KeenwaSetCape Town’s Peruvian connection 

Keenwä restaurant, at the beginning of the fanwalk in Cape Town’s buzzing CBD, serves great food in a fashionable yet comfortable environment. The menu is kept small in a bid to make every meal a knockout. From ceviche to tacu tacu and ribs Keenwä serves the best Peruvian recipes sometimes adapted slightly for the context and local taste.

Peruvian food is so much more than the hot new food trend. Apart  from being the sizzling new cuisine of the moment it is absolutely  delicious and super healthy.

Pisco Bar, upstairs from Keenwa, is a cocktail bar and party venue. Spoil yourself with the house cocktail, Peru’s famous Pisco Sour, and nibble on a tapas or two.



Tues-Friday lunch


Tues-Saturday dinner


... and a late late bar ...

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The Latest

  • Toastie and tasty

    MichelleCheeseGrillerWith all the fuss over the decision by a well-known sports scientist (starts with N, rhymes with blokes) to turn his back on a life’s work conspiring against carbohydrates, we are jumping on the bandwagon and expanding our sandwich menu.


    Chef Gift Mwatwaya

    To most people, making a sandwich is merely a process of assembly. However, when Gift, Keenwä’s chef, makes a sandwich, he cooks a meal and wraps it lovingly in bread. He only has to make us a sandwich to make us jump up and shout, ‘That’s it! Put this on the menu immediately!’

    We have added a couple of his delicious gourmet toasted sandwiches to our lunch menu:

    • Tostado de carne: Medium-rare beef, avocado and tomato toasted sandwich R55
    • Tostado tricolor: Basil, mozzarella, tomato toasted sandwich R30

    And just in case you know nothing at all … about this … Peruvians are no strangers to gourmet sandwiches. Their love for the simplest of them all, the Triple (pronounced tree-play), is almost cultish. These and other simple-yet-delicious meals are skilfully crafted from the best, freshest ingredients at Keenwä, Tuesday to Friday lunch 12.30 to 3pm. (Full menu and tapas available at lunchtime too)

    Lunch menu

    (V) Triple: White bread layered with avocado, tomato and egg R30

    Tostad Triple de Pollo: Triple sandwich layered with shredded chicken, mayo, avocado and egg R45

    Lomo Saltado wrap: Peruvian-style beef and red pepper stir-fry R55

    (V) Vegetarian wrap: Quinoa, mushroom, tomato, onion and red pepper R40

    o de carne: Medium-rare beef, avocado and tomato toasted sandwich R55

    Tostado tricolor: Basil, mozzarella, tomato toasted sandwich R30

    (V) Chef’s salad: A feast of the best ingredients … beans, greens, tomatoes, cheese,
    avocado… (changes daily) R45/R65



  • Ooh baby, it’s cold outside …


    It is freezing outside, the rain is coming at you from all sides, no amount of money could warm you right through … anyway payday is still a way off. To make it easier to drag yourself from the fireside we are offering 2-for-the-price-of-1 on all main courses, at lunchtime and dinner, on Wednesdays in July and August. Mention this offer and the cheaper of any two main courses is free.

    In addition to all the usual deliciousness at Keenwä we are now serving a selection of classic bar meals in Pisco. Steak and chips, macaroni cheese and other classic and comforting meals for those days when you don’t feel like anything too adventurous. As always, we buy the finest ingredients and make everything – from the burger patties to the mayonnaise – here ourselves. These meals are available in Pisco during the evenings and throughout the restaurant at lunchtimes (Tues-Fri 12.30-3pm).

    HawksmoorAn excellent companion to one of these great meals, a glass of Hawksmoor shiraz, is available at Keenwä and Pisco only. Wilhelm Defries for Hawksmoor (Paarl region) made just 8 barrels of this delicious vino. I hate to say it but it looks unlikely they will replicate the recipe next time. For a number of reasons (happenstance rather than design) the wine was left in old French and American oak barrels for 30 months, longer than anyone might think advisable.

    The result of this ‘happy mistake’ is an unusually round wine that seems to give a little something extra with every sip. It is not clear if any of this vintage, the 2011, will make it on to anyone else’s shelves but Hawksmoor’s owners, Mark and Simon, were persuaded to let us have 50 bottles before they headed to Europe for the northern summer or research … or something. Our 50 bottles are disappearing fast!

    Book a table on 021 4192633 or, if you like to live dangerously, just turn up at 50 Waterkant Street.

  • Upstairs at Pisco

    BarMenuIn addition to tapas, we are now serving classic bar meals at Pisco Bar, upstairs from Keenwa.

    We use the best ingredients and always assemble everything on site.

    Beef burger and chips R70

    Lamb burger and chips R80

    Fish and chips and coleslaw R60

    Macaroni cheese and salad R55

    Rump steak and chips R120

    Chef’s salad: A delicious, ever-changing daily plate of deliciousness combining all the best meat-free ingredients the chef can get his hands on (has been known to include lettuce, tomato, butternut, avocado, quinoa, cheese, beans, corn, peppers) R45

    Add a side salad (lettuce, tomato, avocado, red onion) to any of the dishes for R15

  • A feast for all the senses

    corset 2 fusia2

    Keenwa is collaborating once again with the delectable ladies of the Rouge Revue to bring you a feast of burlesque and food that will satisfy every kind of hunger.

    Lady Magnolia, principal dancer and choreographer, will make you gasp and blush as she uses old world elegance and charm to weave her web of magic.

    Drawing inspiration from the seedy underbelly of Old Hollywood and the debauched excess of pop culture, Marlene Dicktrick’s tasty treat of a performance will have you licking your lips for more …

    Cookie Von Tastee is as delectable as a chocolate fondant, as sweet and tart as a raspberry … tart, as silky as crème caramel and as delightful as a mouthful of popping candy.

    Don’t be fooled by her kittenish charm, Miss Penny Pinup will soon turn up the heat … the chef will not be the only one who is cooking tonight.

    Just as Dear Mrs Panda will whet your appetite taking you on a musical voyage through many an era and genre so will Jezzy Belle, the sauciest of sirens with the silken voice, satisfy your every craving.

    Burlesque2Tickets: R295 (includes a 2-course meal and a glass of wine). Booking essential 021 4192633

    Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 7:30pm.



  • Goooaaaaaal! = 2-4-1 tequila


    For the duration of the Football World Cup in Brazil every time the ball hits the back of the net Pisco Bar will sell 2 tequila shooters for the price of 1. It doesn’t matter who scores, for whom, or how many times … when the whistle blows the price of Jose Cuervo Silver drops by half.

    Pisco Bar, 50 Waterkant Street, a stone’s throw from the beginning of the fanwalk built to connect Cape Town’s CBD to the stadium for the World Cup 2010, is the perfect venue to watch Brazil 2014.

    Fans are welcome to drop in, or plan an event of their own at Pisco bar.

    Order tapas in the bar, or book a table at Keenwa (downstairs) for dinner before or after the game. Booking advisable, tel 021 4192633.

    Leopold7InviteOn Tuesday June 17 a tasting of Leopold7 (a sparkling, tasty champagne of a beer that will soon be brewed in South Africa) was held to mark Belgium’s first match of the World Cup (versus Algeria!).

    Pisco Bar was Cape Town’s own Little Brussels for the night. This event set the standard at Pisco with close to 100 Belgian fans colonising the bar and persuading the proprietors to open on their day off (Sunday) for the second Belgium game. See you there!

  • Those 3 magic words: Springfield Pinot Noir

    SpringfieldPinotNoirSpringfield is releasing a pinot noir. You heard it here first! Okay, go on, you might as well taste it here first too.

    Famous for not releasing their pinot (perhaps, like the Argentines, they keep the best of the best for themselves), Springfield is finally going to let us have some! On July 3 it will be served at a food and wine pairing at Keenwa.

    Why the previous vintages have not been released is not public knowledge, but this pinot fan was not even tempted to start asking probing questions lest they might upset the grape cart.

    It is very exciting to be doing a pairing with Springfield Estate, an old favourite of the house. We were determined to keep an open mind for our pairing lunch with Jeanette and Izak (representing Springfield), but feared that our relationship with certain of their wines represented an intolerable risk. In the interest of levelling the playing field, we asked Mark and Simon from Hawksmoor, a new favourite estate of the house, to join the Tasting Committee.

    We started with a smorgasbord of flavours, textures, colours and combinations from the incredible selection that is Peruvian cuisine. My new favourite quote about Peruvian food (forgive me if you have heard it before) is: If a Peruvian chef were to make three different dishes a day for a year he wouldn’t need to repeat one recipe.

    So on to the job of tasting and choosing from an already pared-down shortlist.

    We started with:

    3-way ceviche: Small portions of a selection of fish cured in citrus juice with different accompaniments, including chilli, avo and pineapple

    Pineapple tiradito: Slivers of raw white fish sprinkled with grated pineapple marinated in orange juice served with chilli and basil

    These were both strong starters (pun intended), but the ceviche paired with the crisp minerality of the Life From Stone 2013 screamed out as the perfect partnership. Still, none of us could quite turn our backs on the sweet orangey subtlety of the tiradito, so decided to make Gift, the chef, prove he was worthy of his name and somehow consolidate the tiradito into the 3-way.

