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Issue 18
Africa Travel> Issue 18
UPDATED: August 7, 2015
Moyo serves up glorious traditional African cuisine in a creative eclectic setting
By Jo Kromberg

The Rock Room is perfect for private functions (MOYO.CO.ZA)

"Eat when the food is ready, speak when the time is right," says an Ethiopian proverb.

And the time is right to speak about the food at Moyo…

Having achieved almost global status as one of the most uniquely traditional African cuisine restaurant chains, a visit to Moyo is a culinary journey.

The Moyo African feast experience has become legendary. The idea is to create a revelation – and much like the dance of the seven veils, the Marble Arch Moyo restaurant in Rosebank Johannesburg in South Africa, surprises and delights you at every turn. And that's just at the entrance!

Live jazz band (MOYO.CO.ZA)

We are warmly greeted on this chilly Sunday and shown to our table. We prefer to sit outside on the square despite the cold weather and besides, the restaurant provides blankets and heaters in this area. A hand-washing ceremony with wonderful warm water follows as the waiter brings a bowl to your table. A wonderful live band plays jazz in the background to set the mood and as the afternoon goes on, they become livelier to the delight of the guests.

Our menus arrive promptly, shortly followed by starter platters consisting of cheese samosas, crocodile pastries, vegetable samosas and flat bread with dipping sauces. Also to tuck into here are Nigerian sweet potato and chick pea koftas, Durban curry mince samosas and Cameroon beef skewers in soya sauce. All pronounced exceptionally delightful by my party. Another typically African morsel (which we did not partake of) served as part of your starter, is the ubiquitous Mopane worm, a staple part of the diet in rural areas and considered a delicacy in the cities. Mopane worms are hand-picked in the wild, often by women and children. In the bush, the caterpillars are not considered to belong to the landowner (if found), but around a house permission should be sought from the resident. They are served deep fried in spicy seasoning.

Copper features prominently at Moyo (MOYO.CO.ZA)

Starters are soon followed by main courses of Lamb and Chickpea Tagine which consists of Karoo lamb slow cooked with tagine spice in tomato, peach, ginger and coriander sauce.

The lamb is fall-off-the bone tender with a hint of cinnamon and clove. Perfect as a winter stew. In between all this feasting I take a little tour of the venue.

The architecture and décor is unlike anything you have ever seen. Incorporating African elements everywhere and situated over 4 levels going underground, it is the ideal venue for a variety of corporate events. From smaller year-end functions in one of the private function rooms like the Blue room or the Rock room. This entire latter level is ideal for an exclusive function and can be transformed into a nightclub environment with live entertainment on the build in stage and two bar areas.

Set in Johannesburg's trendy Marble Arch (MOYO.CO.ZA)

The stage level and mezzanine level overlook the main stage area and is an ideal area for smaller events that does not require exclusivity.

This 350-seater restaurant is clad in copper with pressed pebble walls and absolutely embodies Africa's finest urban cuisine offerings. As I am to confirm as I return to the table for some Oxtail Amos, their famous oxtail braised with butterbeans and carrots in red wine beef jus.

They also serve a variety of Deluxe Sandwiches such as Kudu bobotie mince with baby leaf salad, peppadews, avocado, cucumber and sprinkle nuts and also Cameroonian Beef Suya made of slivers of beef with suya spice, grilled eggplant, chickpea dip, roasted peppers and baby marrows.

The seafood and steak dishes all come highly recommended. There is also a delicious variety of vegetarian dishes such as Lentil Curry Potjiekos, which consists of three types of lentils with beans, slow cooked with tomato and Malay curry masala.

For dessert I have the decadent Bread and Butter pudding and my companions have the to-die-for Rooibos Tea Crème Brûlée with orange and chilli salsa, and West African chocolate dipped tuile.

Prices at Moyo, considering the quality of food and service, are exceptionally reasonable with a typical main course priced at about $12.

I shall end this review with another African proverb: "Words are sweet but they can never take the place of food." There you go…

Staff always ready to sing (MOYO.CO.ZA)



Moyo Melrose Arch, in Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa is open every day of the week between 11 am and 11 pm.

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