Quickie Restaurant Review: Mamasan in Melville

by | Dec 17, 2016 | Food and Drink, Johannesburg, Melville and Surrounds | 8 comments

UPDATE (February 2018): Mamasan has closed and I’m sad.

Last week I had lunch at Mamasan, a brand-new restaurant on 7th Street in Melville. (Mamasan is so brand-new that it doesn’t have a website or even a review on Zomato yet. But here is its Zomato page as a placeholder.) It was delicious and I have very high hopes for this joint.

Hake lunch at MamasanMy lunch at Mamasan: pan-fried masala hake with cos lettuce, grape, cucumber, gherkin, green bean, apple, cashew nut salsa, and dhania vinaigrette. Such a delightful combination of flavors, all for R90 ($6.39).

Mamasan is at the top of 7th Street, near the intersection of 1st Avenue, next to the ancient Golf Tea Room convenience store. Here are the reasons I’m excited about Mamasan:

 1) Mamasan serves Cape-Malay-inspired cuisine. (You can read more about Cape Malay cuisine in this post.) I love Cape Malay food and there is very little of it to be found in Joburg. Mamasan’s meat is free-range and the menu is pork-free, for the kosher and halaal diners among you.

Chicken wings starter from MamasanMy friend Sandy ordered the “sticky suur vy chicken wings” appetizer, which she really enjoyed.

2) Mamasan has beautiful, well executed decor and a professional, thoughtful menu. This is not one of those fly-by-night Melville dives that gets slapped up in 48 hours, only to disappear 48 days later. The restaurant is cheerful and inviting, creative yet simple. The moment it opened a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to stop in.

Sawed Petersen, owner of MamasanDawood Petersen, charming owner of Mamasan, reluctantly posing for a photo in the middle of the restaurant. He’s originally from Cape Town but has lived in Joburg for several years. In addition to his role as restauranteur, Dawood has a day job as an attorney. 

plant in MamasanAttention to detail.

3) Mamasan is unique. Don’t get me wrong…I love Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar and Hell’s Kitchen, the two trendy restaurants across the street. But Mamasan has a more homey, less hipstery vibe than those places. There’s nothing else like it in Melville and probably nothing else like it in Joburg.

Mamasan (Shop 2 7th St., near the corner of 1st Ave.) is open Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. I don’t think they have a liquor license yet but there is a liquor store right next door. There’s a beautiful back room behind the dining room that I think will eventually become a bar. Check it out if you’re in Joburg for the holidays. In fact, go tomorrow for Sunday lunch.


  1. Gee

    Here now. It’s deserted – so no buzz – and the seats are quite uncomfortable. Let’s see.

    • 2summers

      Sorry to hear that!

  2. Gee

    We really liked the food, and will be back. I enjoyed the seared tuna with spicy yellow rice. The bobotie with tofu and lentils was also good, said my friends, and the other two enjoyed the pineapple peri-peri chicken served with a savoury waffle and the veggie salad starter served with the cheese jaffle. Will be back.

    • 2summers

      THat’s great, so happy to hear that. I also nearly chose the peri peri chicken when I was there. Will try that next time.

  3. autumnashbough

    Am now starving for some cuisine I had never heard of until I read your blog. Will drool all over pillow.

    • 2summers

      Cape Malay cuisine is a huge best-kept secret. It’s hard to find, even in South Africa. But sooooooo good.

  4. Eva Melusine Thieme

    Funny – I was just getting ready to start collecting some info on restaurants for a restaurant post where I gather expats’ recommendations. Good timing!

    • 2summers

      That’s great. Let me know if you need more suggestions.


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