As far as we know, San Francisco only has one self-described South African restaurant.
That number is set to double on Monday, albeit just for one night.
Enter the PoyKee Pop-Up Dinner at Kate's Kitchen (471 Haight St.), billed as a "fun tasting adventure of South African food on a chilled out Monday evening." ("PoyKee" itself is the pronunciation of potjie, a cast-iron pot like the one pictured above, used in traditional South African cuisine to cook meats and vegetables over a fire.)
The pop-up comes courtesy of Sankara Gibbs, a Kate's Kitchen employee who came to the city a year ago from Johannesburg to finish school. "Upon graduating in May last year I started working as a waitress/host/prep-cook at Kate's Kitchen and I have been working there ever since," she told us. When her boss suggested she do a pop-up at Kate's, she jumped at the chance to cook the food of her hometown.
"I started feeling nostalgic about food from home," she said. "Being that there is a lack of African restaurants in San Fran, I decided to take it upon myself to cook all the things I missed from home and turn it into a food concept that I could share with other people."
"My cooking experience in Johannesburg definitely inspired putting this pop-up together too," she said. "I worked with a chef who goes by the name Sanza who had a tiny 'cookshop' in a neighborhood called Yeoville in Johannesburg. Everything I learned while working with Sanza in Yeoville is being applied to this food concept. I learned how to make all kinds of Indian curry there. There are going to be a few curry dishes on the menu. I also learned how to use local ingredients to make Pan-African fusion dishes like South African 'couscous' made from maize meal."
At Monday night's event, you can enjoy items like "bunny chow" (hollowed out bread filled with curry), "chakalaka cups" (a sautéed tomato-based salad), oxtail stew, lamb tagine, rooibos creme brûlée, and more. For $45, you'll get a four-course meal, plus a glass of wine or beverage of your choice. If you're going with a group, you can instead opt for the "PoyKee Feast"—a 4-course meal for four people and a bottle of wine. There's also an optional wine-tasting flight, featuring pours of four Cape wines and one glass of your choice, for just $12.
Monday night's service will feature two seatings, the first starting between 5:30pm and 6pm, and the second starting at 8pm. There will be live jazz music early in the evening, and a DJ spinning Afro beats for the rest of the night. For tickets, click here.
This promises to be the first of several pop-ups to roll out at Kate's Kitchen this year—we'll keep you posted on any future events.