    We also decided that we should serve it in such a way that the basil does not get pushed aside as if it were mere garnish because it is an unexpected star of this little show. Expect it to dance a little jig on the tongue with the Life From Stone.

    The Enrollado de quinoa: Cooked angelfish (or asparagus) with avocado and red pepper wrapped in jasmine rice and rolled in quinoa didn’t make the final cut. It is hard to put words to the exact reason. Maybe it was too heavy, perhaps too much of a lightweight for the exuberant fruitiness of the Special Cuvée 2013 … either way we went back to the drawing board.

    The Special Cuvée is surprisingly different from that diamond of a sauvignon blanc (Life From Stone), being much less flinty and way more full and fruity. We realised that after the obvious and almost-too-perfect 10 of the previous combination, the Special Cuvée called for a bit of ambition and risk-tasking. Rocotos, our version of a fabulous Peruvian creation, is very popular as a starter in Keenwa. We set it alongside the Special Cuvee and ^! bingo and hey presto !^ another star pairing was born.

    After a little tussle (although, unusually, consensus was achieved without the customary wine pairing arm-wrestle) we agreed to put this combo up front as a welcome drink and nibble. Whether serving a tapas-style nibble with the welcoming drink will make herding the crowd into seats easier or not remains be seen.

    So they will stand for the rocotos and sit for the ceviche … and [insert drum roll here please] we expect them to be floored by the mains.

    We had three to choose from:

    Sopa de Cangrejo: Crab, celery and carrot consommé/vegetable consommé

    Braised pork belly with pisco and orange zest glaze and sweet potato puree (we are still searching for a vegetarian alternative for pork belly)

    Chicken thighs and pastel de choclo (corn cakes) with a chilli, lime zest and pepperdew jam

    The crab consommé was given a full set of MMMmmm (culinary 10s), without exception or suggestion of even the slightest tweak. Bingo. And how perfectly matched it was with the Méthode Ancienne Chardonnay 2009, which is so full of delicious, expansive natural yeastiness.

    Then, just when we thought we might have peaked, the pork belly came along and danced with the 2010 Pinot Noir. Words don’t really work for this description … the best I can do is a selection of noises … mmm hm hmm Ummm hmmmm ahhhhh!

    By the time we got to the chicken thighs and corncakes with a chilli, lime zest and pepperdew jam we had disproved the mantra that there is no such thing as too much of a good thing.

    Each of the three parts of this dish was delicious,, but somehow it felt like we were going backwards after the pork ad the pinot. Each of us dreamed of squeezing a favourite component into another dish … in the end it was only the chilli, lime zest and pepperdew jam that survived.

    We were still trying to find a worthy partner for the Méthode Ancienne Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.

    ‘This calls for something meaty,’ said one. ‘The only way is up … beef fillet,’ murmured another. ‘Game,’ was the point of view of a third. We have a shortlist in our sights: warthog, beef, ostrich and venison. The chilli, lime zest and pepperdew jam will work with any of those. All that chatter about meatiness brought to mind another perfect companion for meat: our consistent crowd pleaser, Pesque de Quinoa, the risotto-style dish of quinoa and mushroom or spinach.

    One last sweet little chore remained: to choose between the sticky, luxurious sweetness of Machu Picchu chocolate coffee pots and the classic Peruvian Picarones (pumpkin and sweet potato donuts served with a honey glaze). The coffee pots may combine two of Peru’s famous exports, but the committee felt they could have come from anywhere, while Picarones are so specifically Peruvian. Typically sold on street corners of Lima, picarone translates as a cheeky, mischievous person. And these sticky treats certainly live up to that name.

    Springfield doesn’t have a sweet wine so Jeanette has offered to introduce her neighbour to the Keenwa crowd in the form of Weltevrede’s Ouma se Wyn, a white muskadel.

    The event will cost R550 per head. Early booking highly recommended on 021 4192633.



  • trEAT me right

    Aug 2014
    - 7 for 7.30pm -

    burlesque poster FOR WEBTickets: R295 (includes a 2-course meal and a glass of wine).

    Booking essential 021 4192633



  • Food and wine pairing with Groot Constantia

    Aug 2014
    - 7 for 7.30 -

    A glass of Constantia was one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s last wishes
    before he died in exile on St Helena

    More info soon

  • It is coming to Keenwa …

    Sep 2014
    - 7 for 7.30 -