While the Moyo chain of restaurants has focused on the traditional South African cuisine and dining experience, Urban Moyo at 24 Central is bringing something new to the party. The newly-opened restaurant, owned by Gugu Zuma and part of the Fournews group, distils Pan-African food and beverage into a fun, contemporary experience that’s a great addition to Sandton, Joburg’s economic hub. What’s more, it capitalises on the trend of live fire cooking, with the majority of dishes prepared on an open flame.
The menu is cleverly put together, piquing the interest with Pan-African ingredients and elements sprinkled throughout – braaibroodjies, harissa, chermoula, morogo, biltong, boerenkaas, rooibos. “The menu creation process was a culmination of using our years of experience in the industry incorporating specifically what we have learnt from moyo, investigating food and consumer trends and infusing our culture and that of our team into the menu,” says Lynette Balie from Fournews, “All with the main goal of finding ways to open the African food culture up to more people more regularly.”
Dishes are divided into Kuumwa (Nibbles), Mkate (breads), Bakuli (salads), Ndogo (starters), Kitovu (slow-cooked dishes), Moto (from the fire and coal), Pamoja (platters serving 3-4) and Desserts. While meat is a big focus, vegetarians are catered for with a few innovative options such as Roasted Chermoula cauliflower steak, poached muscadel pears, shaved cauliflower, apple puree, pine nuts and lemon cream for mains, and Beetroot carpaccio, roast baby beets, mint feta cream, rocket hummus, pine nuts and orange vinaigrette.
So, what have been some of the most popular dishes since the restaurant opened a couple of months ago? First up is the Sirloin, which is flame grilled on the bone, with field mushrooms and spinach salad, breaded herb crumb, Madagascan green peppercorn and piquant pepper sauce. Next is our chicken dish, which sees deboned chicken thighs marinated in turmeric yoghurt and served with masala gravy, crushed aloo, poppadum, roasted carrot salad and green chutney. Last but not least is our Gin & Tonic dessert, which consists of G&T cheesecake, dark chocolate biscuit crumb, mango sorbet, ganache drops and Cape gooseberries.
The beverage side of the menu is just as interesting, with nine opulent signature cocktails that reflect each province by using ingredients and spirits from the region. Western Cape’s cocktail is made with Inverroche gin, Caperitif, white beach and bitters; KwaZulu-Natal’s cocktail is Bacardi Pineapple, Bacardi Carta Negra, fresh pineapple, spicy mango, lime juice, bitters and chill; and Free State’s is KWV 5 year old brandy with apricot, naartjie juice, lemon juice, bitters and apricot foam, presented in a glass cloche, surrounded by swirling smoke.
Perfectly complementing the well thought-out F&B is the service – the front of house team, dressed in stylish, colourful uniforms with bright pink accents, are excellent and incredibly helpful. “We have an internal training process with carefully crafted and specific training programmes aligned with our operating principles, primarily focusing on creating an experience. The recruitment process plays an integral part in the success of the and establishment of the service ethic,” says Lynette.
Take a closer look at Urban Moyo below: