The Twankey Bar sits on the corner of Wale and Adderley streets, opposite the entrance to the Company’s Gardens and St George’s Cathedral. Twankey is a part of the Taj Hotel but operates as a stand-alone under the guidance of hospitality guru Jean-Yves Muller. The Twankey entrance is directly opposite the statue of Jan Smuts. Taj and Twankey occupy what was the Board of Executors Building. The Board was financial institution that began in 1838, looking after widows and orphans. There’s a bit of history on that corner, fitting for Twankey Bar, one of Cape Town’s finest places to spend some time.
A dinner invitation to Twankey Bar for a Highland Dinner came at a good time, a perfect way to spend one of the evenings between Whisky Live Soweto and Sandton. Indian food, Scotch whiskies, let’s see how this works, I thought. The plan was to pair whiskies from the Edrington Group range – The Macallan & Highland Park – with the food from Twankey Bar & the Taj, provider of arguably some the best upmarket Indian cuisine in the Cape.
I am happy to do anything with whisky, but when it comes to Indian food I’m a bit challenged. I enjoy the flavour, but not the heat. Indian food is not something I normally eat in polite company, preferring to enjoy that food in my home, with the air conditioner on full blast, aimed at my forehead. You get the picture. So I took along a mate of mine who has an interest in whisky going back a couple of months and an interest in Indian food going back about 50 years. He blends his own spices, bookshelves heaving under the weight of cookbooks, hours in the kitchen preparing curries and so on.
Ah, the whisky. One of the guests asked Candice Baker, Brand Ambassador for Edrington Portfolio, which includes The Macallan and Highland Park, where her office is. “Scotland”, she replied. She doesn’t have an office here but moves around the country informing, educating and sharing the products produced in Scotland. I’ve watched Candice’s career over the past few years and have attended many of her tastings. It’s such a pleasure to see the personal growth, from the early years at Bascule, to now, a true whisky expert.
So what did we have? On arrival, a whisky Mojito prepared with The Macallan Amber, part of the new 1824 range of NAS whiskies, with a canapé that I’d have been happy to nibble on the whole evening. Good spirits, good cocktails, and very refreshing, I’m sure I had two. Starter was grilled Salmon, paired with The Macallan Sienna; main a lamb curry with Highland Park 12 and dessert a yoghurt of sorts with The Macallan 18. I’m not going to give tasting notes and details, I didn’t have my notebook and I’d much prefer you, dear reader, to go try everything yourself. So the food is great, the whiskies, well, the HP 12 is a must in any whisky lover’s cabinet, The Macallan 18 is simply perfect and the Sienna – it’s growing on me. If you’re coming to Whisky Live in Sandton, speak to Gerry Tosh about Highland Park or Candice about The Macallan.
This evening showed me again that the technical aspects of food and drink have their place but should be secondary to the company at the table. Perhaps because the food and drinks were so good, we could, as dinner guests, focus on each other. It was an evening I enjoyed without tweeting every detail of the meal, just the pleasure of good food, good whisky and good company.
And it showed me, again, that there are many professionals in the hospitality industry, and thank goodness for them.
Call Twankey on 021 819 2000.