Eating and Drinking Absolute Mumbo Jumbo

Clive Davies definitive guide to not being defined, in Greenmarket Square

South African born, Clive Davies, is well-travelled and it's apparent when we meet him that he's an old soul. His mother's great grandparents were gypsies and his inherent travel bug has taken him to the four corners of the earth; England, Australia, America and the Caribbean. He's also worked as a fashion production manager and has a passion for the arts. He strikes me as a timeless character, who cannot be defined as one type of person alone. Mumbo Jumbo Cafe Bar is quite the extension of Clive's personality and it's fast bringing Cape Town's night owls back to historic, Greenmarket Square.

Retro; or playful kitsch?

The downstairs lounge is a mix-match of pink walls, chandeliers, fairy lights and antique light fittings. Often hired out exclusively for private functions, it's an intimate space, where not many people are needed to fill the dance floor. Some of Clive's personal photography adorns the walls and performance art photography by Andre Brits.

Upstairs is a vibrant dining area and bar, which exhibits local artists including; burlesque and more from Andre Brits. It's a cosy space, featuring a large couch which faces theatrical, Greenmarket Square – patrons have been known to sit for hours, watching market characters and historical buildings.

It's better to cook basic food and cook it well

Our lunch menu consists of quesadillas, sandwiches, wraps and burgers. Patrons are offered a choice of Thai, Mediterranean or Mexican delights; however, they all have one thing in common – they are simple and fresh.  Clive tells us that he's open to suggestions on how he might improve his dishes. Even if you have a vision, it's important to listen to your customers.

To start with, I opt for Thai Chicken Lollipops – simply, Thai chicken, red onion, chilli and coriander, wrapped in a fresh sliver of cucumber and dipped in sweet chilli sauce. My friend opts for a moist bruschetta, topped with chopped tomato, garlic and basil. Clive tells us that bruschettas are rather famous and some patrons have been known to go for four helpings. We also get to sample Mumbo's soup of the day – a delicious carrot and coriander.

Moving onto the main, I opt for the homemade African burger – an ostrich patty topped with caramelised, balsamic onions and served with chunky wedges. My friend opts for chicken quesadillas, with mozzarella and cheddar cheese, chilli sauce, a flour tortilla and sliced avocado. We finish with a hearty cappuccino; abundant with frothy milk.

Our verdict

Much-loved ingredients cooked from scratch and cooked well. Deliciously healthy.

A space where memories and love flourish

Mumbo Jumbo attracts a crowd of lawyers, office workers, students and visitors, a great deal of which become regulars. In fact, Clive met long-term partner, Sabrina, through her regular visits. Sabrina helps to run the Mumbo Jumbo show and is passionate about making customers feel comfortable. This is a space where memories are created and love is shared – first dates, hen parties and New Year celebrations.

Clive's eclectic taste in music appeals to all ages. We are treated to a wide range of melodies, from the Cure, to Edith Piaf. DJ Kimon (Basement Radio) plays once a month in Mumbo's lounge and, due to popular demand, Clive is thinking about reviving live summer jazz. We say: 'Go for it!'

Important stuff you need to know

Opening Times:
 During September, Mumbo Jumbo is open from 11:00-19:00, from Saturday-Thursday and from 11:00-until the last customer leaves, on Fridays. During October, the cafe bar will open from 09:00-21:00, from Tuesday-Friday, from 09:00-19:00, on Mondays and, from 09:00-18:00 on Saturdays. Mumbo will open earlier, to accommodate a new breakfast menu.
Happy Hour: 2-for-1 cocktails and double spirits for the price of a single, 17:00-18:00, Monday-Friday.
Address: The Cape Suites | 38 Shortmarket Street | Greenmarket Square | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 424 6070

By Lisa Nevitt

There's plenty going on in the heart of the city. Be sure to read our overview of Greenmarket Square

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