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  1. Expert Review

    4.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Sep 2015 · jkennedy

    The first thing you’ll notice about Quills is the lovely interior. There are hundreds of porcupine quills hanging from the...

    The first thing you’ll notice about Quills is the lovely interior. There are hundreds of porcupine quills hanging from the ceiling, white African masks covering an entire wall, and ostrich eggs in enclosed glass tubes lining up to the sky. The tables are covered in white table cloths with nice tableware, and the rest of the design gives it a grand feel. If you’re near the airport and need fine dining, it won’t get any better than here. Fortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at the restaurant.

    For breakfast, there is a buffet with juices, lox, pastries, fruits, jams, biscuits, cold cuts, cereal, yogurt and much more. It’s beautifully arranged into a cornucopia of food overflowing with delicacies. There’s also a separate menu where you can order everything from eggs benedict to filet mignon, along with a la carte items from the buffet. The eggs benedict are decent, but the omelette is much better. To me, the buffet options are a bit more enjoyable than what can be ordered off the menu.

    However, breakfast was a much better experience than lunch. During our meal, we had a third party join us before catching her flight at the airport. Two people in our party wanted to order something healthy and light and saw a “salad” selection on the menu and both ordered the salmon salad. When it finally arrived, it was disappointingly small and wasn’t a salad at all (no bigger than a fist). We asked if this was supposed to the actual size and if this was a main dish. The waiter then explained that it wasn’t a main dish but an appetizer. The restaurant’s manager also came out to explain us the same thing. However, there’s nothing on the menu that indicates that is a starter or appetizer, and at R120 is priced higher than many of the mains. The “salad” was literally five bites. We noted to the staff that they should have said something about it when that was all we ordered, and make note of it on the menu. Usually if this happens on an order, the waiter will tell you something, but that wasn’t the case. I happened to luck out and get actual main entree meal, for the same price no less, going for the Cape Malay chicken curry. It was tasty and large, came with poppadoms and rice, but wasn’t exactly spectacular. The portion dwarfed the orders of the two other people in my party, so I ended up sharing quite a bit.

    Dinner was better, but had some hit and misses. We had an appetizer of spicy chicken and chakalaka, which was delicious and came with stuffed chicken, a butternut and chili sauce and curry chutney. For dinner, we had the seafood pasta along with the biltong spiced beef filet. This is where the hit and miss comes in. The pasta was pretty disappointing and only had five or six pieces of seafood in it, was rather bland, and had way too much pasta. The sauce was also kind of runny, didn’t stick to the pasta and ended up splashing everywhere. However, the biltong filet was a perfect African touch on a steak, cooked to perfection, and the encrusted biltong made the outside crunchy while the inside melted in my mouth like butter. As for dessert, it was one of the most creative I’ve ever had. It came with a pistachio goat cheese, along with fruit and pistachio ice cream. The plating was also exquisite — that goes for the rest of the dishes, too.

    Service was excellent throughout the meal and prompt, and several people came to check on us throughout dinner. Dining at night seems to be a slightly more upscale experience over the breakfast and lunch options. This restaurant definitely has several outstanding dishes in its repertoire, but could maybe stick to fewer options and keep a more limited, yet phenomenal menu.

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