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Le Quay to post-work unwinding

By: Tanja Wessels Posted: November-17-2009 in
Prosecco and cocktail love for the work weary
Tanja Wessels

There were a few suggestions for this week’s piece; one of them involved needles, my face and the word ‘botox’. Another involved fish and being nibbled in a spa-like environment in the name of exfoliation. And neither of them elicited any response from me. Not of the verbal kind anyway.

There had to be a more seductive activity to offer the fellow inhabitants of this city, and one that didn’t involve pumping toxins into your body through a needle or having anything removed via the mouth of a fish. Something where we are the ones doing the ingesting, in an attractive atmosphere that is conducive to easing away the daily existential hiccups after a day at work.

There is certainly never a lack of bars and restaurants anywhere, but the ritual of a post-work drink has received some bad press over the years. I find it difficult to say the words ‘happy hour’ in a completely comfortable, convincing way and pretend that images of awful signage and bowls of peanuts don’t dance around in my head when doing so. Of course the concept, per say, is rather inspired- get more of what you want for less, however, there are certain memories that are hard to erase. I’m thinking of people dressed as Mexicans walking around offering tequila shots, I’m thinking beer mugs the size of water dispensers, I’m thinking tired maraschino cherries hanging off the rim of a glass containing the remains of the bar…I’m thinking- no bueno.

Of course the whole world is not stuck in the tacky drinking experience my memory bank has parked itself in. A sophisticated ‘happy hour’ can be found, in a town near you. And this is exactly what is aspired to at Le Quay’s new L’After Work, where from Monday to Friday from 5 to 8 a new food and drink menu awaits the post rush-hour contingency.

Le Quay’s open plan space is at once welcoming and relaxing, thanks to the centrally placed water feature. Cool concrete walls and a visible spa reception desk means that the space feels serene and attracts a crowd that both wants to enjoy the company of others as well as quietly sit in a corner surfing the net.

The menu is easy to navigate once you get your basic bearings and care has been taken to make the decision making process a smooth one. A best friend came along as my ‘plus one’ and she only took a fraction of the time she usually takes to decide what she wants off a menu. Impressive. We ordered, well ‘created’ is a better word, two cocktails from list by combining different parts of ones we liked from existing ingredients, and this was done without any fuss.

My self-imposed year as a vegetarian means that I am a little more high-maintenance that I would like to be, however despite not seeing any vegetarian options on the menu, a crepe was quickly prepared for me, again with no fuss and in this case, no meat either. Le geres costs $4 and has lots of green leaves and white cheese, things that make me happy. Accompanied by a glass of Italian red wine. Happy.

Best friend however, being a carnivore had the whole run of the menu to pick from and (quickly) settled on the Sea Tapas option with a glass of Prosecco only to be told that they had run out of most of the ingredients for the tapas. A ‘plan b’ was quickly rustled up and consisted of a combination of Sea and Farm tapas- in practical terms this means a plate of prawn tempura, chicken skewers and giant green olives. (It can now be said that the best green olives in town have been found).

The menu has a number of different tapas options as well as suggested drinks to accompany each meal with attractive prices to match. For groups there are set options for three or four people making the hassle of waiting for everyone to decide what they want a thing of the past. The music was just right for the surroundings and made the ample drinks selection even more pleasant to imbibe. With not a tired cherry in sight, this was a happy hour indeed.

L’After Work at Le Quay Monday to Friday 5 to 8pm


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