Kentucky Town Cape Town – A Post Mortem

Living in Johannesburg meant I wasn’t able to try out the KFC Kentucky Town Cape Town pop-up store which opened temporarily in Canal Walk Shopping Centre. So instead I experienced it vicariously when my Cape Town group of friends got together last weekend to try it out before it closed down.

Great sports that they are, they agreed to write-up their opinions about each item. And this is an opinionated lot so I was looking forward to a hilarious read. And they did not disappoint.

So if you’re living on Mars and did not know, Kentucky Town popped up in Joburg late last year and again in Cape Town this Winter serving up a hot new limited-edition Menu with some KFC meals that you’ve never seen before – and may never see again. The special Kentucky Town Cape Town menu included some of the top favourites from the original pop-up store such as the Doughnut Zinger Burger and Spicy Chips flavoured with Tabasco, and in homage to the city and culture of Cape Town, the menu included the limited-edition KFC Gatsby as well as KFC Chachos (like Nachos), Simba Crunch Zinger Wings, Kentucky Fried Oreos with Soft Serve and a Midnight Mojito to seal the deal.

Here’s what my Cape Town Crew really thought about it. No holds barred!

Thank you Shuaib Parker, for flexing your writing muscles and putting it all together and to my extended besties for all your input. You guys rock!

Friday night is takeout night, so with it being the last weekend that KFC Town would be Canal Walk, we figured we would give it a try and experience first-hand what all the fuss was about. Playing food critic is more fun when you have a panel to help you be “judgerag” so we arranged with some friends to come over and join in the experience.

Since H didn’t want to suffer alone, she dragged me along. At about 4pm off we went into the wild, braving the queue. The queue was snaking to the outside and I knew it gonna be a loooong wait! We played tag team, while one waited in the queue the other could roam around and check out the KFC goodies on sale, from KFC PJ’s to KFC fire-logs for that 11 herb and spices smell while cosying up on a cold winters night, chilling in your zinger wings boxer shorts, feeling all hot and spicy…. ok I digress, back to the task at hand… the food!

So it took us about an hour to get to the counter. Since we were catering for a large group (kids and adults, just so we get a good balance of opinions), we had a fairly large order, but once you placed you order it didn’t take that long to get it, so it wasn’t too bad. We ordered the following items in multiple quantities enough for everyone to share:

  1. KFC Gatsby
  2. Simba crunch zinger wings
  3. Chachos
  4. Spicy chips
  5. Doughnut Zinger Burger
  6. Midnight mojito
  7. Kentucky fried Oreo
  8. Dunked pops – with ghost pepper sauce

Good thing we were well prepared and brought along some shopping bags as it was quite a lot to carry for two people. Nevertheless, the total experience took 90 minutes so we were excited and hoping the taste would have made it all worth it!

Taste Test

The food critics arrived shortly after we made it home. The spread was laid out and everyone had to sample the item and we would do collective score as a group

1. KFC Gatsby

Shuaib: Now firstly, it was difficult to be polite with this one! Growing up with this original Cape Town delicacy, ANY non-South African food franchise would struggle to measure up to the standards we Capetonians have set when it comes to the Gatsby. You already started to worry, when it was served in a box and not wrapped the traditional way as we would expect. From a size perspective it is slightly bigger than a Hotdog roll so definitely no “Cut in 4” on this roll. Even cutting it in 2 would get you “vuil kyke”  to say the least. But since this was for a good cause we turned a blind eye and ignored the Gatsby etiquette and carved up the KFC Gatsby to ensure everyone could sample.

Sabrie: White people must stay in their lane. Part of the DNA of a Gatsby is that it must be morsagh. Not sturvy. This package was far too neat to be taken seriously. Just like their regular meals where instead of a portion of chips, they serve you a sample. The excess chips on the side of the Gatsby was glaringly missing.

Zaahirah: It was a Colonel Burger meal (minus the drink) on drugs, but the watered down version of drugs. The low-grade Cape Flats flakka that gets added bicarb, to increase its street value… A gatsby cannot be called a “gatsby” if it doesn’t have the “slap chip” as its MAIN ingredient. Rename this item @KFC.

