Eating out in Joburg: Afro-fusion

Afro-fusion fare

For a guide to indigenous cuisine see  Also see Anna Trapido’s article ’Your gourmet guide to African eating’

Amsale Kensington Corner Langerman and Queen streets, Kensington, Johannesburg, 072 918 8824      Chef-patronne Amsale Debela is a political refugee who literally walked to SA from Ethiopia. Her first restaurant was the now legendary Amsale’s at Little Addis in Jeppe Street where she garnered a 2008 Dine Top 100 Restaurant award.  …  Berbere spice-laden doro wat chicken stews with injera sour dough pancakes are the specialty of the house.

Moyo’s Melrose Arch 011 -684-1477 Well-done Afro-fusion restaurant with great atmosphere. Face painting and rosewater hand washes are just some of the rituals, plus live music and amazing décor – make sure you look around at all the floors. Well worth making a booking. Or during the day have a chilled meal outdoors at Moyo’s Zoo Lake 011 646-0058 and if you have children take some bread to feed the ducks.  

Afrodisiac and Voodoo Lounge  Linksfield Nursery Cnr Club St and Linksfield Drive 011 443 990 Website does give the menu but otherwise not an updated site.  Like many restaurants that market themselves as serving African food, the menu lists quite standard fare which seems Africanized in name only eg Sowetan oxtail. But there is South African fare like a game platter which includes crocodile, ostrich, springbok and quail. Sophisticated ambience and the Voodoo Lounge is a fashionable cocktail bar where there is often excellent live music.

Lekgotla which means ‘meeting place’ in Tswana, is located on the very European space (á la Italian piazza) of Mandela Square in Sandton.  The cuisine is eclectic to put it mildly, with the website noting that it ‘draws inspiration from the 4 corners of Africa’ … Arabic, French, Dutch and Malay.  Check the website for the menu 011 884 9555

The Whiteboy Shebeen in the heart of Sandton in the City Lodge Hotel cr Katherine and Grayston Drive Sandown 011 444 8850  Their website tells us that ‘whilst the name Shebeen has been accepted in the South African vocabulary, it is in reality derived from Gaelic and means “Little Mug”. A shebeen was a venue usually in a private home where friends gathered to share a “dram” of whiskey together on which no excise had been paid and it evolved into a warm and friendly venue, where the hosts offered food and drink to guests.’  Offers a range of South African cuisine with dishes like warthog carpaccio, springbok sirloin, etc as well as Halaal dishes.

In the Inner City is The Darkie Cafe  located in the very hip Ashanti Hotel. Owned by Chralotte Monakasi it is the first in a franchise chain owned by interior designer Potlako Gasenelwe, Nick Kokkoris who founded the Nino’s Chain and Carel Nolte ex Hollard insurance. The stylish white interior plays humorously with the restaurant’s name. There are tables outside on a deck looking onto Ferreira St. While there is more traditional fare like Mozambiquan chicken curry, cheesey pap, and Dagwoods served with chakalaka, the  menu also offers steak, hamburgers, risotto.  10 Anderson St  011 492-1555

Carnivore  011 950-6061 Out at Muldersdrift this is a long way to drive back at night so if you want to go, make it a lunch. Open daily.In the centre of the restaurant is a large circular open fire with 52 converted Masaai tribal spears holding a variety of 10 different types of meat such as pork, lamb, beef, chicken, ribs and sausages and including such game meats as crocodile, zebra, giraffe, impala, ostrich, etc,  Several vegetarian dishes are also on the menu.

Places in Soweto

The most well-known is Wandies so expect busloads of tourists should you choose to eat here. Wandi Ndaba started operating an illegal shebeen from his house in 1981 so he has really grown the business. Buffet fare serves excellent local food with great stews and traditional starches like pap, dumplings, ting (soft porridge) and umqushu (samp). The walls are papered with business cards of visitors. 011 982 2796

Nambitha’s in Vilikazi St – the same street as the Hector Pieterson Museum and Mandela House museum. Serves both mainstream food like burgers and tramezzinis as well as more traditional stews, including mogudu (tripe). Great atmosphere and excellent food – nambitha means tasty in isiXhosa  011 936 9128.

Sakhumzi’s also in Vilikazi St (no 6980 next to Bishop Tutu’s house) 011 315 1534 Another favourite meeting place for locals and tourists alike, the shebeen atmosphere really gets going in the evenings.

Kwa-thabeng 9138 Nonqawe, Pimville Soweto 011 938 3337  Open daily from early until late.  There is a laid back Soweto vibe in this shebeen (tavern) come restaurant.  You will join locals sitting at long tables. A great restaurant.

As yet I haven’t been to B’s Restaurant but hope to go soon.  gives this write-up:    ‘From the moment you set foot into B’s Place, Beatrice the owner and hostess will make you feel at home with her warm hospitality and friendliness. B’s is a family run restaurant located in one of Soweto’s oldest areas (Orlando East) and was built as an extension to the original 1930′s home. Previously run as a tavern & meeting place, Beatrice has now extended her talents to provide delicious home cooked meals for tourists, corporate groups and locals alike. Beatrice and her family will chat to guests about life in Orlando and share some secrets about their famous cooking. Enjoy a buffet of stews, grilled chicken, salads accompanied by traditional township specialties such as samp, pap, mogodu (tripe) and morogo (spinach) with chakalaka. B’s home-made bread and ginger beer have become legendry and if there is any space left, you can enjoy a delicious cream cake or vetkoek for dessert! Sipping from a calabash of local sorghum beer is also a tradition at B’s not to be missed’ . 5541 Shuenyane St Orlando East 011 935-1766

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