South African food festival at Sofitel Mumbai

Last night, I ditched my diet and threw myself into the exploration of South African cuisine and culture at the on-going South African food festival at Pondichery Cafe, Sofitel Mumbai BKC. The festival kicked off on 27th April, which is South Africa's Freedom Day, with a grand celebration of ethnic music and dance. I missed that, but I was glad I made it before the end of the festival (7th May). You should do, if you like food adventures and bunny chow.


I've experienced so many food festivals at Sofitel Mumbai BKC but every time, the entrance looks different. They have a really stellar decoration team who make you feel like you've entered South African territory. Two wonderfully made animals guarded the entrance and on either side, visitors could take a picture using an already set-up background and props like hats and binoculars. You can see one of the pictures I clicked at the start of this post.

That's Mavis Netshituka, one of the three South African chefs that Sofitel has appointed to whip up all the delicacies at the food festival. I found her posing with dishes such as Sliced Lamb Shank Bredie, Cape Town Smoked Fish Pot Pie, Chicken Frikkadels and Vegetarian Bobotie. Being a vegetarian, what I managed to taste were the mashed potato with green bean (delicious), braised rice cooked with cherry tomato and herb (a wonderful accompaniment to the vegetarian ratatouille), butternut feta (sweet, soft squash), vegetable wraps, carrot soup (with generous amounts of chopped carrot), eggplant coated in a sour batter and fried and a round South African fried bread, that can also be stuffed with meat and served. Here's a look at some of the dishes served at the festival.

Butternut feta

Vegetarian ratatouille

Green beans mash
Visitors could even try African style hair braiding and face painting at specially set-up stalls. A stack of brochures provided information on tourist attractions in South Africa. What I really liked about this festival was that it provided a holistic glimpse of South Africa as a travel destination. Be warned, if you have a meal here, you might just find yourself on a flight to Johannesburg next month! Oh and Sofitel is also running a contest where you stand to win a free night's stay in the country.

Face painting - a hit among the kids!
South African cuisine is an interesting melange of Malaysian, Indian, Dutch and Indonesian flavours, all of which found representation at Sofitel’s unique food festival. I enjoyed my dinner in the familiar luxury of Pondichery Café. They now have a coffee booth as well, and the dessert spread remains as impressive as ever. On that day, there was a live deconstructed white chocolate mousse counter and of course, I had to try it. The creamy white mousse wedged between two slabs of chocolate cake topped with white chocolate crumbs and cream was sheer perfection.

Details of the festival:
Date: 27th April - 7th May 2017
Time: 7:00 pm onwards
Venue: Pondichéry Café, Sofitel Mumbai BKC

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