They say food brings people together. This uplifting story follows the journey of one such perfect pairing – from the bustling streets of vibrant eKasi to the ancient vineyards of Constantia. This is how a small restaurant from a township came to partner with the oldest wine farm in South Africa, merging these two vastly different worlds through the power of food and wine.
Featured as one of the ATW 2021 MeTime sessions, a video produced by Cape Town Tourism showcases this beautiful partnership.
Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena, the chef, owner and creative director of 4Roomed eKasi Culture in Khayelitsha, shares how this culinary journey began.
“Last year, I met Lila from Groot Constantia on the Red Bus, and we immediately clicked,” says Abigail. “How can these two businesses – a very well-established wine estate – how can it work with this young business from the township?”
“What I love about Cape Town is that it’s the whole country in one city. What makes Cape Town food and culture so special… the culture you can sense it. But arriving in Cape Town, visitors don’t even hear about Khayelitsha. You have to walk on the streets to feel that vibe…Over the years, life started happening. A form of community. There’s this sense of Ubuntu. The youth have this pride in that they come from Khayelitsha,” says Abigail, adding that the local entrepreneurship space is giving people a lot of hope.
Abigail is one such entrepreneur positively impacting the community and changing the lives of those around her. Abigail’s 4-roomed eKasi was named one of the 30 best restaurants globally in a combined project by Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure magazines in 2019.
Abigail also works with local entrepreneurs to source the freshest of fresh produce for her restaurants and runs CSR projects around food security, enabling local entrepreneurs and farmers to grow their gardens and sell to restaurants, establishing their own business within the community.
The 4Roomed eKasi Culture restaurant offers unique South African cuisine that visitors can enjoy on a charming terrace while soaking up the unique atmosphere of Khayelitsha and the culture of Cape Town.
“Even the name ‘4 roomed’ is based on the four-room homes you find here,” says Abigail. “When you come to the restaurant, you feel as if you’ve been transported back to the 70s or 80s lifestyle.
Abigail enjoys putting a surprise twist on South African basic staples. “How can we find a way to uplift our own cuisine and put it on the world map? We are this restaurant here in Khayelitsha, but we’re more than just a restaurant –we are a lifestyle concept with a social-economic impact. I love my country. I feel like I need to showcase the pride of this country on a plate.”
Speaking of the partnership with 4Roomed eKasi Culture, Lila Jutzen of Groot Constantia says: “The relationship with 4Roomed eKasi Culture and Groot Constantia is truly unique. Groot Constantia dates back to 1685 and is the oldest wine-producing estate, successfully producing wines for the past 335 years.[This partnership] blends together this amazing experience you can only find in Cape Town. The new age versus tradition that brings the culture of Cape Town to life,” says Lila.
“I thought, I’m going to pair my passion on a plate with Groot Constantia wines,” says Abigail. And that’s precisely what this uniquely Cape Town, uniquely South African, pairing did.
4Roomed Ekasi Culture
Enjoy traditional South African fare with a gourmet flare.
For group bookings of 10 or more, a fine dining menu is also available. The bespoke dining experience includes a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 courses.
Part of the Big 6 tourist destinations in Cape Town – the others being Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch and Cape Point – Groot Constantia is a sprawling estate, home to two restaurants, a museum and a wine tasting facility that is a hive of activity. So, while the vine plays a considerable part, there is so much more on offer here.