Locals often tend to avoid restaurants that are popular among tourists. For some reason we all assume these establishments are nothing more than tourist traps. Sometimes such assumptions are not only incorrect, it constricts us from exploring the culinary avenues of our rainbow nation.
Think about it. When last did you enjoy an authentic African meal? Braaivleis and potjiekos aside. Struggling to remember? You are not alone.
It took a friend’s raving review on Facebook to convince me to give GOLD Restaurant in Cape Town a try. The name of the place is by no means new to me. The restaurant’s social media presence has increased significantly over the past couple of months and it was GOLD’s informative Facebook page and my friend’s online recommendation that finally convinced me to make a booking.
This African-inspired restaurant recently relocated from its previous Strand Street premises to Greenpoint’s Bennet Street Venue, previously home to Trinity nightclub. The new location offers ample space and the building comes with a whole lot of charm. Exposed brick and timber beams with slick contemporary finishes and subtle architectural details create the perfect backdrop for the vibrant introduction to the colourful culture, tastes and sounds of Africa.
On the evening of our visit we decided to join the pre-dinner interactive Djembe drumming session. Each participant receives a hand crafted Djembe drum to play and are led by a dynamic young facilitator, who sports a great sense of humour. The drumming experience was extremely memorable and placed a fat smile on my face.
After a soothing hand washing ceremony, one of the friendly hostesses accompanied us to our table which was situated in the Timbuktu room. Something that stood out during our dinning experience was the service. The staff at GOLD are genuinely friendly. Francis, our host of the evening, explained each course in detail. He was very helpful when it came to selecting wines from the extensive and well priced wine list and even cracked a couple of jokes through service.
What an African feast we had! Apart from the Cape Malay and South African-inspired dishes, the 14 course seasonal menu takes you on a journey through numerous countries that form part of the African continent. All dishes are made to perfection. The portions are big and rich and there’s no way you’ll leave hungry.
The African-inspired shows that takes place during dinner service creates the ultimate vibe and include dancers, singers and the ever entertaining Mali Puppets.
It was an evening filled with fun, laughter, African rhythms, friendly faces, and exceptional African cuisine. The whole experience made me realise just how spoiled us South African’s are. Spoiled to such an extend, that we forget to touch base with our roots and explore the magic, the charm, the people and the cuisine our own continent have to offer.
Is Gold Restaurant just another tourist trap? Not by a long shot! For only R260 per person you can feast on a 14 course menu that will not only satisfy your cultural hunger, it will also awake that African spirit that was almost forgotten.