In his not-so-distant past, Adam Klein was best known in Cape Town for his skills on the decks at his famous nightclub, Fiction on Long Street, and not for his perfect bagels. Adam's first foray into food was with Neighbourhood, a late-night diner and bar on the same strip. Opened in 2014, Kleinsky's is a far cry from the 24/7 frenzy that is Long Street and a "sensible day job" for the contemplative Adam and his brother, Joel.
Together they've introduced a fresh, contemporary take on Jewish favourites to the revived Sea Point Main Road, where the neighbourhood is abuzz with trendy new bars and restaurants. The beat of a packed dance floor has been exchanged for a spot with soul of a different pace, luring regulars back for their breakfast bagel or generous latke benedict with crispy lamb bacon. Combine this with the modern deli interior and congenial company and it's no wonder that a seat is often hard to find. Everything is homemade, which actually means something to the brothers, and the star performer on the lunch menu is their hot pastrami on fresh rye, with house-blend mustard and piquant pickles on the side.
Your earliest memory of food? Going to our granny and grandpa's house on a Friday night. Chicken soup was always on the menu. It's a nostalgic place.
Granny's soup is on your menu. Have you added your own twist? It’s been modernised a little bit. We don't use chicken necks and feet like our gran did, but it's still a rich chicken broth. I think this is something that goes back hundreds of years, so you can't really mess with it.
When did you first develop an interest in food? When I was a teenager. It wasn't very fancy – making subs with different combinations was my favourite thing. I've even got photos of me with these sandwiches, which is strange because I didn't think about it for years until I came back around and connected the dots. I obviously still love making sandwiches.
What was the concept behind Kleinsky's? We decided to open Kleinsky's because we both wanted to do something with food and something that was personal. I don't really like to do things by proxy. I feel like if it's not personal, there's a lack of passion. This is food that we know and love and I think that comes through in what we serve.
CHICKEN AND MATZO BALL SOUP
2 carrots, unpeeled and halved
2 celery stalks, with leaves
2 turnips, unpeeled and halved
1 onion, unpeeled and quartered
2 tbsp packed fresh parsley
2 tbsp packed fresh thyme
4-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled and and squashed slightly with a knife
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 cup matzo meal
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup chicken broth
¼ cup schmaltz
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh dill, chopped for garnish
Put all soup ingredients in a pot and bring to a gentle boil, then turn down to a simmer.
Remove any froth that collects on the surface. Cook for an hour.
Remove chicken from broth, shred meat from bones and retain for serving. Put bones back in the pot to make broth. Simmer for three hours.
Remove from heat, carefully pour through strainer and retain vegetables for serving.
Allow to cool, then refrigerate. The next day, remove surface fat from the broth.
In a bowl, stir together the matzo meal, baking powder, pepper and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to form stiff peaks, the n gently fold the matzo-meal mixture into the egg whites.
In another bowl, whisk egg yolks, chicken broth, schmaltz and parsley, then combine the two mixtures by folding one into the other. Cover mixture tightly in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Fill a pot with water and add two teaspoons of salt for every litre. Heat to a simmer.
Remove the matzo-meal mixture from the fridge. Fill a bowl with cool water for hands.
Use a spoon to scoop up about two tablespoons of mixture and, with wet hands, shape into balls. Place the balls into the simmering water with a slotted spoon. Cover the pot and simmer for an hour.
To serve, place matzo balls in bowls and add shredded chicken and vegetables, then ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with dill.
This is an extract from ‘Cooked in South Africa’, an initiative of Wish Upon A Star, a non-profit fund-raising charity (Reg. No 2013/038478/08). Cooked in South Africa is about memories and journeys around food and will be on sale in leading bookstores from mid-November with all profits from the sales going to children living with disability. Photographs courtesy of Naashon Zalk and Cooked in South Africa.