22 shisa nyama lounges - reviewed

by: PARTNER CONTENT | 23 Sep 2016
 
shisha nyama,shisha nyama lounge, reviews,  South

Ace butchery reviewed by Andrew Draper
27 Tyzack Street, South Beach
Durban
031 3684485

This unpretentious venue seriously impressed me and, by looking at all the happy customers with piles of generous food in front of them, I was not the only one.

The meat variety was huge, with several cuts of beef, which was separated into fatty and leaner cuts (I always go for the fatty), two cuts of lamb, dark rich liver, firm, glistening kidneys, slow cooked tripe and ‘Zulu chicken’ with a variety of chicken in different marinades. 
But what truly impressed me was the variety of extras. I counted seven salads, six vegetables, assorted curries and rice, with pap and sambals but, most importantly, gigantic glistening balls of dombolo! 

To say I am partial to a good dombolo is an understatement of gross magnitude. For anyone who has not tried these, let me explain. They are large dumplings of soft dough, dropped into a simmering curry (or stew) to steam and poach in the gravy and produce something ambrosial. 
I ordered some nice fatty chuck, some brisket, some liver, some wors and, since I was by myself and am rather disposed to gluttony, some cabbage, chakalaka, pap, vegetable curry and TWO glorious pillows of dombolo.

The dining room was clean and comfortable, with large tables for serious feasting. There was a great mix of people here, with luxury cars chilling comfortably with the the budget variety. And the same for the guests. Eye-catching watches and dazzling shoes co-existed comfortable with jeans and takkies. A quick glance through their Facebook page revealed that the likes of Hugh Masekele and Mbongeni Ngema and many other celebrities had visited. 

This is the great thing about good food, it brings everyone together in a celebration of life. 

The food was very well seasoned and cooked.  The liver treated well, the fats crispy, while the meat was still tender. The attention to detail on the extras was very appreciated, and while I ordered even more cabbage, I was enamoured  with the dombolo. Perfectly cooked, light and tasty, it was the perfect mopping tool for all the juices. 

The food was reasonably priced with my meal coming in at under R150, which included two soft drinks. The service was prompt and friendly, with my table constantly being kept spotless. 

This is a foody shisa nyama, where its success lies in the quality of its food and its preparation. And if you need to have your dombolo virginity popped, I recommend these ones - and I’ve had a few!  

There is ample free and secure parking 


Ekasi drive thru reviewed by Dennis Ngxongo 
E 416 Ntombela Road, KwaMashu
078 527 5137

Ekasi Drive thru has fused two concepts: Fast food and shisa nyama.

Owner and Chef Mbuso Ndlovu is working hard to make his mark with this atypical sidewalk café in the township. This is one of the most exciting concepts to do with kasi lifestyle that I discovered on my judging beat. The aim is to supply kasi-style food (shisa nyama, fast food, etc) faster. They take away the wait for the food to be done by par-cooking it, and then (Nando’s style) braaing it after you have placed your order. You can also take away or sit down and eat.

I wanted to stay and enjoy my meal, and Mbuso and his charming side-kick set up a little round table, French-café style, from where I could survey the ‘hood. It was a bustling, busy experience, quite like none other.

The food was very good. I had chips, which are my weakness, braaied chicken wings and a really mean tramezzini (in the township, who would have thunk?), washed down with a bottle from my boot (they don’t have a liquor licence). 

To sum up: While there is no meat on display (a good selection is available, though), there are pictures. The quality of the meat was fair to good. There were many and varied side dishes and service was very good. No bar though, It’s BYO. Food was reasonably priced. It cost three of us R160 for wings, chips and tramezzinis. 

Given that Ekasi Drive Thru is on a road with two other establishments, both of  which offer the traditional shisa nyama, I see them going from strength to strength because it is different.


Ekhaya Eating House reviewed by Dennis Ngxongo 
789 Malandela Road (Corner Malandela and R99),
KwaMashu/ Phoenix
No telephone number but if urgent call owner Mr Dladla on 082 766 8557 

Ekhaya Eating House is quite the most disturbing review I had to do (all revealed below). The place is on a busy corner (near ABI, SAB and other blue collar employers) and takes up about a city block of space. I went twice. When it’s busy it’s buzzing, but when it’s empty it’s desolate. 

The very basic benches and lean-to that masquerade as a carport did nothing for me. But then it is not designed for me, or indeed visitors. This is a local's local, with regulars who know what they want. There is no window dressing, and the layout is irritating in that you walk into the (well stocked) butchery to buy meat, then cross to the (well-stocked) bottle store to get drinks, then go to the restaurant for sides.... looong walk, especially when it’s busy, as it means three queues.

So, Ekhaya had a reasonable selection of meat and the quality was okay. There were not that many side dishes on offer.  Service was inconsistent and, as for other facilities, none to speak of. 

But the most disturbing thing for me at Ekhaya was the juxtaposition of a live (and tethered) cow, an abattoir and the butchery. In my mind's eye I could see the process from cow to brisket. I am all for organic meat, but I LIKE the purple Quality Control stamps on my meat, and the proximity of the raw elements to meat production was a cause of concern. So much so, that I didn't entirely enjoy my nyama. 

