This is a whole review of The Quarter, although you can just read a quarter of the whole if you want to be half hearted.
Sorry about that, moving on swiftly then: I only got to eat at the Showroom a couple of times but did enjoy it and understood why Bruce Robertson has been so widely lauded. It’s a shame that it has closed and while I think that the Quarter is creative and interesting, it doesn’t show off Bruce’s talents as they deserve to be.
The Quarter serves only bunny chows. Unlike HQ (calling it Headquarter would only cause confusion at this point) which serves only one type of steak with one sauce, at Quarter there is a large selection of bunnies to choose from. The quarter (or kota) is apparently the correct term for a bunny chow. I lived in Durban, the home of bunny chow, for 6 years and have only ever heard it referred to as bunny chow. Be that as it may, at The Quarter, bunny chow has been taken to a whole new level and presented as ‘gourmet bunny chow’. I had one for dinner tonight and it is indeed gourmet.
Bruce is obviously into his sauces, like at The Showroom, you are encouraged to order a ‘topping’ (R10/R15) and a ‘sauce’ (R5/R10) with your bunny. The bunnies come in two sizes (quarter and half), hence the double pricing. What I didn’t know before I arrived was that only about 5 or 6 of the 19 available bunnies are actually curry. So if you are not a curry fan, you can still get in on the fun of eating your food out of a quarter loaf of white bread. Surprisingly the bread is not gourmet, in keeping with tradition, it’s stock standard government issue. You’ll even remember the unique taste from the days before you ate only 30% rye, low glycemic, life extending, vitamin enriched, high protein, additive free, mood enhancing, world saving, seed bread (a steal at only R20).
I was tempted to have a straight chicken curry bunny (R25) to see how they handle the basics, but then I thought if I’m going gourmet, I should go all the way (not because it rhymes, it was more a moment of inspiration thing – the decision, not the rhyming). So I ended up with a bunny bunny (rabbit done in cheese & mustard- R45) with Moroccan Humus (R10) and Chermoula (R5). I was interested in the ‘Brunch’ bunny (bacon & egg – R40) and wasn’t keen on splashing out on the Crayfish potjie bunny (R65). For the vegetarians, there are 5 vegetarian bunnies as well as several vegetarian sides to keep you happy.
I found it quite difficult to choose what to have I must admit. The staff are no help, they tell you that everything is designed to go with everything which I don’t believe for a second. There are 15 different toppings, including thai curry relish, cottage cheese, tapenade chutney, pap & biltong, etc. Then there are 15 sauces as well: Rocket & Pesto, harissa, gravy, anchovy mayonnaise, etc. I’m not the creative type, I hate having to choose toppings for my pizza and this is really the same thing. They need some recommendations or perhaps a chart showing the most popular combinations.
I was quite happy with my choice, the chermoula was great, but I couldn’t taste the humus, I think they might have forgotten it. The ‘welsh rabbit’ was fine but not the deep hearty flavour I was hoping for. I think I will try one of the more traditional curried options next time. Wine is available by the glass (R20), there seems to be quite a few options. I took my bunny away so didn’t spend much time in the modern space they have created.
I quite like what they are trying to do with The Quarter. Combining old with new, not just the bunny chow going gourmet, but they are also open till 2am so they are adding a modern, clean element to the traditional post razzle snack. No need to stop at Club Engén (goofball garage to some) or duck into Pickwicks, a gourmet bunny chow is the perfect alternative. They’ve kept the pricing quite reasonable as well, which should make it an easy decision.
One thing you need to be aware of: They don’t accept credit cards. Which, while being a little inconvenient, is fine. But really, they must put up a sign indicating as much because after investing 40mins in trying to choose my bunny, topping and sauce combination I’m going to be really annoyed when I have to go somewhere else because I don’t have cash on me.
44 Long Street, CBD
Tel: 021 424 1175