Dax and Joanne stirring pots

I’ve wanted to explore or rather have a Moyo cooking experience and see what goes down in their kitchen for a while now.

Two years ago, I called and emailed the guys at Moyo Spier asking for an opportunity to cook with them and feature the restaurant on this blog.  For whatever reason that did not materialize but I ended up writing a post about spending a Sunday afternoon at Moyo Spier.

I’m not one to give up on things I want especially things I believe in.  Plus, they always say ask and it shall be given to you.   Therefore, a few months ago I again asked the guys at Moyo to invite me to their kitchen, let me cook, have a chat with their chef and try out a few of their dishes.  To my surprise, they agreed!  I got the invite to go and explore the Moyo cooking, wining and dining experience.  What made the experience even more interesting is that it was not just me that was invited.  There were two food and wine writers and we all took part in the cook-off, Joanne Gibson and Dax Villanueva.

Upon our arrival, we had our faces adorned with what I would call a Moyo trademark facepaint.  Nowadays whenever you see a person with a creative artwork on their faces you unmistakeably know they have been / just came from Moyo.  We were offered some juice and guess what?  You chose the colour of the juice you wanted.  They were offering between green, yellow and red…

Thuli painted face

Eco-friendly Gardening and Fishing

Jason took us through their farming system...Its so cool!

Jason took us through their farming system…Its so cool!

 

With the colourful drinks on our hands, we were taken though their aquaponic system which grows fish and vegetables such as celery, lettuce and herbs.  Both fish and vegetables are used at the restaurant.   Some of the benefits of using this urban farming system are that it is estimated 70% energy efficient than conventional farming.  It uses 90% less water and one gets to save on labour and time.

Preparing the Moyo Flatbread

We were preparing dough for Moyo Flatbread

We were preparing dough for Moyo Flatbread

The cook-off began immediately after that, we started off by preparing the Moyo flat bread.  The recipe and ingredients were neatly placed on our cooking stations.  Preparations commenced and the dough had to rise for 30 minutes.  We had a beer tasting while the dough was fermenting.  We returned to the kitchen to finish preparing the dough, one of the ladies from the kitchen showed us how she prepares flatbread.  A lot of rolling goes into it….after each of us finished preparing the breads we got to have a look at the breads we prepared.  Apparently mine looked like the map of Africa (that was the joke in the kitchen).  We each got to taste our flat breads and compare them to Chef Rudi’s.   Let’s just say, I understood why my flatbread was an object of hilarity.

 

Joanne and Thuli tasting their rather "crispy" flatbreads

Joanne and Thuli tasting their rather “crispy” flatbreads

Beer Tasting

Jason, the barman took us through their selection of beers.  Unfortunately, I don’t drink beer (it’s too bitter for my palate) but I was offered champagne.

Joanne and Dax tasting beer

Joanne and Dax tasting beer

Preparing Samaki Kavu

Chef Rudi helped me prepare the Tanzanian dish, Samaki Kavu

Chef Rudi helped me prepare the Tanzanian dish, Samaki Kavu

 

We started preparing Samaki Kavu, a Tanzanian fish dish fish cooked in a spicy peanut butter sauce.  Each one of us prepared the dish with the help of Chef Rudi and his assistants.  I learned something from this experience.  Even though the three of us had the same recipe and ingredients, our dishes came out totally different.   It made me worry about how my recipes turn out when my readers are preparing them at home, but that’s a topic for another day.

Catching and Tasting Fresh Fish

Jason from Moyo catching fresh fish

Jason from Moyo catching fresh fish

 

We eagerly witnessed fresh fish being caught from one of the tanks outside the restaurant and immediately put in ice cold water then straight to the kitchen.   It was served with harrisa, potato chips and harrisa mayonnaise.

 

Fish 1

 

Interrogating the Moyo Menu:

This was my favourite part.  I mean how often does one get to taste several dishes from a restaurant menu?  These are some of the items we got to try out:

Moyo Flatbread

Moyo Flatbread prepared by Chef Rudi

Moyo Flatbread prepared by Chef Rudi

 

Samaki Kavu

Samaki Kavu

Samaki Kavu

Mussles served with celery grown in the restaurant’s eco-friendly garden.

Mussels served with fresh bread

Mussels served with fresh bread

 

Moyo Organic Pap

Organic Pap

Organic Pap

 

Eastern Cape Calamari

Eastern Cape Calamari

Eastern Cape Calamari

Moyo Mousse –which has been on the menu for 10 years and it’s still divine.  It happens to be one my favourite items on the Moyo menu.

Moyo Mousse

Moyo Mousse

Moyo hot sponge pudding served with custard

Hot Sponge Pudding served with Custard

Hot Sponge Pudding served with Custard

 

Did I mention we also tasted the Lentil Bobotie and their scrumptious Cheese Samoosas? Our meals were accompanied by Fairtrade wines, coffee and (Sshhhh you didn’t hear it from me)….some tequila!

Tasting the Lentil Bobotie

Tasting the Lentil Bobotie

Some of the things I have learnt about Moyo restaurant, the people behind it and their philosophy:

  • They take pride in what they have to offer their customers.  They know their ingredient sources.
  • The quality of their ingredients is paramount.
  • Ingredients used in their dishes are sourced from different parts of the continent, which is what I call an African restaurant.  Going through their menu one can immediately see some of the ingredients are described where they are from e.g. Eastern Cape Calamari.  I say kudos to their buying team.
  • They are so strict about hygiene.   You do not get into Chef Rudi’s kitchen without washing your hands or wearing a hairnet.
  • Their consistently remarkable use of spices whether in starter, main or dessert.   They come through beautifully.

I had a blast and I’m sure you would agree with me when I say it is an amazing way of spending the day!  Thank you to Moyo and their team for organising the cook-off.  I have tons of respect for them and admire their passion and that of their staff members. Click here to see more pics.

Follow Moyo Restaurant on twitter and Instagram: @MoyoSA

Have a look at their website: www.moyosa.co.za

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6 Response Comments

  • Kit  July 23, 2013 at 6:57 am

    Sounds like a fascinating and fun day! It is interesting how different people cooking the same recipe can get very different results – even the same person on two different days. And even something as simple as bread comes out differently for different people. Guess that’s what keeps life interesting. And hopefully it should make us all less precious about sharing our recipes too!

    Reply
    • Thuli  July 23, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Hi Kit, I really had an AMAZING time! The variation in recipe outcome is really interesting. It’s also like that when working in the factory. You can have the same recipe, ingredients from the same batches, same processing specifications but the results will be different. I guess we have to be challenged somehow hey! Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Reply
  • Flee  July 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Hey Thuli
    Ohhh Wow, that Sponge pud doing the backstroke in that custard… What I would give for that right now.
    Looks amazing, and thanks for sharing.
    Flee

    Reply
    • Thuli  July 31, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Hahaha! You say its doing the backstroke huh? 🙂 You always crack me up! You are welcome Flee!

      Reply
  • usha singh  July 30, 2013 at 6:58 am

    love your post and oh that flat bread looks so divine

    Reply
    • Thuli  July 31, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks Usha! It’s divine (when prepared correctly :-))

      Reply

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