With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award
Mzoli's in Gugulethu: Cape Town's Most Popular Tshisa Nyama Hangout
Latest update: On Sunday, 25th February, part of Mzoli's was vandalised during protests.
(The popular hangout reopened on Monday and is trading as usual.)
Mzoli's in Gugulethu came from humble beginnings, when owner Mzoli Ngcawuzele started selling meat from a garage in 2003. Since then it’s become a popular hangout in Cape Town endorsed by famous faces such as DJ Fresh and TV chef Jamie Oliver. Here’s one writer’s experience of hanging out at Mzoli’s on a Sunday – one of the restaurant’s busiest days.
REAL AND RUSTIC
As we pull up to Mzoli’s we are greeted by plumes of smoke from the braai. There are already crowds of friends sitting on the plastic chairs and tables feasting from tin bowls filled with mountains of sausage, beef and chicken. You have to come in early to find a sport, as when we arrive many of the tables are already sporting reserved signs and we are lucky to find a table for our party of 20.
Before ordering our feast, we visit a nearby shop to buy alcohol and peanuts (you can also bring your own, Mzoli’s does not sell alcohol). We sit sipping cold beers in the sunshine, indulging in conversation. A DJ is playing deep house in the background. At the table next to us are some American tourists, who are already tucking into a plate of marinated beef. “This is incredible, dude. It’s so addictive,” I hear them announce, through a mouthful of meat.
MARINATED MEAT AND FUNKY FASHION
You pick your own meat from the butchery and then take it to the grill to be marinated in their secret sauce – then you wait for it to be fired up. When our mounds of meat arrive we all get stuck in. By 3pm, Mzoli’s is heaving with people. Locals, tourists and businesspeople are mingling in the same space, with many more spilling out on to the streets.
At Mzoli’s it’s not only the meat that stands out, but also the young, fashionable crowd in their bright, designer threads colours and funky hairstyles. It’s a crowd full of life, that knows how to party and can throw some serious moves on the dance floor. Mzoli’s vision was that all races could hang out in the same space and you certainly find yourself talking to people with whom you wouldn’t normally interact. It’s a crowd that can’t help but make you smile.
Best time to go: Sundays and Saturdays, from 11:00-late.
NY115 | Gugulethu | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 638 1355
Read our directions to Mzoli's in Gugulethu.
Discover more tshisa nyama joints around Cape Town.
Prefer to do the braaing yourself? Check out these braai spots around Mother City.
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