You can feel the drumming almost before you hear it. The ground is rumbling with its rhythm and the strangely elongated African statue at the doorway mysteriously comes alive with its presence. As the gates swing open to GOLD, the beat beckons for you to follow it upwards, through a maze of artefacts and African artwork to another world. Following the call of the enthusiastic drum master on stage, you pick up your own djembe and are soon just another note in the cacophony that is building up with a frenzied speed. Laughter punctuates the air as a variety of different languages sound the coming together of nations from all over the world, and soon enough you are all beating to the rhythm of one drum.
This is the introduction to my experience at GOLD restaurant – a unique dining venue in the heart of Cape Town that combines amazing African cuisine with vibrant, traditional entertainment. Favoured by tourists, I am pleased to see a whole heap of locals, just like me, joining the evening crowd for a fun and flavoursome night out. The drumming experience has everyone giggling and smiling and sets the tone for what’s to come.
After the drumming, our faces are painted with a delicate red dot pattern, our hands washed with a hint of rose water and we’re introduced to our smiling waitress, the Ugandan-born Prossy who is part of a truly multi-national team.
Ready to eat!
All that drummings built up an appetite and we’re ready for what lies ahead – a 14 dish extravaganza that promises to offer us a variety of tastes from all over Africa. First up, its a deliciously spicy tomato soup, accompanied by South African Roosterkoek and a creamy pâté blend of biltong and peppadew. This is quickly followed by a ménage à trois of street food – consisting of sweet potato balls covered in sesame seeds, spinach patties and a lamb phyllo-pastry cigar that has me begging for more.
Starter and seven dishes down its time for some energetic marimba playing, Zulu dancing and two of the most majestic voices I have ever heard as more of the team take to the stage.
And then the main affair hits our table. Its a collection of dishes that again do not disappoint. A Zanzibari fish curry delights all senses with notes of coconut and spicy masala and is offset by a roast vegetable couscous, collard greens and a sweet, sticky chicken salad. But the real highlight for me is the Namibian venison hot pot. According to the menu, they use organic Springbok (which could not outrun the chef) and slow cook it until tender – oh, so tender. I’m tempted to order another helping but my bulging belly still wants to keep room for the desert.
Even more dancing and singing later and we end of the evening with a sweet spring roll Moroccan pastry that epitomises everything a dessert should be and more.
A good few hours since we drummed in the evening, it comes time to say goodbye. I’m sad to leave, not only because I wish I could eat like an African queen every night but because somehow in the past few hours this beautiful team has become like friends, family even. But I’m lucky because unlike the foreigners leaving beside me, I know that I can return at any time and I’m already planning my next date at GOLD! Who’s in?