Pop-up restaurants: 6 unique dining experiences in South Africa

Posted on 17 August 2017

Pop-up restaurants are making unusual food more accessible in South Africa and provide snazzier, more exotic options that aren’t explored in everyday South African households. ‘Pop-ups’ come with more freedom than a regular restaurant setting and have an essential personal element showing us that good food (and eating it) is not just functional. It’s a way of connecting with like minded-people and the world. Plus, you could even get to meet the chef.

Check out these interesting pop–up restaurants to dine at in South Africa:


1. Come Wine With Us – Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town

Good company, accompanied by food makes a wonderful combination. Image supplied by Alison Tu from Talamia Photography

We all want to connect over catch-ups, but how often do we? That’s why Sybil Doms created Come Wine With Us. Sybil comes from a sommelier, cooking and media background and Come Wine With Us is her way  of encouraging people to get together. ‘Six good friends around a table, six bottles of wine and some canapés is how Come Wine With Us came about in 2012. I believe in people connecting and discovering new things’.

The dinners are always paired with four luxury wine brands and include a three-course meal with wine top-ups (so your glass is never empty). The monthly and one-of-a kind food experience has also recently introduced live music, to set the perfect ambience for their evenings.

Book a Come Dine With Us dinner.


2. Joël’s Table – Cape Town

You can visit Joël’s Table the first Saturday and the last Friday of every month at The Flat Mountain in Woodstock, Cape Town. Image from Joël Kapepula

For Joël Kapepula, Saturday mornings consisted of him preparing hearty meals for his friends. Great conversations and laughter would be inevitable in a gathering of friends, which is why he launched Joël’s Table in March this year. Joël comes from a French background with a passion for cooking from a young age and shared his idea of owning a restaurant with a friend, who in turn introduced him to the owner of The Flat Mountain Coffee Roasters in Woodstock, Cape Town.

Joël develops meals that are healthy, to align with his lifestyle and gluten-intolerant requirements, but also strives to continually create exciting and interesting combinations. His meals range from waffles to flapjacks, croissants, breakfast bagels and cheeseburgers. Joël’s Table is a space for people to bring their friends, meet strangers and build a community over a good meal. You can visit Joël’s Table the first Saturday of every month from 9:00 and every last Friday of the month from 18:30 at the Flat Mountain Coffee Roasters. Facebook to find out on how you can connect over a meal.


3. Plump Kitchen, Johannesburg

A Mpho Masango creation. Image by Plump Kitchen

After waking up on Saturday mornings with the need to do something fun (something that wasn’t a weekend market) Mpho Masango, the founder of Plump Kitchen started her pop-up restaurant in Maboneng, Joburg. Mpho Masango calls Plump Kitchen her turf, where she can play, indulge and be herself. She’s hosted many pop-ups, each with various themes, but ‘Plump Kitchen is about getting people to experience and fall in love with something that they wouldn’t ordinarily eat’. Her experience experimenting with different dishes and pop-ups gives her an edge – this is one to look out for!

Her first pop-up was called Grains and Staples and was an opportunity to showcase what can be created from grains, legumes and pulses, as well as other healthier options when it comes to South African cuisines. Mpho has also hosted events, such as gin and food pairings by playing with flavours – sometimes even including the gin itself in the meal. The next dinners will be hosted on 27 August and 24 September 2017. Email Plump Kitchen to book your dinner.


4. Wandile’s Invitation – Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town

Chef Wandile in action. Image by Nocebo Bucibo

Chef Wandile is a South African chef with exceptional knowledge of French cuisine. After spending nine years away from South Africa, he’s now back on home soil and making French cuisine accessible to South Africans. Wandile’s Invitation is an experience to taste and understand French food and French cooking techniques.

Wandile aims to maximise the cooking experience for all his guests and cooks from the heart. His dinners have already been well received in Durban and Joburg. but the next dinners are to be hosted in Pretoria and Hartbeesport, followed by Cape Town. Each location comes with a different atmosphere and setting. This Spring, you can look forward to an outdoor fine dining with unique flavours.


5. Glam Foodie Wine and Dine – Johannesburg and Cape Town

Good food and some wine. Image by Glam Foodie

Glam Foodie Wine and Dine is the brainchild of Charmaine Ramalope, who started it in 2005. The Glam Foodie collaborates with chefs to create unique culinary experiences so like-minded people can meet and network.

The Glam Foodie Wine and Dine experiences are hosted once a month for haute cuisine and luxury wine brand lovers. Some wine brands you can expect at the Glam Foodie WIne and Dine are Glen Carlou, Jean Daneel, Bartinney Private Cellar Wine, Avondale Wines and Rietvallei Wine. Email the Glam Foodie or follow her on social media for more information on the dining experiences.

Also Read: The Top 13 Hyde Park Restaurants

6. Third Culture Experiment– Cape Town

Eat glorious food and connect with people from all walks of life with the Third Culture Experiment. Image by Third Culture Experiment

The Third Culture Experiment was birthed through a series of events by founder, Nobhongo Gxolo. Nobhongo says one of the very first conversations that sparked the idea of a pop-up restaurant was a conversation between her mother and aunt about getting into the food industry. Nobhongo stumbled across an article on food clubs, followed by feedback from a friend who attended a food and art event in someone’s home. It didn’t end there. After a yoga lesson with friends and being invited to dinner, she dined on the tastiest chicken and hasn’t been able to forget it since. 2004 was full of sure signs to host pop-up dinners.

Today it’s a reality, Third Culture Experiment is a space where Nobhongo hosts dinners prepared herself while connecting with guests. ‘The purpose is to let people walk away feeling appreciated, not just in their tummies, but their hearts as well’ says Nobhongo. There’s a lot of reading and experimenting when it comes to putting together the menu at Third Culture Experiment. The dinners are hosted monthly and each dinner event is themed according to the season. Email The Third Culture Experiment to take part.

Visited any awesome pop-up restaurants in South Africa? Comment below and share your experience with us.


Read more about the Third Culture Experiment in the September Getaway issue.

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Our September issue features 11 amazing beach cottages, two ways to see the Klein Karoo, a windswept 4X4 drive in Namibia, our guide to swimming in Greece and much more!

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