Brought to you by Retail Capital
Slap-bang in the middle of Cape Town’s trendy Bree Street is Boma on Bree, a new kid on the block and the winner of the Eat Out Retail Capital Best New Restaurant Award 2023, offering a humble fire-inspired menu of African flavours in a stylish and eclectic setting.
Boma’s inception came from an idea to build something creative that celebrates the concept of unity, a place that captures the story of deserts and the smoky local taste of open-flame cooking. Owners Reg and Pini McDonald of the popular Firm Group wanted to build a sophisticated and relaxed space that would bring people together, with food that is nostalgic, unpretentious, delicious, and humble. The result? A new Cape Town hotspot where the food and décor offer a comforting and casual experience with an upmarket edge.
Head chef Vusi Ndlovu and his partner and colleague, Absie Pantshwa, were tasked with crafting a food offering that would perfectly complement this vision. Chef Vusi Ndlovu began his career as an act of passion and rebellion. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, he chose a career in cooking instead of his family’s preferred choice of civil engineering. Starting his culinary journey right after school, he immersed himself in the world of food, hoping to prove his capabilities in the industry, which he definitely has.
Bree Street is undeniably one of the busiest, coolest and freshest streets in Cape Town’s CBD. The street’s bustling, dynamic atmosphere provides a constant stream of people, either popping in for a quick drink or a lengthy dining experience.
“We are constantly busy even when it’s quiet,” laughs Vusi. “We have an interesting blend of guests. It’s insane. We have everyone eating at Boma. First Thursday is a whole different vibe because you just don’t know what is going to happen and for me, it’s the first time having to navigate those waters. But we love it.”
Boma on Bree’s menu boasts signature dishes that have garnered a loyal following among guests, locals and tourists alike. A firm favourite is the skaap rib with black pepper yoghurt and mint, a dish that highlights the comforts of favourite local food, done right. The oysters with a three-year fermented chilli dressing have also been a hit, as has the jaffle, which has become the restaurant’s mascot. A recent addition, the sosatie, a familiar braai favourite, has captured the hearts and taste buds of diners.
Rooted in the essence of the Karoo, with fire and nostalgia playing central roles, the menu is designed to evolve and change, just like how every braai you attend with friends is different. Chef Vusi and Absie collaborate in brainstorming dishes, testing them for potential, and gauging guests’ reactions before deciding whether to add them to the menu.
Boma’s uniqueness lies in its commitment to serving honest, delicious food in a relaxed and chic atmosphere. “It’s a place where you can savour a traditional South African ‘tjop and dop’ while wearing your Gucci belt”, says Vusi, highlighting the fusion of comfort and class.
The restaurant’s design and layout are welcoming, arty, and desert-eque. Gaining strong inspiration from the Karoo and international deserts, fire plays a role with an open kitchen and a long fireplace along the dining wall. The ambience is designed to tie in with the diverse and flavourful menu.
Looking to the future, Vusi and Absie have launched MLILO ‘Fires of Africa’, which has made its debut at the newly opened Time Out Market Cape Town. This promises to be another captivating chapter in Vusi’s culinary career and the Boma on Bree story, bringing more fire to the Cape Town food scene.
Images: Woolworths TASTE