Hidden just outside of Johannesburg city centre is a beautiful South African restaurant, called Eksé.
From vetkoeks to kotas, Eksé boasts a menu that will have you missing your grandmother’s cooking or that corner store eKasi where they used to sell kotas that remind you of everything good about the world.
Located at the heart of Maboneng Precinct, it’s hard to miss Eksé, with the bright yellow signage written brightly outside of the restaurant.
As you walk in, you are greeted by hip-hop instrumentals and warm laughter. The room is filled with loud happy conversations, while others capture each moment, taking pictures as if no one was around.
As my friends and I began to feel at home, a staffer came down to us with a bowl of cheese puffs. ‘For free? I asked. The waiter responded with a casual ‘yes,’ almost confused by my question.
I ordered a classic Kota; stuffed with chips and a beef patty with melted cheese, avocado and atchaar served on a jar lid.
When the food was placed on my table, I realised why the eatery was named Eksé, a phrase that’s used to grab someone’s attention when trying to speak to them. That’s exactly how I felt when my plate of Kota was placed on the table. That thing was big. It smelled good. Exactly what I needed on a Saturday.
So apparently there is a particular art to eating Kota. I wish someone had told me this before I ordered. Having lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo for most of my life, I had no idea. As I struggled through one messy bite at a time, the waiter noticed that my shirt was now boasting the redness of the atchaar.
Without even being requested, he graciously approached my table with a napkin and cutlery in hand. He even gave me a tutorial on how to eat a kota meal without messing up my outfit. I tried and failed. This didn’t stop me from ordering another Kota for the road though. The meal was amazing.
Besides the Kota, the menu offers a range of local cuisines such as the Gourmet Gwinya which is stuffed with chips, a beef patty and cheese. The Makoya meal is spicy sticky chicken. The prices are equally as satisfying, costing between R30 to R80.
So is that a yes for Eksé? Definitely! Give it a try. From the food to the restaurant setting, I would definitely recommend this restaurant for a nice chilled afternoon.