An authentic, unconventional interpretation of modern Africa.
We dare not say “This is Africa” – instead we challenge
“WHAT IS AFRICA”
We embrace Africa’s darkness.
DARKNESS IN MAGIC, MYSTERY AND HISTORY.
We seek to entice the world to Africa’s alluring richness.
RICHNESS IN CULTURE, ENERGY AND RESOURCE.
We aim to tempt the world to Africa’s luscious abundance.
ABUNDANCE IN HERITAGE, CONTRAST AND FLAVOUR.
Africa is the root of mankind and thus of its creativity.
Rooted in tradition & bombarded by international influence.
Using traditional ritual and modern technique.
MOOTEE draws inspiration from this root.
FORGET WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT AFRICA!
As his eyes met the water next to where he had grown up, Baobab lifted his branches skywards. He had watched as generations of predator and prey came to drink and as he grew taller, he noticed the tall, slender trees around him bloom. How he wished he could be like them! At last he grew tall enough to see his own reflection. He was overjoyed. But when he looked down he was shocked, for he saw that he was not slender or decorated with flowers. He had a huge, fat and wrinkled trunk and pale leaves.
Appalled, he shouted up to the heavens, “Why? Why did you make me so ugly?” he cried. “You surround me with beautiful, slim trees dressed in fruit and luscious leaves. Why can’t I be more like them?”
So displeased was The Creator at Baobab’s whining that he reached down, plucked Baobab out of the ground and replanted him upside-down. With his head in the ground, Baobab could no longer see his own reflection. Since then, Baobab has been working in silence to pay off his ancient transgression by being the most functional and beneficial tree on earth.
#2 Kenyan Proverb
Annu, Jimmy, Nadja, Farooq, and Toma don’t know each other. In fact, they are not even from the same country. They don’t speak the same language, but somehow, each of them share a deeply bound connection with each of the others. From five distinctly different cultures in Africa, each country rooted in explicit conflict, these boys possess the ability to escape their traumatic realities.
First spoken thousands of years ago, the Kenyan proverb still rings deafeningly true today: “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers!”. When it comes to war and corruption, it is the smallest and most vulnerable that suffer the most.
But the actions of their corrupt leaders caused a ripple effect on their lives and so many others like them, which was about to be put to an end. The enchanted Mother Earth had given them each an enlightening, powerful muthi that would allow them to escape their cumbersome reality. With just one sip, they would taste freedom.
#3 Mvulamlomo (The "Mouth-Opener")
You could cut the tension with a knife. An exquisite bride sat on the sidelines as her beloved uncles, brother and father glared at her true love’s family. She was worth her weight in gold, and her family knew that. But her groom knew that she was worth even more, so he whispered to his oldest uncle to offer the gift…
Hoping they would accept, the uncle sought to leverage it during Lobola negotiations. He was well acquainted with its power to invoke both mitigation and understanding. He also knew that his beloved nephew was the type of man that would treat his bride as a princess. Lifting the ornate bottle onto the table and placing it before the bride’s family, the uncle urged them to drink from it. Intrigued, the bride’s uncles lifted their glasses to their tense lips. With one swirl of the tongue, the tension began to drift away and the negotiations could begin.
#4 Umphokoqo for Madiba
He was a man of global adoration. A man who managed to bring cultures together and elicit grace through stormy seasons. He loved his culture, more especially the simple treasures it held. While travelling one day, the esteemed President had suddenly grown tired of the extravagant meals with which he was presented. He needed a bit of Ukutya Kwasekhaya – a taste of home food.
Zelda, his assistant, sent me an email from London saying, “You’re not going to believe this but Madiba is tired of having food at the hotel.” He was asking for Umphokoqo, a traditional South African crumbly maize meal seasoned with sour milk.
Madiba was staying at one of the finest hotels in the world, but that’s what he felt like eating. So, I called Xoliswa, the chef at the house, and said, “I don’t know how we are going to do it, but this is what he wants.” So she cooked it, made it up to look like a birthday gift, and that’s what I flew with.
