I can describe Sumting Fresh in one (not so) simple word: South-African-Asian-American-fried-chicken-street-food.
Sumting Fresh, on Grant Avenue in Norwood.
Really though, Sumting Fresh is hard to explain. It was once a food trailer in Midrand, then became a food truck, then a full-on food party bus feeding thousands of festival-goers, then a brick-and-morter restaurant in Norwood. (Also, the food bus is still going strong today.) Sumting Fresh serves creative and sophisticated cuisine in a casual, fun, almost-fast-food environment.
Sumting Fresh doesn’t fit into any particular genre. It’s just delicious.
What is Sumting Fresh?
The magic of Sumting Fresh can be summed up through its signature dish, Gujon Chicken.
Here’s the Gujon Chicken description from the Sumting Fresh menu: “crumbed deep fried chicken strips / asian slaw / aioli / sweet chilli / parmesan / fries / watermelon”.
It’s a crazy combination of ingredients served in a big, cheese-covered, deep-fried pile that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with at first. But I was enchanted by the first bite. I didn’t stop eating until I was way too full, even though I hadn’t even come close to the bottom of the dish yet.
I asked co-owner/chef Andrew Leeuw — a charming guy with a backwards baseball cap and a dazzling smile who happened to be my server the second time I ate lunch at Sumting Fresh — how he got the idea for Gujon Chicken. He said he was inspired by his travels in New York City, and also by his grandmother who, while Andrew was growing up, worked as a cook at both a Chinese restaurant and a KFC.
Chinese food and KFC, with a hint of real American soul food. By god, yes. This is exactly what Gujon Chicken tastes like, only without the MSG and all the who-knows-what horrible things KFC puts into its food.
Back in the food trailer days, Andrew started out using Wellington’s sweet chilli sauce on the Gujon Chicken. But eventually he realized it was cheaper to make it himself and the sauce tasted way better. Sumting Fresh now produces its own sweet chili, aoli, and sriracha sauce. They’ll even start producing tomato sauce (ketchup) soon, and selling the sauces to the public.
Gujon Chicken, and everything else at Sumting Fresh, is South African ingenuity on a plate.
Gujon Chicken — cheese and fried chicken served over fries and cole slaw and chunks of watermelon and various sauces. It’s a heck of a difficult dish to describe, and to photograph. And yet it’s perfect.
The Sumting Fresh Menu
In addition to Gujon Chicken, Sumting Fresh serves baos (Taiwanese steamed buns) filled with fried chicken or duck breast, Italian-style deep-fried chicken breasts, deep-fried mac and cheese, and a freaking delicious beef burger.
Everything on the Sumting Fresh menu costs R110 ($8.40) or less. The restaurant is also about to release a new weekend brunch menu, which will include chicken and waffles.
To drink, I recommend the delightfully fruity jam jar cocktails, available with or without alcohol.
I can’t think of a single criticism of Sumting Fresh, except that there are limited options for vegetarians. And I guess it won’t work if you’re on a low-fat diet.
Oh, and I object to the fact that Sumting Fresh is Norwood and not in Melville.
Sumting Fresh is at 79 Grant Avenue, Norwood. Call +27-11-025-7591.