Madiba - South African in Brooklyn

Madiba Brooklyn - 195 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11205

Looking for something different to eat one night, some friends and I (Mirko) went to Madiba, a South African restaurant located in Brooklyn. Going with a South African friend, we had an expert on hand to provide us with his choice dish selections, so we all had some very high hopes for the meal that was to come. 

Madiba, is the Xhosa Clan name for Nelson Mandela, a prior President of South Africa. At first glance, their vibrancy of South African culture is on display for all to see. Bright colours adorn the walls as do a number of different South African elements. The restaurant aims to look like a Shebeen which is a shanty bar/club which you would often see around South Africa.

Walking in (on this rainy night), there is a warm and inviting feel with South African beats playing in the background care of the live band. The restaurant also sells some local South African products (which makes my friend feel a little nostalgic and homesick).

The wall of goodies 
Bar area prior to being seated
We are seated, and provided our menus, which we hand to my friend to take care of the ordering for us. Now, onto the food! (note: given the bad lighting in the restaurant - definitely not blogger friendly), I put together a collage of the dishes that we had as opposed to each individual dish).

Our selection of dishes for the night
1. Farm Raised Ostrich Carpaccio ($16) - In the past, the carpaccio I have had, has typically been of the beef variety, so when we saw this South African take on the traditional, we were all intrigued. The carpaccio was served with cheese, olive oil and 7-grain toast and was sliced very thin. Ostrich in my opinion was quite a gamey meat, however the combination of the cheese and olive oil balanced the gamey flavours of this dish. Something a little different, which I would definitely have again.

2. Slap Chips ($6) - French Fries soaked in vinegar and salted. A few people around the table had not heard of this combination before, however being from Australia, salt and vinegar hot chips (not crisps) are somewhat the norm when going into a Fish and Chip shop if you are not ordering the standard chicken salt. The chips were cooked well, were slightly soggy and the balance of salt and vinegar just right.

3. Vetkoek ($12) - Deep fried sourdough filled with savoury ground beef and mango chutney. This is the first time that I have seen this dish, and was one of the favourites of the night. The deep fried sourdough was not oily, and retained a slight crunch and chew, which added some nice textural elements to the dish. The ground beef had some nice spicy flavours, which were further balanced by the sweeter mango chutney.

4. Calamari ($15) - Lightly fried with tartare sauce. The calamari had a light crumb, was soft and tender with a nice flavourful tartare sauce. Overall, a nice side for the meal.

5. Pap and Vleis ($26) - Rack of lamb chops with pap (white cornmeal), tomato and onion gravy. The rack of lamb was definitely a favourite for the meat eaters of the group (all of us). The lamb was nice and tender and the pap (not something that I have previously had), soaked up all the tomato and onion gravy. This definitely got us full!

6. Mozambican Prawns ($25) - Butterflied prawns with peri peri and white wine sauce, saffron yellow rice and mixed greens. The prawns were nicely cooked and retained its natural sweetness. The peri peri sauce was not overpowering with a nice spice.

7. Bunny Chow ($20) - Chicken curry in a hollowed out bread, South African street food style. I have had this dish previously when I was in Zanzibar. The flavours and presentation reminded me of my time there. If eaten traditionally, you can use the bread to mop up the thick curry, home-style cooking at its best. A really hearty meal.

8. Desserts - both desserts were delicious. One was your standard chocolate cake. Moist and rich, a favourite with the table. The second, and for the life of me I cannot remember the name, reminded me of a Greek Galakatoboureko with its light custard filling, a favourite of mine.

Overall, I, along with my friends had a great time at Madiba and I would recommend this South African restaurant to others.

Ambiance 4/5  – great casual vibe with a lot of South African cultural references.
Service 4/5 – prompt and helpful. Provided input into favourite dishes.
Food 7/10 - Good flavours, executed well.

Child friendly - yes, not sure if high chairs are available though.

Overall, OTCB gives Madiba 15/20 chops On The Chopping Board.

Madiba Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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