However, everyone else was having a blast, so I can't discount it. Our bill for two people came to R200, which included food and drink. 


Fashio Café @36 reviewed by Andrew Draper 
36 Inque Grove, Ntuzuma, Section E 
072 143 7647

This open plan, street side café offers an authentic ‘home’ shisa nyama experience. Owner Vusumuzi created his café in the heart of residential Inanda on his mother’s property.

Rather low-key looking from the outside, this intimate venue had a homely, pleasant atmosphere with a quirky twist. Vusumuzi is obviously very proud of his establishment, and works as both host, manager, waiter, barman and chef in the open plan kitchen. He  attracts quite a crowd on Sundays with his ‘good Sunday chicken’ . 

The menu was limited, with shisa nyama being represented by very tasty and well prepared chicken wings. Occasionally he will make his version of steak tramezzini, the best in town, I was told, and burgers.  The food was very reasonable, and the bar limited, but personality and an authentic home experience are in abundance at Fashion Cafe.


Meat Café reviewed by Dennis Ngxongo
678 Zazi Road
Top Rank, Clermont
031 707 5599

Meat Cafe is in the 'old' Clermont, near the very busy Top Rank. The two-storey building is very tightly nestled at a corner and near another series of shops, but it is nice. There are benches outside for a limited and noisy sidewalk feel, music and vinyl covered tables inside where you can sit in smokiness and enjoy loud music. 

I thought there was a TV in the corner but I can’t be sure, so much was happening. This is another local, not aiming for international visitors, but ideal for the people who live in the area. The meat selection and quality was good – although the side dish offerings were basic. 

At R350 for food for three people and two beers we had very good value for our meal, which was surprisingly good. Service was okay and the bar offering was basic. No car wash or other facilities.


Meat Junction African Sizzle reviewed by Meleney Cunniff 
Smith Street, Durban
031  301 1242
 
The Meat Junction in Smith Street in the Durban CBD is the smaller relation to the one in Slyvester Ntuli (Point) Road. Do two restaurants classify as a franchise, I wonder?

I visited after 7pm on a rainy Monday night and was absolute charmed by this little place.  It is reminiscent of a diner replete with Barry White-type music in the background.  A new, old fashioned one if that makes sense.  The place is spotlessly clean and there are no scuffmarks, chips, tears, snags or anything out of place in this charming little venue.  Boring décor, but so shiny and clean (and well lit) you didn’t even mind all the dull brown (laminate tabletops and leather-ish looking booths (x6 plus about 10 very small tables). 

And clean is something that is inspiring when you are faced with a fridge full of raw meat.  The menu offering seems similar to their larger venue with several types of sausage (including lamb), several types of red meat, starches, side dishes (buffet style in black pots with cheerful red lids).  I say seem because we were in for a bit of a surprise.

As expected, the people behind the counter were knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.  This, despite the fact that we were the only customers and they only had half an hour till closing time.

I selected some wors and a T-bone, two slices of steamed bread and chakalaka to share.  With two Cokes the bill came to R110.10.
The meat arrived exactly as requested (wors well done and T-bone medium rare), the ujeqe was clearly fresh (not yet that dense texture that comes from old ujeqe) and, surprise, surprise, warm chakalaka with lots of cinnamon bark.  This was clearly a twist on all the other chakalaka dishes I had sampled. Small baked beans with just a hint of chilli (barely there), soft cooked onion, chunky carrots and lots of cinnamon pieces.  It worked well with the well-cooked meat and the ujeqe. 

Pity Smith Street is a one way away from City Hall, but if anyone feels like walking (in a group) I would recommend dinner here before a night out at the symphony.  

Operating hours Monday to Saturday 8am to 8pm and Sundays 8am to 5pm. As I had driven past the venue during the day on several occasions I know that parking is difficult to find, but after 5pm you are spoilt for choice. Go visit this little gem when you are next in town. 

Nkuzi Meats reviewed by Buhle Mbonambi
30 Umbilo Road, Glenwood 

I’ve always wondered who came with the idea of take-away shops. Whether it’s coffee, cakes or a full meal, they are brilliant. 

Now a take-away shisa nyama may sound rather strange to you. Yes, the culture of shisa nyama means that you sit down at the venue, have a drink and  and enjoy the meat and the company of your friends, but culture evolves.

Inkunzi is a butchery but it also serves shisa nyama. For me it’s a perfect midweek lunch break spot, where you come to pick your meat, have it braaied for you and then you take it back to work - or wherever. 

I ordered my meat, which was braaied perfectly. I decided to skip on the wors and instead have a bit of chicken. I’m not generally a fan of chicken, but I did enjoy it. Was the meat delicious? Hell yeah! The service at Inkunzi was really nothing to write home about. They were competent and didn’t have any bells and whistles, which is why I think it works more as a take-away rather than a proper shisa nyama spot. My friend and I were one of the few people at the premises when we placed our orders. There’s a good selection of meats available and condiments included chakalaka, and various other chilli-based sauces. 

Would I go back? Yes, I would. But as I stated above, it’s more of a take-away spot than a place to go and chill and eat meat. It has potential to be a bigger spot in the city if they possibly move to a better locale.

Cost? A very reasonable R180 for two people, which included drinks. 

