Kilzer’s Kitchen couple cook while you look
HAVING your cake and eating it is one thing, but at Kilzer’s Kitchen diners can also watch how it is made. This is one of the reasons the Knysna eatery has been topping the TripAdvisor rankings for years and has now been voted the best of 133 restaurants in the area.
“Getting to the number one spot is not usually something special as it comes down to diners’ votes, but what does make this extraordinary is when you consider that we only serve up to 70 diners once a week for six months of the year, compared to other restaurants that see hundreds pass through every single day,” owner Jenny Kilzer said.
Kilzer’s, based in Knysna Heights on the Garden Route, provides diners with a unique eating experience.
Every Wednesday, Jenny and her husband Albin – a qualified chef and butcher from Austria – welcome groups of up to 70 visitors into their kitchen as part of their “Cook & Look” evenings.
Upon arrival, guests receive appetisers to nibble on as well as a welcome drink before heading to the kitchen where starters and main courses are prepared in full view of the guests.
After the food is prepared, diners are served their meals at individual tables followed by dessert, coffee or tea and biscuits.
Everything edible is prepared in the Kilzers’ kitchen with the freshest local ingredients.
“We grow all our own herbs, so the lettuce used in your salad would have been picked just an hour or two before you get to enjoy it. We buy nothing in, even the biscuits we serve with our coffee are made by us,” Jenny said.
They also try, as far as possible, to source produce from local farmers and suppliers.
As most of their guests are foreign visitors, the cooking couple makes sure that their food has a South African flavour.
No meal is ever the same and every week there is a different menu.
“We don’t even make the same flavour ice-cream twice.”
The couple are no strangers to the kitchen, with Albin’s career as a chef stretching over 59 years, while Jenny has been cooking for 20 years. Both have been involved with Kilzer’s Kitchen for 15 years.
“We are both passionate about people, food and wine, and I think this comes through every time we cook for our guests,” Jenny said.
One of the reviews which saw Kilzer’s climb the TripAdvisor rankings was from a diner who felt the establishment was “a wonderful experience”.
“The food is truly worth travelling halfway round the earth for. Service is impeccable and the whole atmosphere is warm and very inviting,” the diner said.
“The menu was really exciting and all the dishes served were perfectly presented. It was an evening to remember in a magical setting.”
Another said: “I’m fairly widely travelled and I have never seen anything like Kilzer’s Kitchen.
“I’ve been visiting for years and have never had anything but delicious food.”
For the past three years, Trip Advisor has awarded Kilzer’s Kitchen its service excellence award.
Last year, Kilzer’s made it to the top three restaurants in the Sanlam Knysna Awards and has been nominated again this year.
The Kilzers also run a cooking school, cater for events and host various functions and tastings.