Quills @ the Intercontinental Airport Sun, Johannesburg

by Jeanne on August 22, 2010

in Restaurants - South Africa, Sundays in South Africa

Post image for Quills @ the Intercontinental Airport Sun, Johannesburg

One of the dubious pleasures of trying to live your life with one foot on each of two continents is that you become intimately acquainted with the airports of both countries.  Instead of being merely transit points, they become meeting places, farewell venues, and the backdrop for emotional crises.  I remember standing at passport control in Johannesburg International Airport (now O.R. Tambo) in 2000, making a final call to my mom on my mobile before flying to London, and crying until I had no tears left.  I remember arriving back at Port Elizabth airport after a long sojourn in London, to find practically everybody I knew at the airport to greet me in a joyous throng.  I remember a lunch at the airport in Johannesburg as being the last time I saw my dear friend Peter alive.  I remember weeping miserably and publicly at Heathrow every time I had to say goodbye to Nick when we were living on separate continents.  I remember the joy when Nick was turned away from a flight at Port Elizabeth airport and got to stay an extra night with me because said flight was overbooked.

Think of a human emotion and I can guarantee you that airports have it in bucketloads.  But what they don’t generally have in bucketloads is great restaurants.  For years I did my meetings, greetings, catch-ups and farewells in a variety of deeply uninspiring fast food restaurants and coffee bars in O.R. Thambo Airport, where the constant flight announcements would drown out your emotion-filled words and serve as an unsettling reminder of your imminent departure. And then one day my friend Peter introduced me to Quills.

QuillsCollage

Quills is situated across the road from the passenger terminals at O.R. Tambo Airport in the Interncontinental Sun Hotel, South Africa’s only 5-star airport hotel.  Stepping into the serene lobby of the hotel after the chaos of the terminal is like arriving at an oasis after a long trek across the desert.  You pad across soft carpeting as smiling staff greet you and find a table either in the chic African-themed restaurant (with its 18-metre long porcupine quill mobile), or on the terrace outside, and you instantly feel relaxed and pampered and about a million miles from an airport – and yet you only need to cross the road to board your flight.  It is hands down my favourite place to spend time whenever I have to hang around O.R Tambo for any length of time.

On recent visits I have had a spectacular meze platter (feta, olives, caperberries, roasted vegetables, semi-dried tomatoes and lots of pesto) served on a gorgeous blue glass platter, and a roasted Mediterranean vegetable wrap, which came with translucently thin potato and beetroot crisps.  Heaven.

QuillsPlatter

 

QuillsWrap

The restaurant and its bar are open 24 hours, so the menu spans the full range from breakfast (continental and hot) to light lunches and snacks, to a la carte dinners – and of course excellent cocktails at any time.  The only problem is tearing yourself away from the restaurant before you miss your flight ;-)  If you have to spend time in transit at O.R. Tambo Airport or if you need to have a flying business meeting at the airport, I seriously cannot recommend Quills highly enough – it has changed my tears at the airport into tears of joy.

Quills
Intercontinental Airport Sun Hotel
Opposite Terminal 3
O.R Thambo International Airport
Kempton Park
Johannesburg
1627

Tel. +27 (0)11 961 5400

This post is part of a new series for 2010 called Sundays in South Africa.  The series started as a way of providing visitors with some ideas of what and where to eat during and after the FIFA World Cup 2010 which took place in June/July 2010 in my home country of South Africa!  Although the tournament is over now, I will still try to post a review of somewhere South African, or a South African recipe, every Sunday as culinary inspiration for visitors.  I can’t pretend it is going to be a comprehensive guide to South Africa – but it will certainly be enough to give visitors some ideas!  Click here for previous posts in the series.

 

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Nominations are now open for the 2010 South African Blog Awards until Friday 27 August.  I would REALLY appreciate it if you would take a few moments to click on the logo above and nominate me in the categories Best Food & Wine blog and Best Overseas Blog.  Only the blogs with the most nominations go through to be finalists, so every nomination counts!! Pretty please with chocolate sprinkles? When you click the link below, CookSister has already been selected as nominee in the abovementioned categories, so all you have to do is enter the security code displayed and a VALID e-mail address, then click on the link in the confirmation e-mail they send you. NB – you have to click the link in the e-mail that you will be sent, otherwise your nomination will not count!  Thanks ever so much :) 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

nina August 23, 2010 at 4:47 am

I remember way back when I first moved to PE< I missed Cape Town so that in the morning I would go and have a cup of Coffee at the airport before I go to teach at Cape Receive. It was enough for me to just see the planes go to Cape Town. I love reading this JEanne!!

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Kit August 23, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Good to know, if we ever get stuck there! Great post about those airport emotional moments. Sets me off thinking of the opening sequence of Love Actually!

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Jamie August 24, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Oh, Jeanne, this is one of the most beautifully written pieces I have read! It makes me think of all the times I’ve cried at airports which much outnumber the laughing! And as far as food goes, the only time we eat at airports is on very long layovers in Atlanta either on our way back to Florida or on the way back home to France. And we almost always eat MacDonald’s! LOL! Wonderful post, Jeanne, and I’d love to find myself in SA one day eating here.

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Miriam August 24, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Wonderfully written, wonderful photos makes me just wanna visit.

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Maryon Simpson August 26, 2010 at 9:58 am

I do so agree Jeanne! I spend so much time travelling between SA and London that the intercontinental has become my home from home on a number of occasions – we have stayed there too in transit especially from visiting my son in Oz and the planes get in way to late to catch a connection.

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johanna August 26, 2010 at 12:21 pm

looks delicious enough for me to almost lick the screen – have passed it on to fritzi’s husband who spends lots of time in SA on business now!

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courtney August 30, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Ive never associated the actual travel part of a journey with eating well. But this place looks fantastic.

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