Nsimbini shisha nyama and car wash reviewed by Dennis Ngxongo 
Cor Umbumbulu and Insimbini Roads,
Kwankonka, Nsimbini, Umlazi
084 031 5592

Nsimbini in Umlazi offers the most authentic kasi experience of all the places I visited. Everything is basic, but still good. It does not try to cater to visiting tourists, but then it’s also not so basic that you have to sit on beer crates. It’s clean and neat, and the buildings are thatched and unpretentious.  

The car wash (oh joy! oh rapture!) is not only fast, but CHEAP. 

Yes, you have to be a local to find it (not difficult, just drive past Mega Philani mall and turn nowhere). Once you find it, it’s very well appointed, as it’s at a busy intersection with a taxi rank across the road. 

The appearance was pleasant enough and the vibe was great, the DJ knew how to get one moving and you meet people from all walks of life, just chilling. 

The car wash makes a roaring trade, especially as you can chill by the fire and braai meat while waiting for the car to be washed. There was a great selection of tasty meat, which was displayed very appealingly - although the selection of side dishes was limited. The bar choices were extensive and, joy of joys, they have decent wines. A bottle of the lower end whiskey will set you back around R350, though. 

This is a pleasant place with a very busy vibe that is essentially a local’s local. Service was very good with a great rapport between car wash and shisa nyama.  Busy, busy vibe. The meal and drinks cost just over R400 for three of us.


Zig Zag Bar and Grill reviewed by Meleney Cunniff
Berea Centre, Berea road
031 829 1583 / or Jabu on 078 418 1668.

It took me several attempts to have a meal at the Zig Zag Bar and Grill but I am glad I persevered.  More a club with an eating area than restaurant,  Zig Zag is a mix of bar, lounge, slots gaming area, DJ booth with dance area and restaurant.

According to the charming ‘brother of 3rd owner’ who finally let me in, they open ‘past 11 every day and don’t have closing hour’. I think he was a bit alarmed at me,  ‘a women of a certain age’ who kept peering in the door to see if the place was open yet for lunch and assured me that I was welcome and ‘we don’t chase away people’.  No, but perhaps posting opening hours will help?

Anyway, once the door was finally open I had a very enjoyable visit. I placed my order at the self service counter at the back and was given a table number with assurance that my meal would be brought to me anywhere in the club. As I was the only patron for lunch, I chatted to the barman (same brother of 3rd owner) about the Zig Zag Bar and Grill.  

I was charmingly given lots of information: you can call for take-away orders but they don’t deliver; on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays they have waiter service; from Thursdays to Sundays there are bouncers on the door between 6pm and 6am; the DJ plays weekends only; they have a full bar (I noticed the Johnny Walker bottle was very low but he assured me they had plenty of backups) and they are famous for the house specialty: Izoso (T-bone, wors, pap and chakalaka for R47.50).

I elected to sit in the black-and-white themed restaurant area (rather than at either of the leather lounge areas) where I could choose from low or high tables.  The restaurant was very clean and spacious (I suspect the tables are moved at night to make dance floor bigger) although there was a smell of stale smoke coming from the slots area.  The large table talkers, which featured colourful pictures of the food, also listed some items on the bar menu,  as well as a cocktail selection with heavy sexual innuendo on the names. 

My ¼ chicken was served in a barbeque sauce with a different (and strange) sauce on the side (apparently a mix of bottled tomato sauce and garlic sauce), with sweet and spicy baked beans, carrots and chili chakalaka.  A generic hot dog roll and a bowl of chips rounded out the pleasant meal.  

My verdict on the Zig Zag Bar is that service was attentive and friendly, the ‘thump thump’ music was at a reasonable level for lunchtime, and the food was good but not exceptional.  Both the brother-of-the-owner and the car guard confirmed that the bar was safe, security tight and lots of parking available and I was beseeched to return ‘anytime’ between 6pm and 6am to fully appreciate the Zig Zag Bar.  I might just do that.


** This venue was highly recommended in the 2016 Shisa Nyama Awards & Festival competition
*  This venue was a finalist in the 2016 Shisa Nyama Awards & Festival competition
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Umlazi

* Max’s Lifestyle Lounge reviewed by Lungi Nhlanhla 
V1328 Mbhe road, Umlazi
031 906 1393

Max’s Lifestyle Lounge,  or as locals say KwaMax,  is a well known and popular establishment among locals and visitors alike. Situated just off the main road, it’s easily visible from the road.

The vibe and atmosphere is palpable and starts from the moment you park your car.  There’s a vast variety of meats on display, from chicken wings, wors, beef chuck, brisket, short rib and T-bone to ox kidney and liver. If you want more homely food you also can choose from traditional African foods like tripe (usu). 

We chose the chicken wings, wors, beef short rib, chuck and kidneys which were all well-spiced. You need to make your choices quickly as everything moves fast and the serving ladies like to keep things moving. So, indecisiveness is not appreciated.
Once your meat is spiced you take it to the back where open flames are constantly on the go, but be sure not to lose you slip as you will need it when you return to collect your meat. 

The meat was well cooked and tender and the short ribs were a highlight for me. While overall the meat lacked seasoning I enjoyed the shisa nyama flame flavour. 

