Moyo Brings African Food To The Zoo Lake

Moyo Brings African Food To The Zoo Lake

who's who in the zoo (lake)

Someone at Moyo attended a lecture on branding. And I mean that in a good way. Brand Moyo focuses on something marketing managers often forget about - the brand experience. This means that every sense should be engaged, everywhere you interact with the brand should be completely thought through and appropriate to the brand's ideals. Really Teacher Kate? Yes. Now give me an apple.

The case study for today is Moyo. Truth be known, a lot of people don't actually like the menu at Moyo. If I had a Rand for every time I have heard someone whisper this secret, I would have enough money to afford their guinea fowl potjie. The experience is what people are there for. Now if you take a look at the Moyo @ Zoo Lake, you will see that the experience is indeed most fantastic. And, luckily, so is their menu.

because the emphasis her is on (mostly daytime) outdoor dining, the menu consists of essentials and is therefore way easier to navigate. We didn't arrive early enough to enjoy breakfast, but a Moyo-style breakfast buffet sounds like a delicious idea.

When the lovely man waiter handed us the menu I started to scream. Goddamit, I yelled, is that a jaffle? Friends, indeed it was. And so, in non-acceptable-restaurant-reviewer behaviour, I ordered the most conservative item on the menu. Happy days. Before this, we had a really tasty platter, with not a pita bread or humous dip in sight. Think skewered seared tuna with quail egg and olive, mini meatballs with homemade chutney, mini crumpets with chicken curry.  Our favourite was the duck and fig samoosas - which tasted like gammon?! - but were still super delicious. 

They have Curry Bunnies done with style. Two vetkoek stuffed with the curry and served with side dishes of roasted peppers and fig preserve, all topped by twirly poppadums and a mini salad. Also, Ostrich burgers and some very good looking salads (I abhor bad salad).

they really have got it right. First, the natural landscape. The lake is there, with rowing boats and romantic stuff like that. The restaurant is laid out over the grass, with couches, billowing tents as shade and very comfy tables. The colour scheme is a soft on the eye mix of mustards, purples and browns. All very pleasing. Coupled with the green grass and the wind rummaging through the trees, and it's very easy to sink down and stay for hours. I'm sure that's the point.

this was the most pleasant Moyo experience ever. Take away the nasal Melrose Arch and the conscious Market Theatre, and at Zoo Lake you will see a mix of people that includes business, tourists, and quite obviously, very cool people who feel like chilling in a pretty garden that's not too naff.

There's a lot of laughter. There are also a lot of kids - which is ok, because: first, they are the good looking type of kids you see in lifestyle commercials, and second, the layout is big so it's not like Jenny is breastfeeding little Jared next to your elbow while you try to enjoy a cappuccino.

Luckily, the man who used to kill the ducks for his Chinese restaurant is no longer wading through the lake as he was caught by the coppers.

This is another brand contact point and they've followed through brilliantly. Very attentive and all the waiters are decked out in full traditional Moyo gear.

the exciting part. It's not astronomical. R30 for jaffles (two), served with crisps and carrots. That is cheap! Salads for R40 = normal in Joburg, and a "eat all you can" breakfast buffet is a definite winner.

Obviously the price hikes as you get to the Tagines, but all in all you could spend an entire afternoon here, under the pretty trees, and spend about R100.

Outside. hahahaha. It's all outside.

From the moment you arrive, and someone offers you a bowl to wash your hands in, while you snack on pre starter starters, and a pretty lady sings to you while she paints your face with pretty dots, to the yummy conceptual lunch, happy trees, and wind tickling your toes, the Moyo brand experience puts Africa into the land of cool.


by Kate White
African restaurant Moyo emphasises the brand experience over anything else. Check it out at the Zoo Lake.


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