I had so much fun last weekend attending the exclusive pop-up by Robertsons – The Spice People – who celebrated with Jozi’s food lovers in a totally unique way with a funky pop-up store, that was also a world first! 

On Thursday 21 September until Monday 25th September, Robertsons, opened their doors to The ‘Robertsons Reinvention Kitchen’, a once-off Pop-up restaurant that changed everything, everyday. Literally!

Each day, for 5 days, the pop-up reinvented to celebrate the country, the cuisine and the culture of various locations where The Spice People expertly source their individual herbs and spices, that are master blended in the Robertsons Barbecue Spice, Chicken Spice and Steak & Chops blends.

Robertsons has travelled the world to find the finest herbs and spices and brought them home to expertly blend them, so that South Africans can discover new worlds of flavour with every meal. The pop-up showcased this dedication and expertise by crafting the daily theme, food and experiences around the individual spices and herbs found in Robertsons signature blends.

“Having gone to the ends of the earth to source the best herbs and spices, we knew we’d have to travel off the beaten track with our Reinvention Kitchen, bringing South Africans a unique food experience that highlights the superior sourcing locations and flavour expertise that go into our signature blends. You will find our passion and knowledge, brought to life through new and exciting takes on 5 different cuisines and the countries we source the herbs and spices from,” explains Robertsons Marketing Representative, Laureen Mxoli.

Every day the menu and chefs changed as well. The chefs partnered with during the pop-up were a line-up of 5 millennial chefs who created a one-day-only menu inspired by the spice and its country of origin, so guests could explore the aromas, sights and sounds of each of the countries.

From spicy, aromatic Nutmeg, to Pimento sourced from the Mexican rain forests, the distinctively sweet and delicate Egyptian Marjoram, with a touch of earthy and smoky Indian Chilli and fiery home-grown Paprika, the Reinvention Kitchen was alive with global flavours, aromas and sights. 

Diners lucky enough to have been able to reserve a seat at the Robertsons Reinvention Kitchen enjoyed once-off culinary creations by top local chefs – the likes of Rikku Ó’Donnchü , Zola Nene, Ash Heegar, Lentswe Bhengu and , Vusi Ndlovu,–  Chilli (from India), Marjoram (from Egypt), Nutmeg (from Indonesia) , Paprika (from South Africa) and Pimento (from Marjoram, Chilli and Paprika as inspiration for their spice voyages. 

Seats were limited to 40 people per sitting, with two tasty sittings per day: a lunch sitting from 12 pm – 2 pm and a dinner sitting from 6 pm – 8 pm and every session was full to the brim with a waiting list for most seatings.

Hosted by the food and travel fanatic Lorna Maseko, guests were taken on the following spice discoveries across 5 days – I attended on Saturday the 23rd of September, and got to enjoy a taste of Nutmeg and a touch of Indonesia with Chef Ash Heeger from Cape Town.

Ash has worked with the award-winning likes of Luke Dale Roberts and Heston Blumenthal. Ash, who is a chef and is also the owner of Ash Restaurant, knows how to handle the heat, and when it comes to her Indonesian-inspired menu..well, it was nothing short of amazing!

For starters Ash created a fresh, light, yet tasty Smoked Fish Salad which comprised of smoked angelfish with a nutmeg and chilli peanut sauce and sugar snap peas

Main course saw us licking our fingers with Ash’s rendition of a “Not so Rendang” a twist on the traditional dish. Perfectly seared beef rump with a Rendang sauce, picked papaya, charred spring onions and sambal oelek with a puffed rice paper, was absolutely divine!

Dessert was nick named “Tea and Cake” and saw Ash creating bite size morsels of a delicious nutmeg and parsnip parfait, a rooibos and butternut cake, a coconut and pistachio brittle and a yoghurt cream, which was delicious and went well with the other items as it offset the sweetness of the desserts.

All courses were perfectly paired with a selection of Haute Cabriere wines – my very fave!!

Ash’s food philosophy -“Ethically sourced, seasonal, and organic”.

The pop up was built and designed by the incredibly talented Hardy Boys from Durban. The attention to detail that went in to everything from the decor to the table settings, wall art and outside design, that literally got stripped down and rebuilt over night was inventive and I really hope to see this pop-up travelling around the country!

Find out more about Robertsons spices here…

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