African style food in Joburg
One of my favourite restaurants is Little Addis in Maboneng. Delicious platters of a selection of traditional Ethiopian dishes are served with injera (soft spongy what ‘bread’) which functions as knife, fork and spoon. 280 Fox St +27 82 683 8675; www.littleaddis.co.za Open 12.30 to 21.00 except Sunday evenings and Mondays.
Abyssinia in Kensington. Chef-patronne Amsale Debela is a political refugee who literally walked to SA from Ethiopia. Her first restaurant was the legendary Amsale’s at the building known as 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. +27 72 918 8824 www.abysinnia.co.za Corner Langerman and Queen streets.Open 9.30 – 22.00.
Gerald Garner of Joburg Places runs tours to the city’s Ethiopian district known as ‘Little Addis’ or ‘Little Ethiopia slap in the middle of one of the grittiest parts of town on the cnr of Rahima Moosa and Troye Sts. It’s a fascinating place to visit but you do need to go with a guide. The buildings are jam packed with barbers, music kiosks, clothing stores, food stores and of course coffee shops. We had lunch on the top floor of the original Medical Arts Building (now Haile Selassie) at Netsi’s and then delicious coffee on a rooftop verandah.
On the western edge of the inner city is another African Diaspora: Little Mogadishu, this time in Mayfair. There are lots of small informal eateries and of course endless coffee houses. But you need a lot of local knowledge to find your way around.
West African style
The other place where there are lots of local African eateries but this time more from West Africa and the Congo is Yeoville. Again for first timers, this is definitely somewhere to go with a guide. I joined one of Dlala Nje‘s tours (subject of a further blog). After some drinks at Kin Malebo Congolese restaurant, we ended our evening at La Camerounaise, for fish cooked over open coals. Loads of locals, loud music and lots of interaction at long tables – don’t expect glamour and don’t expect to be able to have an intimate conversation!
For more West African fare, House of Baobab is a vibey place to hang-out with amazing fabrics and colourful wall decor. Delicious fish is cooked over hot coals. Cnr Fox and Kruger St in the Main Street Life Building Open 12.00 – 22.00 Closed Mondays +27 82 951 9859.
In a category of its own
The Roving Bantu Kitchen is still on my Joburg bucket list so, as I have not yet been, I am relying on 2 summers our most adventurous of Jozi explorers for her experience at Roving Bantu Kitchen.
Offering Cape Malay food is District Six in nearby Emmarentia. The owner’s childhood was spent in District Six in Cape Town, before the houses were destroyed and the largely Cape Malay population was moved under the Apartheid regime from the late 1960s onwards. The small menu offers delicious Cape Malay dishes like tomatoe bredie (stew), bobotie (curried mince covered with a savoury custard & baked) and wonderful curries. And the best is you can BYO at a corkage fee of R15 42B Greenhill Rd Emmarentia +27 11 486 7226; open 12-22.00 except Sunday evening and Mondays.
Moyo’s Melrose Arch +27 11 -684-1477 Moyo’s Afro-fusion restaurant where face painting and rosewater hand washes are just some of the rituals, plus live music. Or during the day have a chilled meal outdoors at Moyo’s Zoo Lake +27 11 646-0058 and if you have children take some bread to feed the ducks. Plus there is a great gift shop with fun stylish African artefacts.
In the Inner City is Darkie Cafe located in the very hip Ashanti Hotel. Owned by Charlotte 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 +27 11 492-1555
Carnivore is 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. +27 11 950-6061
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 local food with great stews and traditional starches like pap (stiff maize meal porridge), dumplings, ting (soft porridge) and umqushu (samp). The walls are papered with business cards of visitors. +27 11 982 2796
Get your adrenalin rush with some bungee jumping at the Orlando Towers and then enjoy some shisa nyama (barbecued meat) and pap (maize porridge) at Chaf Pozi. Open Wednesdays to Fridays 11 till late, Saturday lunch and afternoon only and Sunday lunch top early evening +27 11 463 8895
Nambitha’s in Vilikazi St – near 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). Nambitha means tasty in isiXhosa +27 11 936 9128.
Sakhumzi’s also in Vilikazi St (no 6980 next to Bishop Tutu’s house) Another favourite meeting place for locals and tourists alike, the shebeen atmosphere really gets going in the evenings. +27 11 315 1534 The meal is buffet style with morogo, lots of stews, samp, etc. Their spinach is delicious. If it wasn’t so far I’d get it for take-away!
Enjoy a rooftop sundowner over the week-end at The Rock 1987 Vundla St Rockville +27 11 986 8182
Kwa-thabeng 9138 Nonqawe, Pimville 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. +27 11 938 3337