Delicious, simple homestyle cooking

2011-01-28 08:58

You know how it goes – you spot a new place, mean to try it, get sidetracked, then the universe gives you a nudge.

So it was a friend that told me where to get a really good Cape Malay curry – District Six, the same new place I had spotted while on a neighbourhood sortie for a new rug.

Owned by Clarence Swartland-Gorlei, a former dancer who has always been an enthusiastic cook, the food that comes out of the kitchen is delicious, simple and full of the smells of a home.

Swartland-Gorlei says he finally decided to take the plunge and open District Six after a visit to ­Italy last year.

Seeing all the hole-in-the-wall eateries serving up their mama’s pasta recipes made him realise he could do the same thing – using his own rich culinary heritage as a starting point.

The place has indoor space for about 28 covers and a few extra for the smokers on the pavement.

Sporting one cerise pink wall and one turquoise, the place has a suitably sparkly Cape Carnival outfit (donated by Mr Daniels, whom patrons can see smiling down at them in a photo) on one wall.

Nearby, a cluster of photos from the owner’s childhood reinforce the homely atmosphere, while on another wall panama hats hang in rows and a large mirror gives a sense of depth to the small eatery.

On shelves here and there are a collection of vintage teapots and Swartland-Gorlei’s i-Pod shuffles through the decades and genres, adding to the ­ambience.

While we soaked up the atmosphere, Swartland-Gorlei served samoosas.

Light and crispy, filled with spicy mince and mashed potato they are worth the trip on their own.

Next up was tomato bredie, which released swirls of cinnamon as we lifted the lid, and smoor snoek, a spicy fish dish that captures its Cape Malay roots in every mouthful.

Served with a bowl of steamed rice, we couldn’t finish our generous portions as we simply had to save space for the milk tart.

Encased in phyllo pastry, it is the best milk tart I have ever had: firm, creamy and not too sweet, it is heaven in a slice.

I will be going back soon for the cheese cake, another of the proprietor’s show?stoppers.

The food is served in a hotch-potch of crockery, all of which has a “borrowed from granny’s kitchen” feel to it, and it too adds to District Six’s feel of home and sense of history. There are also pickles on sale that Swartland-Gorlei makes himself.

The one thing that does not remain constant at District Six is the menu.

Swartland-Gorlei cooks what he likes every day and changes the menu accordingly.

With fewer than 10 items on the menu, patrons run the risk of not getting the bobotie they are craving if it’s sold out before they arrive, but if you call ahead the owner will set aside your choice – so long as it’s on that day’s menu.

Also, Swartland-Gorlei is delighted to fill one of your casserole dishes with one of his home-cooked treats.

If you fancy oxtail for dinner or perhaps prawn curry, so long as you give him enough notice, he will make it for you and you can pick it up later.

District Six is just like home, ­except someone else is doing the cooking.

»District Six Eatery in Emmarentia in Joburg is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.
011 486 7226.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.