We were in Sea Point and my client wanted some springbok for lunch. I draw a blank for a quick lunch venue serving venison and called one of my colleagues who lives in the area. He suggested Mama Tembo Cafe on the corner of Main and Oliver Roads.
What a lovely find! I can’t believe I didn’t know about it. It’s the perfect venue for typical South African fare without the extended dancing and traditional music that most ‘African’ restaurants offer. At Mama Tembo’s Cafe you get excellent service, good inexpensive food, and the streetlife of Sea Point, complete with minibus taxis screeching to a halt with the ‘gaatjie’ jumping out to attract more customers. I grew up in this suburb but don’t often go there these days so I was quite happy to sit and watch the passers-by and street activities that are such a part of my childhood.
My client had springbok skewers, served with vegetables, which he declared to be as tender and tasty as could be. I wasn’t very hungry so opted for a small portion of mussels. It’s not a typically African dish but the sauce had a nice little spicy tang to it which I enjoyed. They were served with good home-made bread and I was given extra sauce without even asking for it. We were also given a portion of fries made from ‘pap’ – a maize-meal mixture that is a typically local accompaniment to most meals, usually served with a relish of tomato and onion. They were excellent! Craft beer is on tap so we were happy to try a Devil’s Peak brew.
The decor is fun and colourful but not over the top, and the walls are full of artwork that is all for sale. There’s a little cocktail bar outside, some rooftop construction promising extra space and great views, and they have Sunday braais.
I will definitely go back to Mama Tembo’s Cafe!