Think of Classique Braai Lounge as a “modern makoti” – that was a term I learned while chatting with guests at the restaurant recently, and one I think suites this establishment perfectly.
She has style, elegance, her mod is on fleek but she’s still rooted in tradition – and she can prepare a home-cooked meal that even your mother can’t match!
Expect to see some home favourites on the menu like amanqina (trotters), usu (tripe), jeqe (steamed bread), samp and beans, walkies (chicken feet), dumplings, pap and of course shisanyama.
Head chef Lungile Nhlanhla, who you’d remember as the youngest contestant on MasterChef SA’s first series in 2011, explained that the core of their menu is traditional South African, mainly Zulu food.
“We’ve added our own unique ways of making our spices and have our own methods of preparing our food. People want the comfort of home food without the long hours at the pots.”
On the taste front, the food is amazing! It has a uniquely different taste, from the specialty dishes to the shisanyama. We asked about this, and Chef Lungi explained that it’s down to their secret blend of spices.
“We have a company who we sat down with with our preferred spice combinations and spice blends for the meat that we serve and for our dishes. But when we make the traditional foods like samp and beans, we don’t want to stray too far from what is expected. People are expecting a specific taste.”
Classique Braai Lounge’s signature dish is their lip meat (inyama yenhloko). “That’s the cheek and the lower jaw meat you find on a cow. A lot of people enjoy it but not many want to deal with getting it and cooking it . So people enjoy being able to come in and enjoy it here or even to order it as a takeaway.
At the Chef’s table we sampled the following starters: chicken livers (in a mild curry style); jeqe and ox tongue with sautéed onion. All three items were prepared wonderfully, with much care obviously taken not to overlook the “little things”. Like the jeqe which – as simple as steamed bread sounds – is often spoiled by over-boiling (then it becomes rubbery). Classique Braai’s was the softest and tastiest I’ve had. The ox tongue is complemented by the sautéed onion, which gives it a slightly sweet finish.
For our mains we were served braai platters. You’ll find lamb chops, brisket, short rib, pork chops, chicken wings, wors (chili or original). For the sides you’ll have pap, jeqe, sambals, chakalaka.
The meat is braaied perfectly and succulent with the spice giving it a unique taste. The pap is given a savoury touch with corn.
Classique Braai Lounge aims to bring the township to the burbs and they deliver! (pun intended).
Find it in Oxford Fresh Market, 9Old Main Road, Hillcrest, 031 765 1107.