Zeitz MOCAA FOOD chic interior, serves light Café and Bistro menu until the end of January!

On Friday I was in the Silo District, showing my young friend Bella Bauer around this new area in the Waterfront. Spontaneously we decided to eat at FOOD, on the sixth floor of the Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary African Art. We found a stylish eatery with a Cafë and Bistro Menu, which runs until the end of the month before the eatery switches to a two- and three-course Menu.

Getting into the restaurant proved to be a problem initially, as one cannot access it without a ticket to the Museum. I had visited the Museum soon after it opened, but FOOD only opened for business in December, so I couldn’t try the eatery at that time. The Museum staff tried to contact the restaurant telephonically, but could not reach it. By a stroke of luck I had the phone number of Aleit Swanepoel in my phone, and he answered quickly. His company The Aleit Group operates FOOD in the Museum. He arranged that the restaurant manager Rustum Blake fetch us downstairs, and we were very grateful for this service. In essence one can only access the eatery on Wednesdays between 10h00 ans 13hoo, at which time access to the Museum by African residents is free of charge. One can buy an annual membership of the Museum at R250 or R185 for pensioners, which would allow one access to the Museum and to FOOD without a charge. 

On my previous visit to the Museum I had noted that only FOOD is on the sixth floor, as well as a sculpture garden, which connects the building to The Silo Hotel but this is not a usable entrance. Given that this is the highest level of the Museum section of the Silo building, it has a good view onto the I&J fish factory and part of the working Harbour in the Waterfront.  The eatery is spacious, and doubles up as an event venue after hours. 

The restaurant decor was minimalistically designed by Swedish firm KM2K, and its colour scheme is predominantly black (the floor, the beams, the menu cover, the chef and waiter uniforms) and grey (the high-pressure laminated table tops, and the upholstery on the couches in the casual seating area). The side plates are white imported Churchill, and the cutlery super stylish Sola, imported too. Oddly the size of the knife (butter knife) did not match the regular size fork. A smart black gauze napkin is placed on the side plate. The geometric pillow windows dominated the decor in the section in which we sat. I loved a light fitting of black cylinders, which reminded me of the Silo architecture. Some high tables with stools are available too. 

Our waiter BW brought us the menu, A5 in size, in black, with the FOOD logo embossed on it. It has a Café page, and one for Bistro meals. The waiter recognised me immediately, having previously worked at SeaBreeze, and confidently asked if I would like the usual. I did! It was served in a most beautiful I ❤️Milo cup with a wooden saucer, and matching sugar bowl (R30).

BW brought us a complimentary glass of sparkling water, as well as a tall glass of tap water and ice each. 

Bella and I were due to attend another eating function in the afternoon, so we were careful about our food order. Bella ordered a Gourmet sandwich (R95), a very generous toasted ciabatta cut into two, filled with tomato, lettuce, grilled halloumi cheese, and basil pesto, which was served with curried batter onion rings. Bella could not finish more than half the sandwich, being man-size. The menu indicates that the sandwich filling changes daily.  As I’m very careful about what I eat now, and its effect on my weight, I chose the Harbour Plate, with beer battered hake with prawns (kindly deshelled for me by the kitchen) and thick cut chips, the latter passed onto Bella (R155). The fish was accompanied by pea purée, two lemon wedges, and was topped with a pinkish tartar sauce, the colour created through the addition of red pepper purée, Head Chef Christopher Law explained when he came to visit our table. Chef Christopher had previously worked with my son Alex at Delaire Graff, and we had chatted on Messenger, as Facebook Friends, but had not previously met. He told us that the current menu had been devised as a more cost-effective one for the opening period, and they will move to a two-and three course menu in February. 

The Café section offers lighter meals from 10h00 – 17h00.  It was in this menu section that I saw their signature dessert of homemade Zeitz black ice cream, and I had to try it, sharing it with Bella. It is vanilla ice cream made with activated charcoal to give it the colour, rose water, and Turkish delight, it being the first time that I have seen ice cream in this colour, at a cost of R45.  The vanilla taste dominates. It was topped with gold balls, of a larger size, and with a texture when one chewed them. I cannot wait to return for the ice cream alone, it was that good. I was offered a second dry cappuccino by BW. One can also order scones with homemade jam and cream (R55), two croissants with cheese (R60), a slice of cake (seems expensive at R75, but then I did not see the cake nor the size of its slice), and a cheese board with fruit and hummus and crackers (R155). Coffees cost R25 – R30. I did not see any alcoholic beverages on the menu. 

The Bistro section of the menu is offered between 10h00 and 15h00. Given my weight loss focus, I found it hard to choose a dish in this section: bialy (a type of bagel, BW explained), with smoked salmon trout and Crème Fraîche (R110); fava beans (most unusual to see on a local menu, but very popular in New York when I ate at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in that City in 2016) with mint and ricotta on a bialy (R105); Chicken Caesar salad with chicken (R125); Zeitz salad, a fresh salad of the day, the ingredients of which varies (R135); Zeitz ‘Rueben’ (sic) sandwich, which the waiter explained included brisket, traditionally a New York corned beef sandwich with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing (R95); lamb Kofta wrap with coriander yogurt, salsa, rocket, and fries (R125); and chicken strips with Panko crumbs with fries (R75). I found the Bistro menu to be very Carb-heavy, almost every dish containing bread or chips, contrary to the current healthier eating and even the long-standing Banting trend. 

Manager Rustum both fetched us and led us out of the building through a special exit directly onto the Silo District precinct. When we requested the bill from BW, he told us that it had been taken care of, a generous gesture by Aleit. 

Zeitz MOCAA FOOD, Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary African Art, The Silo District, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town. Tel (021) Twitter: @ZeitzMOCAA  Instagram: @ZeitzMOCAA Open from 10h00 – 17h00 daily except Tuesdays. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein


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