegetables and slow-cooked stews. “Every Caribbean island prepares things differently,” she says. “In St Lucia we don’t cook with a lot of chili in the dish, but always provide the heat on the side.” 

Highlights were fire-grilled corn curried in coconut milk and tomato, the tangy garlic sauce served with tostones – twice-fried plantains, and succulent grilled jerk chicken. Then Mala’s favourite lamb neck brown stew, the meat falling off the bones, with a sparking-hot pineapple chili sauce on the side.

To finish, the home-made rum-and-raisin ice cream was a revelation, a warm hug of flavour from the mellow rum that conjures up the Caribbean spirit at Kwéyòl.



Image: Supplied

This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za


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