I feel very proud of South African restaurants right now.
Firstly there’s the good cause. Have you ever heard of StreetSmart SA? It’s a non-profit organization that helps street kids in South Africa.
Restaurants sign up to StreetSmart SA and funds are raised by adding a voluntary R5 donation to each table's bill. Since its inception in Cape Town in 2005 under the patronage of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, StreetSmart has raised a total of over R6 million for street kids.
StreetSmart launched in Joburg yesterday and 6 of Joburg’s top restaurants are signed up already. So let’s show these guys our support by showing up to eat at participating restaurants.
The other reason I’m glowing is after visiting the Pot Luck Club on Tuesday night I feel South African restaurants are now playing on a different level.
2 chefs, a stylist and an online restaurant editor walk into a restaurant… and it was amazing.
From the spectacular venue at the top of the Silo Building at The Biscuit Mill (with 360 views of Cape Town) to the clever upcycle-style décor, front of house manager fresh from a stint in New York and vintage martini glasses, everything was a mental shift up from what we are used to in restaurants.
Someone even responded to my tweets with: take a look at the waiters and chefs you will be blown away at how good looking they are too!
And then there is… The Food.
The menu consists of small tapas-style helpings of modern dishes. Clever, because you will want to taste everything on the menu. Yellowtail sashimi, “pig tails”, lamb rib and duck spring rolls are just a couple of the dishes we tried.
There is nothing cliché about this restaurant except us saying all night that we all felt like we were in New York City.
The other on-trend restaurant development has to be the unveiling of the El Burro food truck at the Design Indaba this week. No flies on these guys when it comes to delivering the cool. Meet the Baby Donkey.
So I’ll leave you with this thought: We are so on the right track here in SA and we’re not just making sure that only our own needs are met along the way. The more restaurants that sign up to StreetSmart SA, the better.
Please send your thoughts and comments to email@example.com especially if you have discovered something that makes you proudly South African.