Whilst your meat is cooking you can walk over to what is considered the restaurant side of the establishment and order sides of pap, bread, ushatini (raw tomato, onion and chilli salsa/sambals) and chakalaka (spicy bean, carrot, vegetable atchar and tomato relish). Unfortunately we were told the chakalaka was finished so we opted for the pap and sambals. 

All facilities make allowance for a take away option if you just want to order, braai and enjoy at home or have usu and pap as a take away with any of the offered sides. 

Walking over to the other end we were greeted by a well stocked bar where you can order anything from soft drinks to your premium champagnes.  I won’t lie, the food and drinks were on the pricy side, but the overall vibe and atmosphere more than made up for it, not even counting the large outside area and an upstairs lounge and VIP area. 

All in all, we three ladies were able to enjoy the evening for a sum total of R682.40, which included some extra meat which took as a takeway.
The toilet facilities are clean but could be better maintained. There’s also a car wash and an African cuisine restaurant next door. 

The most convenient part about visiting KwaMac is that it offers two ATM machines on the premises. What makes KwaMax special is that get a true township shisa nyama vibe, along with lively and colourful patrons. 

With Max’s catering to events and local acts of any given day you really are in for an entertaining  time. 

Our food bill came to RR373,40 and covered 8 chicken wings, 4 beef short ribs and 2 beef chuck steaks, wors and kidneys, pap and ushatini. Our drinks bill totalled R309 which covered 2 double Jameson’s (R96 per double) and tonic water plus soft drinks and one Hunters Dry.


** Metro Gents reviewed by Buhle Mbonambi 
B 277 Umlazi
074 266 3608

How do you judge the perfect shisa nyama spot? For me, it’s whether locals frequent the place. It’s like when you’re visiting another country and want an authentic experience  you look where the locals go. 

It’s the same with shisa nyama spots. Magic Gents in B-Section in Umlazi, south of Durban, was teeming with locals when we visited. It was reassuring to get this stamp of approval. 

Metro Gents  is a township house converted into a double story shisa nyama, tavern and butchery. What I found interesting is that most of the patrons preferred to sit outside instead of inside, which actually looked really good. These guys had their cars parked nearby and played the latest house and kwaito songs. I laughed as two ladies had a short dance-off to current kwaito hit song, Wololo by Babes Wodumo. 

If you do visit,  make sure you come early because there’s hardly any parking. 
Now onto the meat: I want to know what they use to marinate their meat as it was lip-smacking-ly delicious. We ordered the beef platter, which came with liver and boerewors and even though it’s not the best I have ever had, it was enough to make me want to go back. I probably will. 

The meat was really tender, which I appreciated because I hate nothing more than my teeth fighting with a piece of meat. I would have enjoyed the wors a bit more had it been braaied for longer, but it was edible. I’m not a liver person, but I enjoyed it.  The meat was served with chakalaka, which was a tad too spicy for me. If I skipped the pap because, well, I prefer eating meat. We did take some home and my friend enjoyed it. 
If you want sambals and other condiments, you can always order it. There’s a variety of meat on offer, with beef, chicken and wors obviously the most popular.

For a busy day, I was more than impressed with the service at Metro Gents. I didn’t wait too long to be seated and best of all, they were attentive. 

What I really apreciated was not having to wait a long time for my meat. I’ve waited longer for my meat order at various other shisanyama joints. Maybe it was because we were with a regular patron.  I did ask the other patrons how the service was at the establishment and most of them were happy. 

But the best thing for me, and what made Gents Meat special,  was that it was authentic. There was no pretentiousness, always a plus for me. I didn’t feel like I needed to wear my Friday evening best to go eat meat. With my hands.

Oh, and if you feel like you want to wear your Friday best, there is a VIP section, bar area with good selection of fine liquor and spirits and a DJ.  But then you will be missing out on the action, outside. 

The meal, with drinks, came to a total of R350. Between three people that’s actually reasonable. 


Central Durban

Zig Zag Bar and Grill reviewed by Meleney Cunniff
Berea Centre, Berea road
Telephone: 031 829 1583 / or Jabu on 078 418 1668.

It took me several attempts to have a meal at the Zig Zag Bar and Grill but I 
am glad I persevered.  

More a club with an eating area than restaurant,  Zig Zag is a big mixture of bar, lounge, slots gaming area, DJ booth with dance area and restaurant.  According to the charming ‘brother of 3rd owner’ who finally let me in, they open ‘past 11 every day and don’t have closing hour’. I think he was perhaps a bit alarmed at me,  ‘a women of a certain age’ who kept peering in the door to see if the place was open yet for lunch and assured me that I was welcome and ‘we don’t chase away people’.  No but perhaps posting opening hours will help?

Anyway, once the door was finally open I had a very enjoyable visit.  I placed my order at the self service counter at the back and was given a table number with assurance that my meal would be brought to me anywhere in the club. As I was the only patron for lunch, I chatted to the barman (same brother of 3rd owner) about the Zig Zag Bar and Grill.  

