A few weeks ago you’ll remember me going on & on about the JCTA press weekend in the city. Now I’m tempted to go on some more (it was that good!) but this post is actually about one of the many interesting people who I met that weekend, Ma Anka.
We met on day 2, at The Bus Factory in Newtown where we (bloggers, press etc.) had the chance to have “speed marketing” sessions (like speed dating but not) & got chatting one on one with many of the businesses & organisations that make up the JCTA.
Anka’s Kitchen on Loveday Street
Well the bell rang signalling that my time at Ma Anka’s table was up & that I should move onto the next JCTA member but I was so drawn into conversation with her that neither of us noticed & lucky for me no one was waiting in line to chat to her so we kept going. Ma Anka owns a restaurant, Anka’s Kitchen, a mere stone throw from my apartment – shameful it took me a year and a half to find out!
She has many inspiring stories about how she started her business years ago, running a shebeen from her home in Kimberly but not just any shebeen, one with the highest standards, where she chose who she wanted as her customers (by charging a premium) & in turn making it the place that everyone wanted to be at back in the day.
Ma Anka told us that the space that is her restaurant today was once a family owned fish and chips shop where she herself was a customer & she never dreamed it would be her own.
As time went along, people started asking for something to eat to go with their drinks & Anka’s Kitchen was born. Ma Anka, also a mom to 2 also shares that things weren’t always smooth sailing. She recounts a story of her restaurant being empty (hard to imagine) and having to remind herself that she only been around a few weeks/months and shouldn’t compare herself to the places that had been around for years.
Another story I really enjoyed was her tale about how cash strapped she was when she started out that she would take money from the register as it came in & have to run out & have to buy more stock/ingredients several times a day as she just didn’t have the capital she needed at the start but was determined to make it work.
Ma Anka herself (I love the pink!) with Heather
I headed out for lunch at Ma Anka’s one sunny Friday afternoon with Heather Mason who I also met at the JCTA weekend. Heather (an expat but thankfully not the Dainfern type!) has loads of interesting stories of her own, check out her blog here. We took advantage of the good weather and grabbed a table outside. I was relieved to find out she also wasn’t too adventurous an eater either (lets just say there was no tripe at our table!).
Lunch (I had the hake & Heather the lamb stew) is served with a refreshing cold towel (it was a particularly hot Winters day)
- I love Ma Anka’s story. Call me sentimental but in my mind it makes the food taste good. This place has a lot of heart.
- My hake was really good & that’s quite something because I find fish is often hit & go in Jozi.
- I’m not exactly sure how it was prepared but I also really enjoyed the spinach (it wasn’t creamed, but was as good)
- that I’ve only discovered Ma Anka’s now!
I’m really not sure how I got this shot without being beaten over the head 🙂
There is an incredible warmth at Ma Anka’s. The place was heaving over lunch time and without hesitation she excused herself and leapt behind the counter to attend to customers. I watched customers arrive & leave & her greet every single one of them without exception as they thanked her for lunch. As we sat on the pavement and lapped up more of her stories I people-watched and saw the fanciest cars pull up, order take always and drive off.
Oh that reminds me… Indicative of the standards she has (continued to) set for herself and her staff Ma Anka tells us that her key competitors are Woolies and Nandos. Not surprising as my lunch (with a soda) came in at just over R50, but was well worth it for what tasted like a home cooked meal.
Need to know
- Anka’s Kitchen is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm
- There are also two other branches in Boksburg & Spruitview, details here.
Heather & I have already chosen our next stop in the city to catch up at, (it’s Italian, well kinda, review soon)
Have a good weekend you guys!
7 A Loveday Street, Marshall town, Johannesburg, 2001
011 492 1440