karibu (107)

Karibu | A Truly South African Experience


Enjoy the best dishes South Africa has to offer in an elegant V&A Waterfront setting

Cape Town is a city as international and cosmopolitan as its residents; a truth well reflected in its multitude of diverse restaurants. But sometimes, sometimes I just feel like a proper home-cooked meal. I may have grown up in Germany, but I have enjoyed plenty of traditional meals cooked by my wonderful friends in this country. So now and then I simply lust for a Bobotie or some Snoek or a Lamb shank. But getting them right is hard work and takes quite some time.

That is why I am very grateful that I recently discovered Karibu Restaurant at the V&A Waterfront. It is somewhat hidden away from the more populated areas of the shopping centre, but it’s a popular restaurant nonetheless. We joined Jamie Rowntree, the executive chef, and his team on a Monday evening – traditionally a quieter night for restaurants – but every last seat at the elegantly decorated Karibu Restaurant was booked.

Despite that fact, the service was as excellent as you’d expect it from a 5-star place. We were welcomed with warm South African hospitality by our waitress, Aretha. She was a real sweetheart and looked after us the entire evening with such warmth and cheerfulness. We also had a little chat with Jamie, who gave us some recommendations on what to order. After our drinks had arrived in no time, we decided on an Oyster Platter and Mussels in a White Wine and Garlic Sauce as starters to share.

Seafood is a fairly new acquired taste for me and I am extremely fussy when it comes to anything out of the sea. But those white wine mussels … they hit the sweet spot. Gosh, they were good. For mains, I decided to try something I have never had before – Waterbloometjie Bredie with Lamb. The others wanted more seafood and ordered the Kingklip and Franschhoek Trout. And each one of us made the right decision. By the time we were finished there was absolutely nothing left on our plates. If it hadn’t been rude, I would have licked my bowl.

Karibu Restaurant offers down-to-earth, traditional South African meals ranging from various meat platters, steaks and venison to seafood, bredies, curries and other Cape Malay dishes.

Nothing here is de-constructed and then re-constructed, but cooked and presented the way it should be – like a proper home-cooked meal made with lots of love.

The waiters are very attentive, friendly and knowledgeable. I simply told the sommelier what I was having and she gave me two red wines as options from the great selection of award-winning South African wines. The one was the ideal match for the lamb. Of course, we couldn’t say no to dessert either, but we shared two among the three of us – Amarula Infused Crème Brûlée and a classic Malva Pudding. A perfect finish to our wonderful evening! (Again, I think licking your plate should be regarded as a compliment for the kitchen and not as a sign of bad table manners, just saying!)

If you arrive before 7 pm, you get to listen to a talented all-male a cappella group singing South African folk songs. Their singing is a great intro for the evening and the beautiful green nature images on the walls will instantly relax you and wash away any stress you might have had in the day.

Whether you are celebrating a birthday, taking your significant other out on a date or just want really good South African food, the Karibu Restaurant is your safest bet to experience a special evening! Just make sure to book a table, as the restaurant is popular among locals and tourists alike.

My secret tip: If you are a group of 4 or 5 people, you should ask for one of the round tables along the wall.

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Alexandra is a tourist guide, writer, translator for German & English, improviser and environmentalist with all her heart and soul. She enjoys experimental vegetarian/vegan cooking with high emphasis on organic and locally grown food. She is also a tea connoisseur (read: total tea snob). If she isn't hiking up some mountain, enjoying a glass of wine at sunset or getting down and dirty in her little garden, she is happiest driving down an unknown road and ending up at a place that turns out to be a still undiscovered gem.
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