The last time i was at the Kilzers was for a super-dooper, fine dining experience called Cook & Look. That was far too long ago so when Jenny Kilzer, half of the wonderfully mad duo (the other being Albin), invited me to try out their Winter Long Table theme, i jumped at the opportunity. Goran, owner of Plett’s Spotlight Night Club, was in town so he tagged along with me.
Part of me resists writing about Kilzer’s Kitchen because it may be Knysna’s best kept secret. Not only because you have to navigate through a maze of roads on Knysna Heights but because half of the people i know have never heard of it. The latter is quite amazing since we’re a small town. Ironically, it’s extremely popular amongst the in-crowd so finding a parking in-between expensive cars can be an adventure by itself. Luckily, a house next door was empty and for sale so we cheekily snuck into its driveway.
I never knew what to expect this time but assumed that “winter long table” meant that i’d be eating with strangers. I was almost right because the 2 tables stretched across the room, alongside the fireplace. Unfortunately for us, they were already full 0f people boasting wine-induced giggles. We resigned ourselves to the deck outside. We needn’t have worried. Within 30-45 minutes, the outside area filled up. Although we never had a long table, ours could seat six so we soon found ourselves in a lovely chat to a couple we’d never met before.
Getting to know people was half the experience. The other was the food (of course) but what was even more impressive was how strong the Kilzer’s brand has become. The theme also meant that fine dining got replaced by a flea-market food stall vibe. You literally chose your food from placards on the wall and then inherited it on a polystyrene plate with complimentary plastic cutlery. Who else could do that and get away with selling it to the rich and with such style:) And at R50 per meal, that’s a more affordable than the R300 i spent last time. It’s worthwhile to have 2…so i did…and then Jenny wouldn’t take my money:)
So what did i enjoy? For my first plate, i had a half and half; traditional pork and bush pig casserole. Surprising, they were equally tender, something i hadn’t expected from the game portion. The accompanying starch was spätzle (the German noodle) – yummy. Goran went for the schnitzel which he polished off with gusto but not before i grabbed a mouthful – succulence again! We shared a vegetarian Thai Curry, cooked with green curry paste and coconut milk. It’s a decidedly non-South African dish whose mixture of sweetness and bite is a favourite of mine. A beer and more conversation later found me bloated like a…well…pig:)
We bid farewell to our fellow diners only to say hi to them again 5 minutes later because Jenny scolded me for not having pudding. I never asked her what it was exactly but certainly a lemon tart, the difference being a tender crust atop.
It’s very much about the experience as much as the food. Our night ended with a car (think it was Claire from Hello Gorgeous) glad to inherit our parking space.