I was charmingly given lots of information: you can call for take-away orders but they don’t deliver; on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays they have waiter service; from Thursdays to Sundays there are bouncers on the door between 6pm and 6am; the DJ plays weekends only; they have a full bar (I noticed the Johnny Walker bottle was very low but he assured me they had plenty of backups) and they are famous for the house specialty: Izoso (t-bone, wors, pap & chakalaka for R47.50).

I elected to sit in the black and white themed restaurant area (rather than either of the leather lounge areas) where I could choose from low or high tables.  The restaurant is very clean and spacious (I suspect the tables are moved at night to make dance floor bigger) although there was a smell of stale smoke coming from the slots area.  The large table talkers, which featured colourful pictures of the food, also listed some of the bar menu, including a cocktail selection with heavy sexual innuendo on the names.

My ¼ chicken was served in a barbeque sauce with a different (and strange) sauce on the side (apparently a mix of bottled tomato sauce and garlic sauce), with sweet and spicy baked beans, carrots and chili chakalaka.  A generic hot dog roll and a bowl of chips rounded out the meal. 


My verdict on the Zig Zag Bar is that service was attentive and friendly, the ‘thump thump’ music was at a reasonable level for lunchtime, and the food was good but not exceptional.  Both the brother-of-the-owner and the car guard confirmed that the bar was safe, security tight and lots of parking available and I was beseeched to return ‘anytime’ between 6pm and 6am to fully appreciate the Zig Zag bar.  I might just do that. 


** Meat Junction reviewed by Meleney Cunniff
Shop 7, Sylvester Ntuli Rd
031 337 2503

The Meat Junction is a shisa nyama that feels more like a casual family restaurant with the odd work function crowd tossed in for good measure.  

The very busy location on Sylvester Ntuli Road has a mural with the following message: “We’ve journeyed from Kinshasa to Khayelitsha and Monrovia to Mogadishu in search of meat made to perfection the traditional way to go with fufu, jolof, ugali, ipapa or any starch you prefer and a perfect dash of spice ….”  It goes on to describe the herbs and spices, the flavours (smokey taste) and again reiterates that the meal is ‘made and served to perfection’.

In true shisa nyama style you encounter a cold fridge with raw meat as soon as you enter the premises (but the delicious smell of a braai greets you blocks away).  The service is very efficient and I was promptly confronted with many choices:  type of meat, how would I like it cooked, would my friend and I like it all served together, how should it be cooked, would I like salt, spices or sauce on the meat, and which side dishes would I prefer. 

Let’s go back to the meat offering though.  I could choose from rump, T-bone, fillet, blade, chuck, brisket, lamb chops, chicken, lamb ribs and more.  These were all ‘braaied’ on a very long grill directly behind the very knowledgeable and efficient hostess who weighed the meat and rang up the price (pay per kilo) as she continued to talk you into ordering one or more of the side dishes:  chakalaka, grilled vegetables, roast potato salad, potatoes (presumably roasted?) coleslaw, green salad (a first!), steamed bread, pap or phutu.  You could also order fruit cocktail or tea to drink.  Alcohol was sold separately at the next counter.  

The large seating area is very noisy, well lit and has a friendly vibe.  That observation might have stemmed from the group of giggling young Indian ladies who were wrestling at a nearby table.  The hustle and bustle of smiling people delivering cutlery, lots of napkins and toothpicks to tables ahead of the food lent an air of a busy, friendly restaurant.
 I was just confused about who was doing the hustling and bustling though.  Somehow the two gentlemen (one very tall and one very short) in black suits, black shirts and shiny black shoes did not quite fit in with the other waiters / runners.  Somehow in the bustling about we were forgotten and it took a while for our food to arrive.  When it did though it was worth the wait.

We had ordered two slices of Ujeqe bread (delicious)one fresh juice, one still water, boerewors and chuck steak to the value of R140.86.  A bit more pricey than the out of town shisa nyama places but still not unreasonable for two to share. 

On the downside was that we had asked for the meat to be cooked to medium but the chuck stead was very very very well done and the wors was pink.  The chakalaka (beans, carrots, onions and chilli) and coleslaw thoughtfully came portioned into sectioned dishes (two to share). 

It was a bit disconcerting that my friend kept checking on my car (apparently not a great part of town to leave a car) but despite this small setback I will definitely go back.  This time though I check first if a very large work party table is inside just in case my meat is forgotten on that long grill again.


Inkunzi Meats reviewed by Buhle Mbonambi
Umbilo Road

I’ve always wondered who came with the idea of take-away shops. Whether it’s coffee, cakes or a full meal, they are brilliant. 

Now take-away shisa nyama may sound rather strange to you. Yes, the culture of shisa nyama means that you sit down at the venue, have a drink and  and enjoy the meat and the company of your friends, but culture evolves.

Inkunzi is a butchery but also serves shisa nyama. For me it’s a perfect midweek lunch break spot, where you come pick your meat, have it braaied for you and then you take it back with you to work or wherever. 

I ordered my meat, which was braaied perfectly. I decided to skip on the wors and instead have a bit of chicken. I’m not generally a fan of chicken, but I did enjoy it. Was the meat delicious? Hell yeah! 

The service at Inkunzi was really nothing to write home about- they were competent and don’t have any bells and whistles and that’s why I think it works more as a take-away spot rather than a proper shisanyama spot. My friend and I were one of the few people at the premises when we placed our orders. There’s a good selection of meats available and condiments include chakalaka, and various other chilli base sauces. 

