The Kitchen Thief | Off The Wall Pop-Up Restaurant
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Off The Wall Pop-Up Restaurant

I was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement upon arrival at+27design café one chilly Saturday evening.
I’d missed the previous pop-up, I wasn’t going to miss another one.

I first came across Khanya Mzongwana (aka Yulu Ishii) while browsing my favourite local foodie magazine Taste, and promptly decided I needed to stalk her every move on social media.
The Taste article featured her Off The Wall Pop-up restaurant that takes place monthly in the Capital city, the place I grew up. After bumping into her (accidentally I swear!) at Capital Craft in Pretoria, we exchanged numbers. She was now honour bound to invite me to her next pop-up. Score!

My beautiful partner in (food) crime, Dani, couldn’t make it due to the little baby growing in her tummy. My lucky (and terribly dashing) fiancé Nick had the pleasure of enduring my overly-enthusiastic drive to Pretoria.

Khanya and I had already snuck in a shoot together since our meeting, so I KNEW to expect remarkable flavour combinations delivered with a casual finesse. A feast for the eyes as well as the soul.
Each pop-up aims to take diners on a different taste adventure from around the world. This month was Indian cuisine – but – as always, with a Khanya-twist.

Guests are encouraged to take their time and engage with their food, without needing to worry about things like being overly polite or cutlery. Luckily neither of these things phase Nick and I and we were ready to dig in.

We had lovely table partners, flowing drinks and plenty to chat about. Nearby the soothing sounds of DJ Bubbles (Sakhile Ndlazi) on the decks provided a cool, jazzy background to the fun. As Nick and I were on assignment for The Kitchen Thief, our meal was fully vegan. Whether Nick liked it or not. He did. Khanya will always accommodate dietary requirements with an open mind so just make sure she is aware of your specific needs.




The first course was a creamy sweet potato and coconut dahl with fried pumpkin seeds, served with fresh tomato sambal flavoured with tamarind and dill. This was served family-style with toasted pitas and naan.





Next up was delicious curried roast butternut salad with the most divine warm peanut and chilli dressing. Khanya was kind enough to share the recipe with us, so look out for that below! :)


The course was the one that I was most surprised by. The rice fritters with fresh peas and pineapple atchar blew us away. Who knew that rice could be transformed from a side dish to a crispy, flavoursome main meal that tasted like more.


The cauliflower Kerala curry was served with beetroot biryani was so warm and comforting. I loved the addition of beans and pomegranates in the rice, it made for an interesting combination and went well with the spice of the Kerala curry  Something I’d love to try at home!




I absolutely cannot wait for the next one. If you’d like to follow Khanya’s work check out her Facebook page and Instagram for more foodspiration.


Curried Roasted Butternut Salad w Warm Peanut Dressing x Fresh Herbs

Serves 4
1 large butternut, quartered lengthwise
2 T masala
20ml olive oil
1 T vegetable seasoning
Usually the recipe would call for 20ml of honey but can be replaced with maple syrup for strict vegans
Preheat the oven to 180°C. In an ovenproof dish, place the butternut quarters down and rub with some of the olive oil, vegetable seasoning, maple syrup and masala. Cover with foil and roast for about 30 minutes or until tender but firm. Remove foil and place oven on grill function for five minutes or until butternut is golden brown and slightly charred on the edges.
20g chopped leeks
5g grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
80g peanut butter
1 tin coconut cream
45ml thick soy sauce
10g red skin peanuts, chopped
1 pack mixed salad leaves
1 handful pomegranate kernels to garnish
To make the sauce, heat a heavy bottomed pot and add the rest of the oil. Gently fry the leeks, ginger and garlic until fragrant. Pour in the coconut cream and soy sauce and stir gently. Once it start simmering, add the peanut butter and whisk out any lumps. Allow to simmer further for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn of the heat and cool slightly.
To serve, place one butternut quarter on each plate, garnish with fresh herbs, scatter with red skin peanuts and pomegranate seeds and drizzle with the warm peanut dressing. Enjoy!
1 Comment
  • Anthi

    July 7, 2016 at 8:52 pm Reply

    Looks amaze-balls!

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