Homestyle cooking meets the street at Lokshini Kitchen & Braai Shack

Husband and wife team Victor and Thandi Ngwenya opened Lokshini Kitchen & Braai Shack in August out of their love of African cuisine and open fire cooking. Every first Sunday of the month, pre-Covid, the couple would host family and friends for some comfort food made on the fire. The encouragement to open up their own eatery came from those special monthly gatherings.

Boasting homestyle cooking mixed with street-style nuances, Lokshini Kitchen offers a soulful food experience that fits right in with the kaleidoscope of cultures that is found in Yeoville. The restaurant is located in the neighbouring suburb of Bellevue East.

As historical as Sophiatown for attracting a fair number of musicians, artists and political activists, Yeoville’s bohemian character still survives in its grit and bustle. It is still where people go for a unique cultural experience and food is usually a connector.

“One of Lokshini Kitchen & Braai Shack’s main goals is to change mindsets about what the inner city has to offer. It’s about creating spaces where people want to be. It’s a daring move, but it felt right for what we wanted to create. We strongly believe in the notion of investing in our communities to change the narratives,” says Thandi.
She notes that African cuisine in its nature is designed for communal eating. She points also to the long, passionate process of preparing the meals as well as the wood fire that adds a smoky tone to the food as key elements that make up the essence of Lokshini Kitchen.

The menu offers flame-grilled meat and traditional staple foods such as mogodu (tripe), inhloko (deboned cow-head meat), hardbody chicken / umleqwa (organic farm chicken), chomolia (African kale), umngqusho (mealie samp), dombolo (steamed bread), pap, chakalaka and good old beef stew.

A Lokshini Kitchen signature dish is the skop (sheep’s head) or smiley as it is popularly known in the townships. The restaurant has a special weekend menu serving up specialities such as oxtail, goat stew and the classic Seven Colours feast on Sundays.
The ritual of welcoming guests with a glass of gemere (ginger beer) or amahewu (fermented pap drink) adds to the experience.

Victor and Thandi are in the process of enlisting a food delivery service for wider reach in case of possible hard lockdowns. With the motivation to be socially aware, the team runs a charity drive every first Sunday of the month, cooking a Seven Colours lunch for the homeless community of Yeoville. There are plans to introduce music events.
The restaurant is open Mondays to Sundays from 11am to 9pm. No alcohol is sold. It’s best to come as a group for a memorable communal experience.

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