Basically KFC chicken on a roll, some sauce and KFC chips. Now the biggest thing here is the chips. No way have you can the stiff KFC chips on a Gatsby, especially if it’s not warm. We all know how KFC chips taste when it get cold, so this was a “NO NO”. I guess it was a good attempt but they didn’t understand what makes up a good Gatsby so this was a fail for us

2. Simba Crunch Zinger Wings

Shuaib: Generally I enjoy the standard zinger wings so was keen to try this variation. Does it work, yes it does.  Is it some special, not really.  Think of those midnight munchies, when you don’t want to go through the effort of making something but the hunger hits, the go to…simba chips and bread. This gave me a the same vibe, I can easily recreate this with the standard zinger wings and having my favorite chips on the side and enjoying it together. In fact the DIY option allows more flavour experiments….Mexican Chilli chips + Zinger wings, now that sound like a plan next time.

Zaahirah: Ordinarily I enjoy the zinger wings but clearly didn’t grow up with that “Indian” palette where they galvanize the stomachs of the youngsters from the cradle to tolerate spice and heat…. Heartburn reared it’s ugly head with this one with the added heat of the Simba chips! Which reminds me.. I need to replace H’s kitchen roller towels….. The Twinsaver tissues just wasn’t cutting it. On the bright side, I didn’t have any sinus headaches for 3 days. Cleared my nasal cavities thoroughly!

So unlike the Gatsby this one had variable opinions, ranging from “hell too spicy” to “this is good” to “average”. It was literally a hit and miss on this one. If you used to eating bland food you would’ve found it a bit hot, however overall it wasn’t too bad.

3. Chachos

Shuaib: This one had potential but then not quite. I don’t think replacing the corn style chips you get in traditional Nachos with chicken has the same effect. Basically this item was chicken pieces covered in sauces, tomato, jalapeno but NO crunchy chips.

Puva: I think I was the only one who enjoyed the chachos cos who could go wrong with chicken fingers mayo pickled delicious jalapenos mayo a chopped tomatoes

Overall not too bad but I won’t say I would buy it if it ever makes it onto the standard menu. This was a common feedback from all the taste-testers. I think if you maybe added some Doritos then perhaps it would have just given it the edge.

4. Spicy chips

Shuaib: NO… KFC… NO!!!  If you want to rival that other chicken place whose produce comes from private school, there better ways to do it. Peri Peri spice on chips works, Tobasco spice is a  No.  You original KFC chip spice is good enough, no need to mess with it, if this is what you thinking of….once again NO!

Zaahirah: Being afraid of anything spicy for fear of heartburn rearing its ugly head …. I was hesitant….. but tried it nonetheless. NOTHING spicy about it AT ALL. Warmed up KFC chips is bad enough…. The Tabasco spice was uneventful.

As my intro rant explains it, this was one of our least favourite….between this and the Gatsby, my advice stick to what you know and do it well. I like spicy chips but this tasted artificial, it just didn’t work. Enough said.

5. Doughnut Zinger Burger

Zakiyah: The Doughnut zinger burger was surprisingly great, many people disagree with me on this but if it was on the normal KFC menu I would 100% order again. It was sweet mixed with salty which I usually would hate but they made it work perfectly.

Sabrie: I DONUT know what to think of this concept. Surprising tasty but found myself eating the DONUT and fillet separately. Maybe it’s the uncultured coloured in me but I couldn’t enjoy it. Perhaps targeted as a novelty for kids.

Zaahirah: No! This was just wrong. My brain could not differentiate between the sweetness of the doughnut and the deep fried crisp of the spicy fillet. Was I having dessert before the mains or was the mains the dessert?

6. Midnight Mojito

Zakiyah: The midnight mojito was nothing special, just slightly minty coke with ice.

7. Kentucky Fried Oreos

Zakiyah/Asma: The Kentucky fried Oreos were vile, which was upsetting since it seems like the hardest thing to mess up, yet KFC managed to do it. It tasted like cold chicken, which is something you don’t want to hear about a desert.

Zaahirah: I’m not sure if I should have had this before confusing my brain with the donut burger. I could never UN TASTE the fact that an oreo tasted like chicken. It was disgusting. Thankfully we had the ice cream on the side to wash it down. The ice cream was nice.

Puva: The dunked oreo could have been so much better if we got them warm and crispy with ice cream

Hafsa was the only one who enjoyed it.

8. Dunked pops

These were not bad, however the dunked pops on the standard menu tastes much better.



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