In the heart of the historically rich and culturally diverse inner-city suburb of Yeoville lies a culinary gem that is the Yeoville Dinner Club. Where owner Sanza Sandile curates a multisensory experience known as the Pan-Afrikan Plate, which showcases freshly sourced ingredients from a nearby market, stories and fluent conversations ranging from coming of age at the tail end of apartheid to continental food security and everything in between.
Sanza’s unique insights and cooking expertise shape the delectable Pan-Afrikan Plate, a meal that features local favourites; Amaqina and soft centred Magwinya with a delightful crunch on the outside, but that is only one stop on the tour. The Pan-Afrikan Plate highlights Sanza’s array of palate-pleasing techniques, which include flavour packed Mozambican fried fish, cassava, Moroccan red cabbage salad, and falafel with peanut sauce. His take on West African Jollof rice puts a momentary pause on the “who prepares it better? Nigerian vs Ghanaian Jollof” debate. All the main course meals are paired and garnished with homemade atchars, vegetable preserves, dips, pickled chillies and a tzatziki that is made with inkomazi instead of yoghurt. Then happily washed down with refreshing African cocktails and hibiscus/beetroot smoothies.
And for dessert? Poached pears with a delicious pear wine reduction and yoghurt.
The food is presented on a long wooden table and served communal style, reminiscent of true African home dining, creating a space that encourages the meeting of new people as well as the free flowing exchange of cultures. All the while Yeoville exuberantly serves as an interesting soundtrack to this leisurely event.
With Sanza’s tantalizing food serving as an open invitation to Yeoville, can there be a shift of balance that sets the tone for attracting serious investments that can facilitate restoring Yeoville back to its former glory?
The answer may very well lie in the notion that people feel closer to others when breaking bread together and the Yeoville Dinner Club represents neighbourliness and respect for cultural diversity – creating a familiarity with the area that exposes one to the bustling community homes and businesses, where you can get feed or shop for groceries, your hair braided, clothes tailored, shoes repaired and a place to stay, all in the same vicinity. Showing and experiencing Yeoville as a potential social, recreational and economic wellspring is crucial in drawing positive interest from the City of Johannesburg that could lead to the arrest of the urban decay that has plagued Yeoville for decades. It could all start with a delightful meal.
A seat at Sanza’s Yeoville Dinner Club table is your passport to the ultimate Pan-African taste adventure.
The Yeoville Dinner Club, 24 Rocky Street, Yeoville is suitable for vegetarians, vegans, first time Pan-African cuisine explorers and everyone who already loves Sanza’s Pan-Afrikan Plate.