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    4.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Apr 2014 · Karen Elowitt

    If you’ve ever been to an Africa-themed “destination” restaurant, you know that it can be a hit-or-miss experience. Luckily, unlike...

    If you’ve ever been to an Africa-themed “destination” restaurant, you know that it can be a hit-or-miss experience. Luckily, unlike some other establishments of its ilk, Moyo manages to strike a good balance between touristy and tasteful.

    For the unfamiliar, Moyo, which has two locations in Joburg (and four more elsewhere in South Africa), blends food, music, and Africana in a single, seamless setting. The pan-African menu offers a sampler of the major dishes from every corner of the continent, such as Senegalese chicken tassa, South African springbok carpaccio, and Ethiopian ostrich berberre. I had one of the house specialties, the flamed fillet (peppadews, mushroom, morogo, South African wild spinach and mozzarella-stuffed beef fillet, served with Madagascan green peppercorn, and cream sauce on a herbed potato dauphinoise) which lived up to its reputation. My companion had one of the tastiest lamb and chicken tagines I’ve sampled in a long time.

    But you don’t go to Moyo just for the food. You go for the sights, sounds, and feel of the place. The interior of the restaurant looks like a museum crossed with a nightclub: pressed pebble walls, copper furniture, textured wood paneling, and African art and artifacts crammed onto walls, shelves, and ceilings.

    The 350-seat, multi-level restaurant has numerous seating options: there’s the pleasant outdoor patio on Melrose Square where you can watch the world go by; the standard inside tables, which offer a perfect view of the stage; and the private nooks built into the lower level, where couples can have some privacy.

    There’s usually some kind of live musical entertainment, so if you want to be able to hear your dinner companion, ask for a table far from the stage. Aside from the headline act of the night, roaming musicians stop by each table to serenade diners – in my case, it was a pair of young men playing the Zimbabwean mbira, a traditional instrument that’s plucked with the thumbs. You might also get a visit from a face painter, who will brush wispy white tribal designs onto your cheeks.

    Though the wait staff during my visit were slower than I’d have liked and didn’t seem to have a great command of the menu, they were unfailingly polite and overall I’d recommend this theme park-cum-restaurant as a fun, if slightly over-the-top place for a night out.

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