Would I go back? Yes, I would. But as I stated above, it’s more of a take-away spot rather than a place to go and chill and eat meat. It has potential to be a bigger spot in the city if they possibly move to a better locale.

Cost? A very reasonable R180 for two people which included drinks. - 


Kwamashu

* One and Only Lounge reviewed by Lungi Nhlanhla 
E943 Sidiya Place
 KwaMashu
(082 964 3289??)

One and Only Lounge is a trendy location just off the main road in the township of KwaMashu, the north of Durban. It is a great place to have a contemporary shisa nyama experience. 

When you first arrive at the lounge you uld be a mistaken for a lodge with but once you enter you a welcomed by the lively music. The open vast space allows for different seating options. If you want to enjoy the and interact then you can make use of the picnic table and bench set up under umbrellas or thatched roofing, roof top area makes use of a lovely cocktails tables and chair setup which gives you an overview of the KwaMashu township, but if you are feeling a bit more mellow then chill in the inside lounge which is also reserved for VIP’s.

With a vast bar supply we were able to be catered for from your premium whiskey, cider and non-alcoholics, I found the pricing very affordable to cater for all patrons. We arrived on a not so busy evening but were greeted and attended with great enthusiasm. 

Ordering what was available as we came during the week, chicken wings, wors and beef chuck steaks. All the meat was well spiced and marinated and prepared over an open fire. Once ready was brought to our table. The wors wasn’t the greatest but the chicken and was juicy and chuck still tender. With it not being such a busy night side dishes were not readily available but our lovely mama who took great care of us was more than willing and happy to quickly whip us up some tasty pap and ushatini (raw tomato, onion and chilli salsa/sambals) which was ready just in time as the meat arrived. Served on a traditional wooden platter (ugqoko) it really added to traditional shisa nyama culture.

With two toilet facilities to cater for inside and outside patron, I found them both clean and very well maintained. Car wash facilities are also available just a stone throw away which had a vibe of its own catering more to the locals and more lively crew of people that prefer the street braai scene. 

We were able to enjoy the shisa nyama until night fall. In total we were able to enjoy the evening as three ladies for a sum total of R431 with some extra meat which we got to have as a well prepared takeaway. 

One and only really has a homely feeling despite its size and all the staff are ready, willing an available to be of service to you, constantly making you feel at home without being overbearing. 

Our food bill came to 270 which included 2 wors, 5 chicken wings, 3 beef chuck steaks and pap and ushatini.  Our driks bill came to R161 which includes two double Jame sons, a Huners Dry and soft drinks.  


Chesterville 

* Café Skyzer reviewed by Lungi Nhlanhla 
96 Gardens Drive, Durban
079 470 2509

Café Skyzer or “eSkyzer” as its better known to locals, is a quaint location on the main road between the township of Chesterville and Mayville suburb. It is situated in the heart of Chesterville and you really feel in middle of it all.

Sadly when we arrived the area had a power outage, but that didn’t take away from their friendly and-willing-to-accomodate-you greeting.  

Although not a large space you still feel you can create your own space. Be it inside or out, both areas which have a lounge set up. The low walls also allow you to still feel like you are part of the township without being on the street. 

You can choose specific meats to be cooked for you over an open flame or opt for the sharing a set platter of spiced wors, chicken wings, beef brisket, short ribs, fried chips, pap, steam bread (ujeqe) and chakalaka (spicy bean, carrot, vegetable atchar and tomato relish), which is what we opted for as it’s better value. 

The platter was brought to our table once ready with great presentation. The meat was tender, but the highlight for me was chicken wings, tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, as the spicy wors. 

As out time continued and with the power returning along with the vibe and music, we were still being continuously well looked after and constantly checked on even as more patrons gathered. With a well-stocked bar and very reasonable prices, each person is able to enjoy anything from hard to soft drinks. 

The owner Bless has really created a hospitable environment and doesn’t shy away from serving guests and being generally hands-on.

Toilet facilities are clean and well maintained. A car wash is around the corner and traditional African food is on offer next door. Each establishment makes use of each other’s services. 
Being there on a Sunday we were able to enjoy the atmosphere and have a shisa nyama Sunday experience until ightfall. In total we were able to enjoy the evening as a healthy group of 10 friends for a sum total of R675

Café Skyzer is special because it offers both a really down-to-earth shisa nyama and  real township experience that allows you to lounge and enjoy the atmosphere comfortably. 

Our food bill came to R440, which included two meat platters with meat and sides. Our drinks bill came to  R235, which included four double Glenfiddich and soft drinks 


Inanda 

* Under the Moon reviewed by Andrew Draper 
Inanda stop 8 (taxi’s), 53358 Curnick Ndlovu Road, Inanda(on the Inanda Heritage Route)
031 519 0841

You always know you’re in for an experience when you get out your car and the music is so great you do bopping dance steps to the entrance, and the bouncers greet you with huge welcoming smiles. 

The chef was bubbly, cute and effervescent. Her red bonnet perched jauntily over her hair net, while she proudly showed me her selection, of tasty cuts like, T-bone, brisket and chuck, huge, generous coils of fat, spicy and plain wors. 

Offal was well represented by dark rich liver and black tripe. I may have over ordered, because she shrieked and giggled, calling me a ‘Big Man’. When asked what extras I would like, I replied, all. An even louder shriek and more retorts of ‘BIG BIG MAN!’ while wielding a knife similar in size to her wonderfully compact (un-big) self. She helped us choose our cuts, readjusted her dark sunglasses and danced her way to the open fire.

Under the Moon is a unique premier lounge, but you are made welcomed  even if you are dressed casually like I  was (torn jeans, which may be the reason I was called Big Man). Other customers included a bevy of pretty ladies in elegant outfits with hats that would make the July event look rather dull. 

So, basically, Under the Moon is for everyone. I have never felt more welcome in my own city anywhere this way.

The staff proudly showed me around the many different experiences they have created in this two story venue.  An upmarket executive lounge with a large open veranda with a view over Inanda, with two very elegant private lounges for the many VIP’s that come here, a chilled downstairs elegant bar and restaurant that spilled over onto the covered outside dancefloor. There’s also a DJ box, that hosts the best DJ’s and dance events in Inanda , many spotless bathrooms, and several other places to chill. 

The DJ is enthusiastic and reads the crowd well, creating a convivial environment for everyone to enjoy the best of each other.
The bars are well stocked with a wide range of very well priced alcohol, and along with the largest collection of French Champagnes, Cognacs  and Whisky bottles that I have ever seen.  

The food arrived, and arrived, and arrived. Perfectly cooked, with soft squares of pap, fresh chutney, and the tastiest tripe ever, along with bean chakalaka, which my vegetarian guest wouldn’t share at all, but confirmed, via grunts and little squeaks of ecstasy, that it was indeed good.  All this, surrounded by multitudes of happy people, posing for selfies with us, offering us way too many drinks and enjoying good loud belly laughs.  

This is why I love Under the Moon and what makes it special. It wasn’t necessarily the chic private rooms, the elegant and relaxed bars, the infectious music and the crisp meat and smell of the shisa na. It was the people, and the passion of the staff, and an owner who is justifiably proud of his establishment. I returned several times and I each time was welcomed like family (even being introduced to fellow guests as ‘the man who showed us his bum’ never forgetting my first impression). 

This venue is large, it can be busy or intimately quiet, but, it is always welcoming. And for that reason, I will be ensconced in my favourite location often, the quieter second floor lounge ‘Esibhakabhaken’ above the pool tables, where I can hear everyone enjoy the DJ, whilst enjoying a feast made for me by the forever dancing uGogo with the red jaunty bonnet, enjoying the view over Inanda and Kwa Mashu with their lights shivering with energy, and reminding myself, how lucky I am to be a part of Durban . 

P.S. if you enjoy yourself too much… take advantage of the B&B… drive and party responsibly.  Ample secure parking, and security staff and CCTV 


* Sbu’s Lounge reviewed by  Meleney Cunniff
Road MR 93, House 11089, Amatikwe, Phase 2, Inanda 
031  510 2337

Sbu’s Lounge is on the main road between KwaMashu and Inanda and the perfect place to experience a true Inanda township vibe and shisa nyama eating.  It’s also close to the Gandhi Settlement, Inanda Seminary and Ohlanga High School, which was founded by John Dube,  the ANC’s first president. So it would make a good stop-off if you are visitting these historical sites.

While a few stray tourists or out of “towners” find their way to Sbu’s Tavern, it’s more of a local eatery and popular with residents. Quiet on weekdays,  and on the day we visited, it pumps at night and over weekends with live music entertaining not only the patrons but nearby residents.. 

Built and designed by Sbu himself it’s a double story building with a top deck offering wide views of  the township . Wanting an “African” feel, Sbu used an eclectic collection of tiles to create crazy mosaic-style patterns on the floors and pillars.  Local art on the walls add to its colourful décor. There’s also a VIP lounge, for yes, VIPs. 

Because we visited during the week,  there was not much of a choice in the downstairs butchery , which stored meat in display cabinets. While more supplies arrive while we were eating, we had a choice of brisket, chicken and livers. Apparently a large function the previous day had depleted their supplies but usually you can expect to find kidneys, brisket, chicken and different types of wors.

We ordered brisket and chicken which were braiied for us over an open flame and served to us at an outdoor table, along with chakalaka and a plate of sliced tomatoes.  
But before that, a bowl of water and clean towels were placed on our table to enable us to wash our hands.  Since traditional shisa nyama eating is about using your hands and sharing from a main platter, this makes sense. 

The brisket was tasty, but a little tough while the chicken was delicious, crispy and spicy on the outside and tender inside. We particuarly enjoyed the chakalaka which was carrots and beans in a tomato sauce. 

Sbu’s Lounge is not slick or sophisticated, but clean, colourful and cheerful. The vibe is welcoming and the service efficient.  What makes it special is that it truely reflects shisa nyama eating and hospitality. 

Good selection of drinks available from soft to hard tack.  Our meal came to R76 which easily fed three of us  and included three soft drinks. How cheap is that!  

Basic, but clean toilets.  Car washing facilities available. 


