Can a drink be thought provoking, perception, mind or behaviour altering for the better? I’m not talking about a booze fuelled ramble or rant, which we’ve all done at some point in our lives. In answering my own question, I say YES, especially after a recent visit to Melville’s Mootee Bar which recently featured in the “Best New International Cocktail Bar” category at the prestigious “12th Annual Spirited Awards”. Taking inspiration from the continents centuries’ old practice of traditional medicine, Mootee’s intention is to offer patrons a reinterpretation of modern Africa, which includes the creative use of indigenous ingredients.
It’s a Kind of Magic:
Mootee’s contemporary décor and earthy colours draw you in. The bar with its glistening bottles of magical liquid dominate the interior space. And similar to a muti dealer – on display are animal skulls, potion bottles and dried herbs reinforcing the theme of the bar. High tables and bar stools spill out into an outdoor area. The menus too have been given special attention and have a Dali-esque feel to them.
The Mootee experience is full of surprises, so I won’t be giving too much away. What I will say is that a lot of smarts and creativity have gone into Mootee’s menu. The drinks, whether tall & refreshing or short & super boozy, are pieces of art, evoking similar feelings as those brought on by a visit to a gallery or museum. They make you think and question what you know about flavours, scent, textures and presentation. You certainly need all of your senses and wit to best experience Mootee’s offering. My friends and I had a fabulous time sharing our interpretation of the drinks.
A highlight was Mashonza - a classic cocktail featuring tequila, served with a local twist that included candy floss and charred Mopane worms – the worms were a play on the larvae found in many a tequila bottle and the candy floss represented silk or a cocoon. This wasn’t only for show, but completed the overall taste experience with flavours and textures. The show stopper though was a cocktail called Port of Hope, served in an elegant, curvaceous long stemmed glass – one of my dinner companions described it best when he called it “The Grace Kelly”!
Sitting under a starry African sky, sipping on your drink, you realise the quality is truly world class. And I’m thrilled that home grown ingredients are being given star treatment. Mootee showcases mixology’s evolution in South Africa – gone are the days of tall glasses filled with ice, cheap liquor, heavily sweetened and garishly coloured with a cherry on top.
Mootee on a plate:
The taste sensations extend from the drinks to the food. The Pap and Vleis was a triumph, so too is the biltong starter and the Zamalek braised chicken bunny. I suspect anything you order will hit the spot. Once again, nothing is served is as you expect. There is creativity and a twist, like the bunny filled with carrots or the vleis (meat) hidden inside what can best be described as a pap dumpling.
Was great, we had the lovely Lynette has our server and she certainly has a gift for getting you to try different things on both the drinks and food menu. All of her recommendations were spot on and she made a real effort to understand our likes and dislikes. I highly recommend you grab a couple of friends or family and go get some Mootee – these guys cast all the right spells and their potions certainly can be mind and perception altering for the better.
Bookings are recommended.
For further details:
78A 4th Ave, Melville, Johannesburg, 2092
Bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org | 010 900 1399
NOTE: All meals and drinks are self-funded.