TOWN will soon open up at the WORK SHOP NEW TOWN retail space in the middle of hipster territory in Newtown, Johannesburg, serving dim sum in its loosest, easy sense: dumplings filled with fresh and locally desirable fillings. The concept food bar – with specially designed Gregor Jenkin bar, hanging ferns and deep greenery, black and gold round tables and stools, lanterns and hanging fabrics – will host exhibitions and events, and act as a meeting place for lovers of food, music, art and good times.
TOWN is the brainchild of magazine, fashion and food sisters, Zanele Kumalo and Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine (also an Eat Out editorial panel member); Gary Cotterell of Wanted magazine; young chef Canaan ‘Sbu’ Msongelwa, a darling of the Melville and Illovo food circles; and tax expert Marcus Botha.
Zanele explains, “We’ve travelled together and discussed this kind of place for people like us to hang out at. We know what we like and who we are. We like lots of delicious tastes, lovely things to share and unusually tasty drinks, not booze-fest liquor. We like discussing ideas and having fun with friends. So this is what we’ve got.”
The menu will change often, as different foods come onto the market with the seasons. Starting out, however, the TOWN menu will feature tom yum soup, vegetable spring rolls, and handmade dim sum served in grass steam baskets. Current fillings include pork and ginger; chicken and coriander; beef and ginger; salmon and cream cheese; spinach and cream cheese; and butternut, mushroom and spinach. There aren’t dessert options yet: “We’ll see,” says Zanele.
There will be intriguing things to drink with the dim sum, much of it Asian inspired, like sake, as well as wines, beer and spirits. A fantastic feature worth the visit alone is the coffee. Barista Ernest Mandizera is a pro, happy to pass on his coffee-art skills and settling people at tables with their very own pour-overs.
After its official launch on 14 April, TOWN will be open from 10am until dark every day, and until late on Sundays for DJs or fashion events. (Look for TOWN on your left if you enter WORK SHOP NEW TOWN from the Market Theatre side.)