Pietermaritzburg has grown considerably in recent years – a by-product of which has been the arrival of a number of new eateries, café’s and restaurants. Quincy’s Café, however, is not one of them, having been established 13 years ago to meet a need for an upmarket café in the city.
Conveniently located in the Victoria Road shopping centre in Pietermaritzburg, Quincy’s quickly became a popular spot for locals wishing to enjoy a quality breakfast or lunch right on their own doorstep. A dinner menu was available, but it was set at a much lower key and it was not until 2001, following a change of ownership, that Quincy’s began to increase the emphasis on the dinner trade.
Word quickly spread of the shift in focus and soon the restaurant became a popular dinner venue for both locals and ‘out of Towner’s’. I hadn’t paid a visit to Quincy’s for quite some time so I was looking forward to a great eating experience when I popped in for dinner last Friday evening. Unfortunately, my experience didn’t turn out quite like I had envisioned.
Quincy’s menu is pretty comprehensive, boasting a variety of starter options such as Pan Fried Chicken Livers and Crispy Calamari Steak Strips (both R40) with main meal options including a selection of trammezini’s (all R66), fish and seafood dishes, salads and a number of chicken, meat and pasta dishes. A host of light meals are also available for the not so hungry, while those who enjoy more traditional fare, can take their pick from an array of sandwiches and burgers, including the Big Boy Burger (R69), containing bacon, egg, cheese, pickles and billed as a ‘real hunger buster’.
Not only is the restaurant’s menu comprehensive, it’s also welcomingly flexible. All items are available whenever the kitchen is open, so if you feel like a helping of steak, egg and chips or spare ribs at 7am after a late night out, or perhaps a Spanish omelette after movies and before bed, Quincy’s will accommodate you.
After mulling over the menu for quite some time, I decided I was in the mood for a chicken schnitzel. This traditional German dish has been a firm favourite of mine ever since I can remember. For me, there’s just something magical about consuming a tasty slice of meat coated in breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown, but on this occasion, I was disappointed with my choice.
My schnitzel was bland and virtually tasteless and even bathing it in a creamy mushroom sauce did little to improve the overall taste. The vegetables and chips that accompanied the schnitzel weren’t much better – palatable at best, forgettable at worst. At R65, my dish did not equate to value for money at all and, in fact, had I paid half the price I would still have been disappointed with the schnitzel – it was that bad. What a pity I didn’t choose the likes of the Beef and Guiness Pie (beef strips with mushroom, onion, potato and an assortment of other veggies bathed in a rich Guiness sauce, sealed in a crispy pie crust), a dish I’d relished in the past and one that I would more than likely have enjoyed again.
My companion for the evening, Cally (now a regular on my dinner and lunch reviews), ordered the Smoked Salmon Tagliatelli (R66) as her main course and, for the most part, was delighted with her selection, describing her eating experience as an “adventure of different flavours and aromas”. She did remark that the dish, which consisted of smoked salmon livers lightly sautéed in Martini Rosso with mushrooms, spring onion, lemon cream, basil oil and tossed with tagliatelle, was a bit on the oily side, but emphasised it by no means detracted from what was a great meal.
Lamenting what was obviously a poor choice of dish on the night, I consoled myself with a helping of ice cream and chocolate sauce (R13) which went a little way to easing my disappointment. Having no such need, Cally decided to skip dessert, although with temptations such as Crème Caramel, Tipsy Tart, Chocolate Overload and Peppermint Fridge Cake on offer, it must still have been difficult to do so.
So, with our meal a thing of the past, it was time to head back home and reflect on what had been two very contrasting culinary experiences. Oh well, at least I (and now you for that matter) know what not to order at Quincy’s – something I’m sure you’d appreciate considering the host of enticing dishes on offer.
Telephone: +27 (0)33 345 4339 or 345 4360
Cell: +27 (0)82 771 0673
Physical address: 16 Victoria Centre, 157 Victoria Road, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal