In the heart of Kimberly in the Northern Cape, lies the recently launched Fusions Garden Restaurant – a fresh take on ‘traditional African cuisine meets the modern gourmet world’. Born of a passion for the culinary arts and inspired by the mysteries of diverse African cuisines, the fusion-style restaurant was created by Moses Mahumapelo with the objective, he explains, being to “break the misconceptions associated with our cuisines”.
Expand your taste buds
Tripe pizza – the restaurant’s signature dish – is a good example of this breaking of misconceptions, blending traditional and modern culinary styles, and has become a favourite on the menu with both locals and tourists alike. A variety of dishes including dikhori (chicken feet), lamb or beef liver, pork ribs, chops, trotters, lerito, lamb potjie and oxtail make up the exciting offering on the menu.
All the meals are made with organic, locally-sourced ingredients, and many of the herbs and vegetables are grown in the restaurant’s on-site garden. As such, the menu varies daily depending on the availability of fresh produce.
Flavour for finance
A financial background was a good foundation for the restaurant, with Mahumapelo taking his B.Com accounting degree from the Free State University, into a career that spanned bookkeeping for a construction company, a tenure at the Phokwane Municipality, and some time as a financial administrator of Childline. 2010 marked the turning point, when Mahumapelo decided to go into business; and in 2012 Fusions Garden Restaurant was born.
“My business partner and I lacked knowledge and skills about the hospitality industry, but we were very optimistic about the potential of our business,” says Mahumapelo. Financial limitations were the main challenge in starting the restaurant: “We couldn’t buy equipment, upgrade the truck, and our marketing was sorely lacking,” he explains. On top of that, the high costs of electricity in Kimberley and searching for skilled labour also had an impact.
Gateway to Northern Cape cuisine
Today, Fusions is well known within Kimberley. “We mainly have domestic tourists who come through to try our food, but last year we hosted a group of Chinese tourists who were touring the Northern Cape,” says Mahumapelo. He explains that he is aiming to make Fusions a nationally-recognised brand, and is engaging with various stakeholders, including the Department of Tourism, to get exposure to different cultures and their foods. “We want to incorporate these different cultures into Fusions, so that when we sell (the concept) to the rest of South Africa – and the world – we have this unique identity”. By expanding their product offerings, Mahumapleo wants to make Fusions Garden Restaurant and the Northern Cape more attractive to international tourists. “We want to make Fusions the gateway to the culinary offerings of the Northern Cape.”
Mahumapelo says the objective is to expand Fusions Garden Restaurant into the rest of South Africa. “For now, we are building this blueprint of ours so that when we start to franchise we have a similar blueprint that we can implement in different places. We want to be recognised as the pioneers who have put ‘African cuisines’ on the world stage, while keeping our products authentically and proudly South African.”
This article is part of a series where Tourism Update highlights small, medium- and micro-sized enterprises in the tourism sector. This series is brought to you courtesy of South African Tourism.