I had it on very good authority from a reader of this blog who's opinion I have come to respect that The Kitchen in Woodstock was well worth a visit. Yesterday I stopped in for lunch and can honestly say it was one of the coolest and unique lunchtime venues I have had the pleasure of experiencing for a while....
Let's start with the decor. Imagine putting all the characters and colours of Alice in Wonderland into a blender and then taking the resulting mix and kind-of just throwing it around a room. That's the vibe at The Kitchen. But I mean that in a good way. From the customers to the awesome owner to the actual food itself the place is dripping with a vibrant energy that you can't buy or re-create. It's a special, intangible quality that some restaurants have and others don't.
The room itself is tiny and can only seat about 15 - 20 people at a time (not that it's a problem because you can be in and out in 15 minutes if you want). I took up a seat at a low counter with my back to the action. I soon found myself turning around every couple of minutes as I tried to actually take it all in. There are trinkets everywhere with a collection of retro crockery that looks as if it has been collected from HUNDREDS of garage sales. Some of the food is laid out for you to admire (I saw the most decadent-looking chocolate cake I have ever seen alongside apple streudels and ginger fudge), some is behind glass (beetroot salad, buckwheat salad, potato salad etc.) and...well...some of it is just kind of lying around. Like the mielies I almost knocked over. Somehow it all works beautifully.
The food itself has to be amongst some of the best-priced I have seen. You get to build your sandwich by choosing from a variety of artisanal rolls and fillings and finishing it off with some proper, homemade pestos, pickles, preserves and salads. I went with their famous grilled chicken on a 100% rye roll and built a side salad. My meal came to R35. Hey?!! How awesome is that. A wrap from Kauai costs more than that and believe me you cannot even compare the two. It would be like paying more for an ugly hooker except the cheap, hot hooker has a personality. Yeah...maybe that simile was a bit too hectic. But you get the point. Personality. X-Factor. That's what this place has. And as a result it falls into the Cheyne's and Superette category for me. Something a little bit different.
The Kitchen is run by Karen Dudley who is pretty awesome herself. You should check out her site at www.karendudley.co.za
If you don't you're a loser.