Zelda called me before I left and said, “Have you got Madiba’s food? Because Madiba says if anything goes wrong you must call him immediately – because you are not allowed to come to the Dorchester without his food!”
Those who live must die. It is the inevitable circle of life. For Mopane, known to his friends as Mashonza, this inevitable truth was now coming to fruition. As he lay on his back, his wife tightly clutching his wing in hers, he reflected. Now an old brown emperor moth, Mashonza reminisced about his youth as a caterpillar. He was blessed and free, spending his days baking in the hot sun and foraging for crunchy mango leaves. He anticipated a long and adventurous future.
He remembered when he went into a deep slumber – tightly wrapped – the peace and quiet of his solitude, followed by the freedom that came when his newly formed wings sang as they navigated the wind. His first flight was nothing short of exhilarating!
And so, as he drew his last breath, he knew he wouldn’t change a thing. He had lived a full and splendid life.
#6 Hildagonda's Improved Milk Punch V.5
As she paced the length of her beloved kitchen, Hilda felt the familiar sense of creativity overflowing in her. Her guests were from vastly different cultures and she felt it her duty to bring them together through her hospitality. That was the purpose of good food and drink, after all! Many a time, she had eased the silence with her mouthwatering recipes, and today would be no different.
Her beloved guests would embark on a journey, starting as complete strangers – and through discovering what they have in common – would become great friends. With her three-course meal paired with the finest wines and mixed drinks, she would send their senses into overdrive. As she served the guests and watched them savour their starter, the taller gentleman stood and said, “There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships, may they always be!”
#7 Iphutha - The Mistake
The Tavern, known by the locals only as ‘Shebeen’ opened in downtown Jozi in the mid 1930s. It resembled a poorly-put-together Irish Gentlemen’s Club. Really, it was a ‘go-between’ (a Joburg answer to the American speakeasy) that allowed the collective imbibing of different cultures under one roof. Separated by a brick wall, bartender Samuel, who had been working the brass since its inception, would serve “whites” on the one side and “non-whites” on the other.
Sam was a true craftsman and proudly memorised the drink orders of all his regulars, regardless of race, colour or creed. As Bennet Ndlovu, entered the bar, as was tradition, Sam eagerly started to pour his frequent tippler a staunch trio of spirits. Interrupted by a demanding patron’s request from the other side of the wall, Sam accidentally swapped out Bennet’s favourite ingredient. With this serendipitous mishap, the Iphutha was born.
#8 Umfazi & Induna
As he sat across the table from the captivating woman, drawing on his cigar, he couldn’t believe that he had managed to convince her to have dinner with him. Something about the way she looked at him stirred a sense of passion in his chest. But he had a terrifying fear of not being enough for her. “Why am I feeling so insecure?” he muttered to himself. If only he could muster up the courage to break the ice, he knew that he could impress her. As he clenched his fist around the cup of muthi, he began to feel impervious. He was more than enough for her, and she was starting to notice.
As she sat across the table from the object of her lust, an overwhelming sense of anxiety overcame her. She lacked the confidence that attracted men like him. The sad reality was that society had clouded her ability to see herself as she was. She yearned to impress him, to experience one night of true liberation in her beauty. As she brought the drink to her lips, she silently prayed it would transform her into the relaxed and powerful woman she knew she could be. As the liquid kissed her throat, she felt almost impossibly perfect. She was convinced that she was more than enough for him and he was beginning to notice.
#9 Port of Hope
Ravaged by scurvy after 96 days on the ocean, the men struggled to maintain their sense of direction. They were almost through their rations. As the ship swayed over the uninhibited seas, they clung to the bow in the hope of spotting land. The promise of fresh food, clean water and steady ground were imminent. With their bodies aching, the sailors had never been so desperate to leave the ship.
But then, a sudden calm came over the water as the ship abandoned the Atlantic for the Indian Ocean. There she stood in all her glory. She exceeded the tales that had been told of her. Her perfection radiated across the seas and brought about a sense of awe. This was a place of new beginnings, of hope and healing. This was the Port of Hope.
