Taste test – Kota in crisis

2014-07-02 10:00

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A new takeaway franchise has opened up in Joburg. The #Trending team puts its food to the test to see if it can stand up to its kasi counterparts

?I prefer my aunt's around the corner

A shop in the heart of Jozi has put a spin on the township’s much-loved breakfast and lunch staple.

Mister Kota has infused some suburban glam into kasi’s equivalent of a burger by doing away with the traditional white bread and using a hollowed bread roll instead. The store opened its doors in August last year and is now looking to expand.

A kota is township slang for a quarter loaf of bread, and is mixed with all kinds of food items – fried chips, atchar, Viennas, Russians, eggs, polony and burger patties. The health conscious would think twice before giving it a go.

I have had my fair share of this township-loved staple, having been a Soweto citizen for more than 10 years, but with Mister Kota’s version, I am left wondering if this tradition has been violated in favour of making money. It promised a lot but delivered nothing much – except for heavily denting the pocket.

Mister Kota may have frisked up the kota’s presentation a bit by using bread rolls, but why bother when it doesn’t taste good? Their chips were badly prepared and left me highly disappointed.

With names like CheeseBoy, MoneyMaker, BEE and TopShayela, the franchise is serious about infusing some personality into its brand, but I would still much prefer going to my favourite aunt on the corner.

– Siyabonga Sithole

Can I get a salad with that?

I only learnt about kotas last week. Bear with me, I’m white. It’s basically a carb-on-carb fest.

We ordered their cheapest kota – the CheeseBoy (R19.90) – and their pièce de résistance, the MoneyMaker (R44.90).

The CheeseBoy – chips, cheese, sauce and atchar – was basically horrible. I don’t get putting chips on bread. It’s like trying to divide by zero. The MoneyMaker – burger patties, cheese, eggs, bacon, gherkins and atchar – made my cholesterol shoot up just by looking at it.

Nevertheless, I chowed a fair amount of it down and came to enjoy the no-holds-barred appeal of this food – it throws all rules and scruples out the window and basically tries to put the biggest possible amount of fried animal products on one piece of bread.

Both kotas were messy – they break when you pick them up. Your face gets dirty. Your stomach doesn’t understand what’s happening.

Nevertheless, you plough on. The atchar adds a nice zesty, pickled taste, cutting through the greasiness of the beef. The bacon adds smokiness, but the bread roll is quite soft and fresh.

The kota does what it was designed to do – fill you up unapologetically. I can see how these could go down a treat when you’re drunk and scoffing on a pavement.

– Grethe Koen

» Visit Mister Kota at the corner of Commissioner and Eloff streets in Braamfontein

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