Gourmet gatsbys and salomes at Mamasan, Melville’s hip new Cape-Malay restaurant

What’s Table Mountain doing at the top of Melville’s hipster food haven on 7th Street?

Like the yellow-and-black stripy and stylised graphic of Table Mountain, the menu of the new and delightfully stylish Mamasan draws on popular Cape Malay dishes and their tastes as inspiration, rather than being literal. The menu demonstrates chef Grant Greenhead’s fluency in sophisticated, tasty and desirable dishes.

Table Mountain makes a few subtle appearances in the interior too. Photo supplied.

Table Mountain makes a few subtle appearances in the interior too. Photo supplied.

Originally from Durban, Grant has spent time cheffing around Joburg and has undergone an immersive cooking and ingredient experience in the Mother City, to get the taste and feel of the Cape Malay cuisine in situ. One of his partners, Denwold Petersen, is Capetonian.

Mamasan’s food is already wowing local food lovers, foreign visitors and the nostalgic. Start with the likes of gesmoorde chilli, peach and snoek pâté, with house-made lemon atjar and seasoned paaper (fried strips of the pastry used for samoosas). Mains include an interesting gatsby and a tripe-and-sugar-bean salome, served with a sambal of tomato and onion and chef’s pickled green atjar. The Mamasan version of a banana split dessert is two half-banana fritters and ice cream made with traditional Malay boeber, with monkey-nut sauce and peach preserve.

The bright, clean interior. Photo supplied.

The bright, clean interior. Photo supplied.

Mamasan is also doing brunches over weekends. Dishes can be savoury, spicy or sweet – think fancy buttermilk flapjacks with suurvy preserve and mango-rosewater ice cream. Everything is made from scratch, all poultry is free-range, and the meat is from Braeside Butchery, which focuses on grass-fed, free-range meat. The menu is an entertaining read, with asides about Cape Malay culture.

A dessert at Masaman. Photo supplied.

A dessert at Mamasan. Photo supplied.

As for the décor, bright chairs are upholstered with silky white macramé knotted cord, with cushions to keep things comfortable. The wall art in the small restaurant is courtesy of business partner Denwold, a renowned contemporary art collector.

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