Lunch #17: T-bone and ten bottles of bubbly at Societi Bistro

There is something gloomy people like to say about free lunches, which I have to admit is generally true. However, I think that possibly one of the nicest things about friends is that sometimes they make it possible for a free lunch to pop into this universe for a brief visit from some parallel universe where there are such things as free lunches.

In this case, the friends in question were the Yummy Mummy and the Delectable Restaurateur. The free lunch was the launch of Societi Bistro’s Italian menu. (There was a French one a while back. It was fabuleux, as the Yummy Mummy would say.) The way Societi’s regional menus work is that each week for 10 weeks they feature a special menu from a different region of a particular country. So, for the next month or two, Societi’s chef will be working his way up the boot of Italy like a particularly amorous lover langorously licking his lady’s leatherclad leg.

Sigh. Alliteration makes me thirsty, but probably not as thirsty as I was on Saturday afternoon when I arrived at Societi and saw this:

The bottle of bubbly is not visible in the photograph. That is because it is being poured into a glass that’s about to be handed to me. You cannot fault the service at Societi.

10 regional wines were served to match the regional menu. The bubbly was Kaapse Vonkel, but since Italians drink something called Prosecco instead of manning up and learning how to do Methode Champagnoise, I think this was a good call.

At first, I was well-behaved and tried to make polite conversation in between waving my glass for more bubbly. (Only little waves. The staff are very attentive.) But then I saw this:

Stefan, Societi’s very tasty chef, busy at the braai.

No silly, not Stefan…

This. Chargrilled T-bone drizzled in olive oil and lemon juice.

About 10 bottles of bubbly later, with at least a kilo of t-bone gobbled down my gullet, the Societi Effect* had fully taken hold. Things were said and done that I blushed to remember when I woke up in the middle of the night (amazingly) safe (and alone) in my own bed. Fortunately, there is only one incriminating photograph of me (that I know of) in existence:

Photograph courtesy of Niels Colesky. We were having a photographic competition with our cellphones. I don’t think he won.

It seems somehow appropriate that my society portrait from this event is of a boot.

*The Societi Effect: A term I’ve had to coin for the phenomenon of arriving at Societi Bistro in perfect possession of one’s manners and senses and leaving many, many hours later with the firm belief that manners and senses are stupid and you never really liked having them anyway.

P.S. In case you’re hungry here is a video of Societi Bistro. It has lots of footage of fantastico food and wine.

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Lunch #15: Tibs from Timbuktu with The Great Dane, The Yummy Mummy and The Woman With No Face

This is actually two lunches, which both took place a while ago, but I’m writing about them today because otherwise I would have to spend my entire lunchbreak following the #JessicaLeandra thread on Twitter. Her magnificent demonstration of How To End Your Career With Just One Tweet (she made it two, just to be very sure) was most edifying. In fact, I guarantee you can learn more from her than from me today. But if you’d prefer to waste your time less productively, read on.

Just before this year’s opening of Parliament, the NSYP, who I won’t bother mentioning again on this blog, asked me to meet him at the Pan African Market to help him choose a suitably smart West African shirt for the occasion. The NSYP has no more relation to West Africa than a cocktail sausage, but wearing West African shirts is his way of avoiding wearing a tie when it would otherwise be absolutely necessary. (He can’t wear Mandela shirts, since he’s in the wrong party. Shirts are very political.)

The Pan-African Market is far enough down Long Street to remind me why it’s called Long Street. My reward for walking so far was lunch at the restaurant on the balcony. It’s called Timbuktu, but serves Ethiopian food. I know it’s Ethiopian – and not Malian as the name suggests – because Ethiopian menus are very distinctive. They are a source of great delight to me and no other people in the world could imitate them. I ordered the Tibs – ‘Tender tip pieces of marinated’. I have always wanted to try marinated.

Gored Gored was also tempting

Unfortunately, I only had time to swallow a couple of mouthfuls of my tender tip pieces before running all the way back up Long Street to disarm my desk (which I have been led to believe will explode if I am not at it at precisely 2pm). So a couple of weeks later, following a sequence of events too impossibly complex to describe, The Great Dane chauffeured The Yummy Mummy, The Woman With No Face and me back to Timbuktu so that I could finish my Tibs and lecture them all on The Art Of Ethiopian Menu-Writing.

Here is why you too should go to Timbuktu:

1. The menus

If, like The Woman With No Face, you lack physiognomy, you can use the menu instead.

2. The decor

This rather amusing little fellow watches you wash your hands.

3. The food

I can recommend the Tibs (bottom right), which taste authentically Ethiopian (even if the rocket, feta and cherry tomatoes on top of them don’t). Such a pity we can’t get teff here, as I do prefer my injera to be the right shade of putty grey…

Amaseghinalehu!

(That’s ‘thank you’ in Amharic. It’s the only word I know.)