#10 Brandewyn en Coke
Cape Town, 1930’s. John is setting up the first ever iconic Coca-Cola soda fountain in South Africa at the Waldorf Café in St George’s Street. Intimidated by state of the art technology, he asks his colleague, Frank – who seems more mechanically inclined – to lend a helping hand. The big event is in twenty minutes! JP Marais (Kosie), a well-known distiller, is on his way from Robertson.
Tonight, Kosie – a renaissance man and engineer – is hosting an exclusive tasting of his latest Cape brandy for the aristocrats of the coastal city. Rumour has it that his latest small batch distilled brandy, made from Colombard and Chenin Blanc, may very well be the best spirit to ever be produced in Africa. Tickets for the event have been sold out for weeks now with a star-studded panel expected to arrive in all their glamour.
Nerve stricken, Kosie staggers over the café bar counter and in an attempt to calm his shaking hand, he takes a swig of his very own craft brandy from the flask that he keeps in his jacket pocket. Frank, trying to be helpful, hands Kosie a cup of Coca Cola soda to wash down the brandewyn. And in that instant the historical romance between brandy and coke was born.
#11 Umkombothi Royale
The title of Oba, or ‘king’ as westerners would say, wields little or no formal political power, although the title is recognized by the state. To the members of the community that surround him, the role is more dogmatic. The king has a spiritual and ceremonial obligation to them.
Sure, as ruler, he could be one of several hundred traditional monarchs dispersed across African urban and rural communities, but to his people, this bears no meaning. The king’s word is final. He would have to be bold and confident. A true leader of men.
Standing at the altar, ready to accept his crowning glory, Qawe, is having an internal battle. Faced with an impossible decision: Does he follow his heart or stick to tradition? The recent death of his father had put him in a state of detriment. He never wanted to be king. He wanted to leave the village and see the world! Now, his people are asking him to carry on his father’s legacy.
As the ceremony draws to a close, Qawe, is handed a cup of umkombothi and his acceptance thereof would symbolise that there would be no turning back.
Smokey Chakalaka Mayo R40
Amasi Battered Onion Rings
Crack Sauce R40
Calabash Relish and Green Leaf Pesto R60
Baby Spinach, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Carmelised Onion and Chutney Salt R60
Pumpkin and Soet Mustard R60
Krummel Pap Nassi Goreng
Peanut Chicken Satay. Quail Egg R60
Be Surprised R60
Zamalek Braised Chicken Bunny
Sesame Seed Curry, Crispy Chicken Skin, Braised City Grown Baby Carrots R85
Aubergine Sesame Seed Curry, Popped Rice Wafer, Braised City Grown Baby Carrots R85
Layered Butternut Puree, Crispy Beer Battered Sustainable Fish and Cape Malay Pickle R90
Pap and Vleis
Maize, Jus, Tshotlho (Pulled Beef Shortrib), Baby Spinach R90
Beef Boerie Wheel, Zamalek and Tomato Sous R75
Seared Grass Fed Ribeye R149
Corn on the Cob
Lime Salt and Spiced Sherbet R40
Apricot Confetti and Rooibos Vinaigrette R55
Lidney Bean and Beet Hummus, Roast Baby Beets, Pickle Beets and Crispy Kale R55
Vegan Buddha Bowl
Krummel Pap, Chickpeas, Chakalaka and Kimchi R55
Amarula Custard and Rooibos Ice Cream R65
Koeksister Bread and Butter Pudding
Burnt White Chocolate, Crème Anglaise, Chia Brittle R65
Chocolate Milk Tarts
Cinnamon Crumble, Tahini Ice Cream and Milk Foam R65
A tribute to amazing South African women, we had Caitlin Hill, Lauren Penny and Mish Cherie Chinnah behind the bar for the All Women’s Spaza. View the menu here.
Dominic Walsh and Devin Cross will be popping up twice next week in Russia. Take a look at our #mooteeshebeen menu for Imbibe Cocktail Bar in St Petersburg.
‘True hospitality’ is a, somewhat, an ambiguous term. Stay with us and we explain what the term means and how we’re trying to instill a different mentality.