19 October 2011 by Robyn Campbell

AmaZink Live cooks!

I suspect quite a few Stellenbosch and Cape Town locals are lamenting the passing of the AmaZink Eatery.

For those who knew the township restaurant before it was transformed into AmaZink Live, a pre-booked dinner-theatre show, eating at AmaZink was reminiscent of Harlem’s soul food joints - the kind of place you only took your best mates and you swore them to secrecy about its existence.

AmaZink (Eatery nee Live) was the brainchild of top chef Bertus Basson and Loyiso Mbambo, a township entrepreneur, former shebeen owner and an accomplished cook specialising in Xhosa cuisine.

Billed as kasi cuisine (slang for township food), meal presentation, service and décor was somewhat ‘smarter’ than other similar eateries, but the authentic food and good value for money made it feel like a kasi experience.

In October this year, AmaZink Eatery was relaunched as the AmaZink Live Theatre, and if the former restaurant teetered on the brink of being yuppy and trendy, it’s now fully taken the plunge.

Newly tarted up after extensive renovations, AmaZink Live is a dinner-and-show venue, punting a South African menu as opposed to the former kasi food, with the waiters doubling-up as performers.

The menu, designed by award-winning chef Bertus is a melange of boerekos-meets-township with a smattering of Israeli/Mediterranean and American dishes. Who knew kofta and Southern Fried Chicken was South African…

In the context, in which the 3 course meal is served, as a plated starter and dessert, and the main meal brought buffet style to the table, it will probably work a treat. You’ll need the carbs from your Malva pudding for partying.

AmaZink Live is modelled on the Barnyard Theatre concept, which sees show goers book large group tables, purchase liquor from the venue, and BYO food. It’s easy-going, relaxed, and the audiences lap up the live performances that encourage audience participation.

At AmaZink, tickets cost R300 p/person and include a 1-hour show, a welcome drink and a 3-course meal. There’s also a full cash bar. You just book (essential), arrive, and have a good time.

Though the storyline behind the musical is less than original (a township shebeen experiencing tough times and facing closure) the music will undoubtedly rouse the audience.

The 11-piece cast (waiters) perform classic-to-kitsch ‘South African’ songs such as Pata Pata, The Click Song, Meadowlands, and Mamma Tembu’s Wedding. I dare anyone, after a few glasses of wine, not to be howling in joyous chorus when songs like Jabulani, and The Lion Sleeps tonight are sung.

The nicest thing on the menu is that during the winter months, May to August, AmaZink Live becomes the AmaZink Academy which trains and Kayamandi residents in both the arts (music and drama) and hospitality industries.

If you’d rather not drink and drive (and we’d rather you didn’t), there’s a taxi service available to and from Stellenbosch that can be reserved when you book your show tickets.

By all accounts, you’ll have an AmaZink time. Give it a go…

AmaZink Live
118A Masithandane Street,
Khayamandi, in Stellenbosch
Tel: +27 (0)72 993 9173
Email: info@amazink.co.za

Shows run from 01 October 2011and end 31 March 2012. For more information visit
www.amazink.co.za

Category: Arts & Entertainment, Food & Wine

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