Clermont

* Tate's Kasi Grill 
121 Zazi Road Clermont, 3610.
082 833 1810

Situated in the heart of Western side of Durban in Mvuzane, Clermont Township is one of the best shisa nyama’s in the area called Tate’s Kasi Grill. 

This is a popular place for both locals from surrounding areas and those outside of Durban.

They have house deejays who plays old school music and latest hits.   The ambience is very inviting; the staffs are attentive and friendly too, considering that we went there on a busy day (Saturday). 

They serve mouth-watering selection of meats, from tender & juicy T-bone steak, succulent pork chops, boerewors, beef short ribs, super fresh ox liver, and cuts of chicken just to name but a few. 

I was very impressed how they braaied my meat; it was served as I requested …medium cooked T-bone basted in their secret sauce. I had to ask for the recipe, but like any eatery place they didn’t share it with me?.  The ox liver was so fresh, I was tempted to ask for a raw piece with salt that is how fresh it was. Pork chops were extremely moist and succulent, well-seasoned. 

I’m not a big fan of carbs; however I always make an exception when it comes to good stiff pap/ zadza/ fufu and steamed bread. Their stiff pap it’s so tasty and it just melts in your mouth. The combination of good meat, creamy pap and sambals was so heavenly. 
They have array of whiskies like J&B, Johnny Walker (Red, Black, Gold, double Black, Green and Blue), French champagne (Moet and Veuve clicquot), our local sparkling wine JC le Roux, bottled wines (Nederburg, Robertson and Four Cousins). There’s also ample selection of beers and ciders. 

Note to the owner: I would suggest that they separate the rest rooms especially since it is an establishment that serves alcohol. I personally did not feel that comfortable going to the rest room and finding guys there, not that anything bad happened, but I did not like the idea especially in the evening nogal! 

Overall: The whole experience was absolutely delightful. I also love the fact that one get to meet people from all walks of life, the home away home feeling. As much as it was busy, the staff was on top of their game, when it came to service. 

P.S:  We had to pay R20 surety for a glass, which you get it back once you are done using the glass.

They are opened from Monday to Sunday.


** Comfort Zone Jazz Lounge 
48 Madondo, Road, Clermont 
061 319 6314

If you are a music fundi and want to explore kasi (townships) lifestyle without detaching from your ‘upper-class’ status Comfort Zone in Ndunduma,  Clermont it is a place to be. 

The deeply comforting, yet classy space replete with leather couches from which to vour the insanely delicious combination of music, fine wines, opulent whiskies, French champagne, delicious selection of African cuisines and  shisa nyama.

This is one of those places that will keep one guessing whether you are in a proper kasi or maybe you got lost along the way and ended up somewhere in uMhlanga. 

First and foremost you need to look presentable; no sneakers, flip flops, caps or hat are allowed within the premises.  So don’t be surprised if you see men rocking up in their suits and ladies in their little black dresses and stilettos… most of the patrons who were there wore jeans, shirts, coats/blazers/sweaters and formal shoes. 

I then asked one of the staff member why is everyone so well dressed -  I was worried that maybe we gate-crashed someone’s party – but he told me that one needs to look presentable; after all it is about class and elegance. Thank goodness I was not looking that bad in my black floor length skirt, white Victorian lace blouse and the signature Ghanaian print doek (head wrap) 

The food selection is very impressive. There’s a variety that one can choose from like…usu (cooked tripe), jeqe (steamed bread), boiled Cornish chicken, variety of platters, sticky wings and potato chips. 

The shisa nyama section provides selection of T-bone steak, brisket, lamb chops, pork chops, ox liver and chicken mixed portion.  The pork chops was cooked into perfection. It was juicy, well-seasoned, the boerewors was my ultimate favourite, so as their sticky chicken wings.  For the side dishes one can choose from creamy spinach, butternut, chakalaka, and beetroot salad.

Overall: It is a really posh place, where Durban’s crème de-la crème hangout, from the well-known television & radio personalities frequent the place not forgetting politicians too.  There is also ample parking space. 


** Emseni Butchery 
52 Zazi Road Clermont 
079 565 4517 or 081 710 7272


This is one of many shisa nyama one would find in Clermont. It is easily accessible. 
The vibe over the weekend it is okay, however during the weekdays it can be pretty quiet. 

What impressed me the most was that, unlike any other shisa nyama I visited, Emseni they make their own boerewors, which is quite tasty and has a hint of mild chilli.
The meat selection is average, which includes a selection of beef, ox liver and chicken wings. 

It is divided into section, the bottom part is where one can braai their meat, relax and enjoy it or one can go upstairs where they also sell alcohol. If you do visit this place in winter or in the evening, I highly recommend that you bring a scarf or a jacket it can be ridiculously cold since it is open plan. 

Alcohol selection is pretty average, with standard entry level wines like Nederburg barone, Robertson natural sweet and boxed wine. Beers, ciders and whiskies are also available.

I did enjoy my visit, the meat was okay, the stiff pap was exceptional and sambals. 
Overall: It is an average place, with friendly staff and the owner Jeff Kambule, is very helpful. 

Note to the owner: The restrooms do need a bit of improvement. 

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Read more on: reviews  |  south africa
 

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