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!