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…
Eco-friendly Gardening and Fishing
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
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.
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.
Preparing 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
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.
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:
Mussles served with celery grown in the restaurant’s eco-friendly garden.
Moyo Organic Pap
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 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!
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