Gold Restaurant offers visitors to Cape Town an authentic African experience in a city where modernization has taken the place of many traditional offerings. The restaurant’s Pan-African cuisine, interactive drumming sessions and the Pulse of Mali performance all showcase some of the best aspects of African culture.
The menu features multicourse meals or “taste safaris” from the Cape Malay kitchen. The safari starts off with crispy bread roles known as South African Roosterkoek, which can be dipped in South African smoked fish pate, similar to canned tuna. This is followed by Algerian beef Kofta kebabs, served with an Ethiopian IAB dip. The Namibian Venison Pot, which includes organic springbok (or antelope), is another popular dish and a good example of typical African fare. Africans eat a lot of venison and other abundant game meats, according to Lucy Quinan, senior manager of operations for Dragonfly Africa, a DMC that recently hosted me on a trip to South Africa.
“Most of the restaurants in the area are contemporary and almost European in the cuisine they serve as well as the atmospheres,” says Antoinette Du Preez, sales and marketing coordinator at Dragonfly. “Gold serves Pan-African cuisine in a contemporary setting and style. It provides an authentic Cape Town experience through the food it serves. Even though the cuisine is Pan-African, there are nuances of Cape cuisine brought in in terms of locally sourced produce and recipes are used from the Cape Malay community. “
The food is just a small part of the restaurant experience though. The restaurant hosts an interactive drum circle every evening for 40 minutes with Eddie, the master facilitator who teaches participants the different sounds and rhythms of the djembe drum. Each participant is given their own drum to use during the session.
In addition to the drum session, the Pulse of Mali is an African performance that guests shouldn’t miss. Four performers perform on each level of the restaurant, acting out three different scenes by singing, dancing and interacting with the audience using traditional Malian puppets. The performance is influenced by the non-narrative symbolic performance style of the Bamana people, who believe that puppets and masks are intermediaries between the human and spirit world. The puppet has a wooden face and towers over the other performers that wear brightly colored clothes decorated with beads.
“The main reason for visiting Gold is that it caters to numerous tastes and is excellent value for the money in terms of the quantity and quality of food as well as the entertainment that comes with it,” says Du Preez. “As Cape Town is a very cosmopolitan, modern city, guests can easily forget they are in Africa. A meal at Gold reminds them that they are in Africa, a unique country with a variety of tastes, sounds and rhythms.”
The multilevel restaurant features brick walls and authentic African pictures, as well as funky wooden bowls, vases and lamps scattered throughout the space. It can seat 264 people, and the venue next door (on Bennett Street) can seat approximately 250 people seated. It can accommodate roughly 1,000 people for a free-standing cocktail function.