Last night I was one of a group of writers invited by Chef Jenny Morris to join her in a celebration of Heritage Month at Proudly South African Karibu restaurant in the V&A Waterfront. It was a laugh a minute sitting next to Chef Jenny, and we were spoilt with a ten-course dinner.

We shared a table to one side of the restaurant, private yet part of the space. The restaurant was full inside and out, and tourists seemed to enjoy eating at the restaurant to experience the South African cuisine that it offers. I met a Canadian tourist, and he told me that he was enjoying his dinner, and getting to know our local dishes. I have to admit that despite the restaurant having been open for ten years already I have never eaten at Karibu before. 

The menu which we were spoilt with is not usually offered as a Tasting Menu, as one can order off the a la carte menu.

Chef Jamie Rowntree came to welcome us, and with it came a Karibu Kiss cocktail, made with Amarula, banana liqueur, and Frangelico, with a chocolate elephant ‘face’. I passed on my cocktail to Chef Jenny’s husband David. Chef Jamie remembered me from my early days in opening a guest house in Hermanus, in which town he worked before moving to the V&A Waterfront to join Karibu. Chef Jamie said that they would serve small tasters of some of their dishes. 

Chef Jenny told me that the restaurant recently underwent a refurbishment, adding large new chandeliers. In the far back of the restaurant is a brand new photograph poster of a river scene, with wonderful greenery. It attracts attention to the back of the restaurant, and it was in this area that many of the tourists were seated. 

At our table was seated sisters Sabine and Benike Palfi from I Love Foodies, Robin Adams from the Weekend Argus, Chef Sue-Anne Allen, Roxanne from Fair Lady, and Tanya Nefdt from etv.

The reason why Jenny hosted this and a number of other dinners at Karibu this month is to assist in alerting locals about Cape Town’s best kept secret of the restaurant serving traditional South African dishes. In addition, an extensive collection of South African wines is available to diners. Our sommelier was Paul, and he had created the wine pairings for each course. He told me that he has done a number of courses at the Cape Wine Academy. Chef Jenny told me that the restaurant has worked hard in upskilling its staff. 

What impressed me was that there was a steady flow of dishes coming to our table, which meant that it was not a long drawn-out dinner. We were spoilt with the following dishes: 

  1.  Smoked salmon 

The starter course was preceded by breadsticks to nibble on until the first starter arrived. The smoked salmon was neatly presented on a potato rösti, with a slice of lemon. I was impressed with the Fish knife and fork, a nice touch. The wine pairing was Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2014. 

2.   Smoked Snoek pâté

Chef Jamie told us proudly that he smokes Snoek in his kitchen, using red wine barrel dust, thyme, and Rooibos. It had a smooth smoked taste, not being strong in its flavours as one often experiences it. It was neatly piped on a plate, with a slice of Melba toast. This dish was paired with Fairview Oom Pages Semillon 2013, a wine I had not heard of before.  

3.  Fish frikkadel

The fish cake was made with hake, potatoes, and spices, and with it was served sambals, chutney, pink mayonnaise, and a slice of lemon. The pairing was an impressive one, being Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2016. 

4.  Trio of game

We were told that Karibu owns a game farm in Limpopo province, and it is from this farm that it sources its game for the restaurant. It was emphasized that they only use culled meat, and do not hunt the game. We were served a skewer with a piece of kudu, springbok, and impala, with a very South African accompaniment of putu pap, and Chakalaka and Amarula sauce. A bowl of samp and beans was served with this course.  Chef Jenny told us that Karibu has its own indoor braai in the kitchen. 

The pairing for this dish was a Flagstone Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinotage Blend 2014.  

5.   Lamb cutlets

The first of my two favorite dishes was the lamb cutlets, a sesame seed basting having been used in its preparation, and served with an unusual potato and carrot mash. The meat was pink, and there was little fat. Chef Jenny told me that Chef Jamie buys in the lamb, only using the best quality. 

The pairing with Buitenverwachting Merlot 2013 was perfect, so much so that I had a second taster of the wine. 

It was at this point of the evening that the staff sang, entertaining the diners with their excellent voices and harmony, and we could have sworn that Ladysmith Black Mambazo was in the house! 

6.  Confit duck

This course was outstanding, duck being a special weakness! I have never eaten fig jam, let alone with a meat dish, and it was an excellent accompaniment. The duck was served crispy, on herbed mash, and we each helped ourselves to our portion from a platter. I was allowed to take a portion of duck home with me, loving it so much. The wine pairing was Stellenrust Cinsaut Old Bush Vine 2015, which Paul said he had selected in preference to a Pinot Noir. 

7.  Denningsvleis

Chef Jamie told us that Denningsvleis is a Cape Malay dish, ‘denning’ meaning ‘water buffalo’ in Java, but mutton was used in its preparation. It has an interesting Sweet (via molasses) and Sour (via tamarind) taste, and was served on top of tomato, as well as yellow rice with raisins.

The wine pairing was an unusual one, being an Edgebaston The Pepper Pot 2015, a Blend of 60% Shiraz, 21% Mourvèdre, 12% Tannat, and 6% Grenache. 

8.  Malva Tert

The Malva Tert slices were served on a platter, with a toffee and cardamon sauce, and balls of vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and slices of orange. We helped ourselves to a slice each. The pairing was with Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2014. 

9. Cape Brandy pudding

Another platter was brought to the table, and it was commented that it was like Christmas, eating the Cape Brandy pudding, with  almonds.

Pierre Jourdan Rattafia, a non-vintage Blend of Brandy, honey, and Chardonnay, was paired with this dessert. 


10. Cheese platter

Last but not least was a cheese platter, with Fairview Brie, blue cheese, and cream cheese, stewed peaches, and more of the delectable fig jam, accompanied by a bowl of Melba toast.

A lovely evening came to an end, and many felt that our dinner was like good home cooking, having been spoilt by Chef Jamie and his team. The wine pairings added to the eating delight. Chef Jamie printed out the attractive colorful menu pages for me to take home. 

Disclosure:  Chef Jenny added to the South African Heritage Month theme by sending me home with a carrier bag of Tupperware containers! 

Karibu South African Dining, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town. Tel (021) 421-7005. Twitter: @Karibu_SADining Instagram: @kariburestaurantsa

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein