sizzling hot- Old Quarry smokehouse

A breath of fresh air in a wildfire of mundane,  Old Quarry Smokehouse dabbles in the unusual genre of “rustic fine dining”.

The brainchild of Warren Vermaak and Katey Fuller, Old Quarry Smokehouse was a serendipitous creation.

When plans to open a restaurant met with unexpected complications in February of 2020, it left them financially distressed and heavily in debt, and when COVID-19 forced South Africa into lockdown on 27 March 2020, any hopes of recovery were dashed.

Like so many others crippled by the devastating effect of COVID on the economy, Katey and Warren were forced to make decisions to ensure the stability of their young family, and relocated to Katey’s parents’ home in Assagay.

And from the ashes of despair, Old Quarry Smokehouse was born.

When Warren spoke with his father in-law, Patrick, about his idea of opening a Pizza Takeaway with an American Smokehouse and Argentinian live fire cooking area, Patrick offered Warren and Katey the use of the magnificent grounds, and Warren set about creating their dream.

Using 210l Steel drums and the fire bricks from an Argentinian Parilla Grill he had purchased for the restaurant they had envisaged opening, Warren crafted two ovens which exceeded expectations.

In 2 acres of spectacular landscaped gardens, with the ever-present sound of birdlife, horses and the occasional crow of a cockerel, the tables at Old Quarry Smokehouse are set under magnificent Natal Mahogany’s for alfresco dining.

With the aromas of wood fired ovens, and slow cooked food, this is perfection!

As parking is limited, and dining is weather dependent, Old Quarry Smokehouse wisely operates as a “Private food club”, where booking is essential to allow them to plan and effectively cater for their patrons.

This is an ideal environment for families – With a play area for children, complete with Jungle gym, this makes a fantastic alternate to the usual child friendly restaurants parents are often limited to.

We were lucky enough to attend a 5 course Food and Craft Beer and cider pairing and were blessed with magnificent Durban weather.

Before the pairing began, we decided to try out one of the pizzas we had heard so much about – Now I will at this juncture say that if you are doing a 5 Course food pairing, having a pizza as an appetizer is probably an overkill. But damn what great pizzas!

The base is wafer thin and crispy and the toppings are spectacular!

Having recently collaborated with Andrew Draper, whom many will remember from Harvey’s days, Warren’s Heritage Day Braaicraft menu was an ode to fine dining.

Plate 1:- Smoked free range beef wors, with “Township” chakalaka and boutique braai breads, paired with Loxtonia Pale Amber Cider.

Plate 2:- Juniper Spice rub Springbok chops, with spicy apricot gel and baby potato bake paired with Standeaven Brewery African Pale Ale.

Plate 3:- Deboned smoked chicken thighs with Polenta wedges and Puttanesca sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan powder paired with Standeaven Brewery Bohemian Pilsner.

Plate 4:- Traditional smoked Black Angus Beef Fillet steak tartare and croutons, with confit Quail’s egg, roasted corn and Danish Rigato cheese purée with quail egg Nog and biltong dust paired with Standeaven Brewery Durban Craft Lager

Plate 5:- Traditional rich Malva pudding tarts, with decadent chocolate ganache sauce and Chantilly Cream paired with Standeaven Brewery Best Black Gold Dark Lager.

This is a trip worth making!

If there isn’t a food pairing on the go when you visit, don’t despair!

With a brilliant selection of woodfired Pizzas, Tomahawk Steaks, Ribs and smoked Brisket and much more on offer, you won’t go hungry!

With a steady increase of visitors from the South and North Coast, patrons are starting to refer to Old Quarry Smokehouse as a “mini-Midlands”, with the feel of the Midlands experience, but close enough for a lunch trip.

“We are in discussion with other local businesses to establish our own Meander.”  Says Warren.

This is a couple whose creativity, positivity and sheer tenacity deserves to be celebrated and supported!

You can find Old Quarry Smokehouse at:

6 Quarry Road

Assagay

Tel: 082 770 0318

*Credit and thanks to Old Quarry Smokehouse for some of the images used*