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Food24 eats at... Amazink

Sam Wilson has a blast at the new "dinner and show" venue, Amazink, in the Stellenbosch township of Kayamandi.

by: Sam Wilson | 13 Oct 2011
Amazink Live

Amazink Live is just that... amazing, with a great dollop of mzanzi-awesome chakalaka sauce on top.

It takes a lot to haul a Cape Town media chick into Kayamandi, a township just at the entrance of Stellenbosch, on a Tuesday evening... but from the moment I settled my slightly reluctant tush into that 6 pm taxi to the moment I settled it back around 11 pm, I had a blast.

The secret to the tourist township buck is to make the dinner experience feel like a cultural immersion, while being familiar at the same time. Seriously tough ask: and if you do manage it, how do you make the meal feel authentic and not contrived?

Yup. See why so few crack it?

I think AmaZink Live has managed, and more.

The venue

Afro-funky, colourful and rinky-dink zinky – Amazink brings verve and vibe from the Bashew cooldrink bottles you get on entry,  past the wall art of framed brick cell phones (play ‘spot your first phone’!), out to the unexpected amphitheatre overlooking the incredible Simonsberg mountain range. Gorgeous.

The food

This is the real secret to Amazink is that they manage to serve a set meal, en masse, without fucking up the food. I cannot stress this enough... because NOBODY, not Madame Zingara, not Vaudeville, gets that right. Bertus Basson (yup, of Overture, but without his fine dining kitchen gloves on) has been a genius with a menu that is authentically SA, but still broadly appealing. Cos who doesn’t love a good vetkoek and appelkoos konfyt combo? A perfectly spiced pickled fish, delectable lentil samoosa and solid boontjie slaai?

Mains of southern fried chicken (cos what’s more SA posh night out than gourmet KFC?) and the best boerie I’ve ever tasted (sorry Mzoli’s) were supported by samp ‘n’ beans and a soon-to-be-award-winning chakalaka. And the Jan Ellis pudding? If I thought it would survive the trip, I would have scaled one for my husband at home. Hell, and my children... only I don’t think I could have moved quickly enough to find that many spares.

Basson has given us the basics, just much better than we make it ourselves – which is definitely how you get me to show-off my country to others.

The show

A dinner show is a difficult thing. If it’s dull, it doesn’t matter how nice your food is... everyone is just focused on the ride home. With a light plot, lots of beautifully belted out SA standards (think Shoshaloza and N’kosi Sikelele, followed by Mango Groove crowd-pleasers) and a nifty musical ‘jousting’ element (boys singing from one end of the restaurant across to the girls on the other), the waiters/entertainers provided exactly the right accompaniment to Basson’s meal: egte accessible SAffers at home, being the best of themselves. I loved it.

And I’ll be back, with my German in-laws in tow, this holiday season. I am thinking it’s best to book early.

- Tickets are R300 per person for dinner and the show. Drinks are extra.
- There is a shuttle running from Stellenbosch town centre should you wish to use it.
- They will open for lunch including the show for a large enough booking.



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