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Charming box of goodies

Onion pakoda and pani puri from Lady Tiffin at the Food Box.

Onion pakoda and pani puri from Lady Tiffin at the Food Box.

Published Jan 15, 2022

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The Food Box

Where: 199 Peter Mokaba Road, Morningside

Open: Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am to 8.30pm

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Call: 072 290 8651

The Food Box has always been a fun place to visit. A home where a number of small kitchens can offer a dazzling array of different cuisines which you can happily mix and match at your table. Offerings take in the Mediterranean to India, Japan to Tennessee. It’s a fun way to eat.

And on a relaxed Tuesday evening a lively place too.

It’s saved from being a food court by its interesting decor and comfy seating options. You can meet after work, or take the whole family or just quietly chill with a few mates. One offerings is Cinnabar, with an array of interesting cocktails and mocktails. So it’s licensed.

Gin and tonics garnished with granadilla halves.

There’s so much to choose from as we sip on our gin and tonics, garnished with granadilla halves, giving them a delightful and tropical punch. We approve.

The Kung Thai Express offers a range of Thai tapas, ideal for sharing, as well as a selection of curries ‒ angry, green, red and massaman ‒ and wok-fried noodle dishes. The special of the day is crispy duck pancakes. We could stop right here and that would be dinner, but instead we go the tapas route to get more flavours.

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There are spring rolls, prawn and fish cakes and duck drumlets cooked in gra dook ‒ a sticky sweet and sour sauce with a hit of chilli. Thai bombs see jalapenos stuffed with a chicken, spring onion and coriander with a Thai-inspired mayonnaise. We really enjoyed the spicy duck samoosas with a red chilli and tomato chutney. These were possibly our pick of the evening. We enjoyed the crispy wontons stuffed with prawn and crab served with a chilli rice wine dipping sauce, and the paper prawns, crisp prawns wrapped in rice paper with a sweet chilli dipping sauce, which really was good. This wasn’t a sauce that had come straight out of a bottle.

All tapas are priced at R45.

Thai tapas from Kung Thai ‒ crispy wontons, duck samoosas and paper prawns.

Still in the mood for tapas with tried some Mumbai-style street foods from Lady Tiffin. Here I had previously tried their paneer butter masala which was very good. The table next to us was mopping up their lamb madras masala with relish, while the tandoori chicken pieces served with a really buttery naan looked like we should have ordered them.

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Breyanis, vindaloo, madras or korma style curries, tandoori options and breads complete the picture. The chettinad crab curry will be my next try.

For nibbly things there were predictably samosas ‒ beef, chicken and vegetable ‒ a paneer or prawn pepper fry, both of which sounded interesting, and the Indo-Chinese classic mushroom Manchurian. We opted for the humble onion pakoda (R39) which were good with a decent red chilli dipping sauce, and pani puri (R45). These were perhaps a shade overfilled so we couldn’t pour the spicy mint sauce into the shells, but we enjoyed them anyway.

Prawn and calamari teppanyaki from Kofu.

We topped up the gins while we thought about mains, the next set coming loaded with fresh cling peaches.

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Salt offers a range of burgers ‒ their classic cheese burger being a good one from previous experience ‒ and Nashville fried chicken with hot butter sauce. I’d had the burger version of this too on Uber Eats during the harder lockdowns and had enjoyed it.

The soft shell crab was not available that night or we would have had that. Battered, fried and topped with Asian slaw in a burger roll, I enjoyed it on my last visit. They also do a channa masala burger made from spice chickpeas. Another table was tucking into their spicy wings in hot sauce.

For pizza lovers, the Rolling Pin offers a range of interesting gourmet pizzas, Turkish pides, tramezzinis and naanwiches. Think flavours like butter chicken or steak and jalapeno, creamy Caribbean prawn, or lamb macon with shish kebab. A small pasta and espetada selection complete the picture.

Instead our eye settled on Kofu ‒ a sushi and teppanyaki stand. Sushi, whether bamboo, Californian, maki, roses or sandwiches, is all available in veg, prawn, salmon, tuna and crab. Instead we shared the calamari and prawn teppanyaki special (R160). While boasting four decent sized prawns, unfortunately the whole dish was over drenched in a sticky sweet sauce that didn’t do the seafood justice.

Sadly Ms Waffles rarely gets a look in on my visits here. We always mean to save space for dessert, but it rarely happens. Famed for their stick waffles with flavours like marshmallow, cookies and cream, peppermint tart and pistachio pursuit, they’re extremely popular with the kids. Their classic Belgian waffles include a banoffee and chocolate velvet version, while the nieces and I once tried the Rolls Royce. Baked with chocolate chips, it’s topped with chocolate sauce, strawberries, chopped hazelnuts, crushed brownies, chocolate ice-cream and cream. It got the thumbs up.

Food: 3 ½

Service: 3 ½

Ambience: 3 ½

The Bill: R379, excluding drinks

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