On Tuesday my cousin, Cindy, contacted me to make a plan to meet up somewhere in New York. She works at a country club in White Plains (just outside the city) but we haven’t had a chance to meet up with our busy work schedules. She suggested we meet at her favourite South African restaurant called Madiba in Brooklyn.
I’ve been extremely home sick over the past few months only having spent a week in Cape Town since December 2011. Cindy hasn’t been back in two years so we were very excited to have a little family reunion in a South African restaurant. A few of our crew hopped onto the NYC Subway and headed to Brooklyn to meet Cindy and her boyfriend, Brett, at Madiba. The shabeen style restaurant was inviting and it felt we were back on home soil. The biggest smiles appeared on our faces as we sipped Carling Black Label beer and demolished platters of biltong and droe wors. Pure delight!
Appletizer, Durban samosas, vetkoek, Babooti, Bunny Chow, Boerewors and pap, Oxtail potjie, milk tart with condiments including Mrs Balls chutney, Aromat and Nando’s sauces were scattered across our table. Authentic South African cuisine full of flavour – it’s no wonder this restaurant is recommended by Zagat. It was so comforting listening to South African accents and music while chatting to Cindy about our family back home. Our grandfather hasn’t been well over the past few months as he is close in age to Tata Madiba. When you’re far away from home, you feel helpless and even guilty for not being there. This made seeing Cindy that much more special – family support! The Kokstad guys (Rich, Jamie and Guy) practised their Zulu with one of the waitrons while the Americans at the table sampled the cuisine and practiced the correct pronunciation of words like ‘Babooti’. After dinner we met the owner, Mark, who sang us a song about Durban and treated our table to a free round of Springbok shots (peppermint liqueur and Amarula). What a good oke!
Before leaving, we raided their shelves and stocked up on our favourite South African products including Ouma rusks, Flings, Crunchie and Bar-One chocolates, Ceres litchi juice and more. It is rather pricey (R160 for a box of Ouma rusks) but Madiba restaurant donate money to various South African charities which makes our home comforts that much more special.
Madiba restaurant definitely is a place of love. I’ve had a taste of home and family which has lifted my spirits tremendously. I look forward to dunking my Ouma rusk into a cup of Rooibos tea during my tea break tomorrow. The saying is so true – Home is where the heart is. ❤