If you follow our social media pages especially on Instagram and Twitter, you may have seen posts on the Hungry for Halaal feed as well as several other foodies’ accounts about the first Hungry for Halaal blogger dinner that went down last week. Mugg and Bean Kenilworth Centre as the only halaal branch in the country was in the spotlight featuring their fresh new summer menu.
I arrived at 6.30pm midweek to a fairly quiet restaurant and was warmly welcomed by Eugene who is the manager of the store. A long table had been prepared at the booth against the wall where I took a seat. Not even minutes later, the rest of the party started to arrive one by one. Foodies I have been in touch with at other meetups and some I had not even met yet, but had come to know by their Instagram accounts and food blogs. It was also great to welcome René and her friend Leisha, the winner of the competition to be invited to this blogger dinner. René was not the original winner who could not attend, and was lucky to win the re-draw.
While we waited for the rest of the ladies to arrive, we were offered the choice of Turmeric and Ginger or Root Beer Slush shots. I opted for the Root Beer which was yummy but swapped for the Turmeric with Shakira from Cape Town Halaal. The turmeric flavor was initially quite potent but the combination of fresh orange and ginger was so refreshing and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Cheers to a delicious night ahead
Everyone had arrived by now and there was much excitement as foodies who had only ever engaged online got to know each other. Starters were brought to the table tapas style. One of the new features on the summer menu Eugene informed us was the addition of a tapas style or small dishes menu made for sharing. Our sharing platters consisted of Buffalo Spicy Wings, Smoky BBQ Beef Rashers, Mini Hassleback potatoes, Nachitos and Mexican Street Corn Fritters. I particularly like the Mini Hasselback Potatoes – deep-fried Hasselback baby potatoes topped with melted cheddar cheese, beef macon bits & chopped chives, served with a side of M&B salsa & guacamole. The potatoes were not thinly sliced like I’ve normally seen with hassleback potatoes but they were delicious. I found the guacamole also quite tasty as sometimes the guacamole at some restaurants can be a bit bland. The Mexicorn Corn fritters had a slightly hot kick but was one of the favourites with everyone was was the chicken wings. It was hard to not overdo it but we had to pace ourselves for what was still to come.
Pic credit: My Hungry Husband
Pic credit: Kauthar B
“No morsel shall be eaten until the shot is done!”
Mains arrived in the form of 2 beautiful table salads of a Thai Rainbow Beef – dressed red cabbage, white cabbage, julienne carrots, baby corn & baby spinach tossed together then topped with beef strips, toasted peanuts, green onions & fresh chilli, served with a coriander & lime dressing as well as a Moroccan Butternut & Chickpea – roasted butternut, spiced chickpeas, candied walnuts, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, green onions & mixed lettuce, served with honey mustard dressing. Of course no one could get started until all photos were taken but for once no husbands, boyfriends or other halves were being p…ed off because everyone present was privy to the blogger code: “No morsel shall be eaten until the shot is done!” Thankfully salads had no risk of getting cold….
I was not wild about the Chickpea salad finding it a tad too sweet, although others at the table really liked it but the Thai Beef salad is one I will go back for. Do watch out though, it has a real kick. The salads were accompanied by Sesame-crusted Buttermilk Chicken Sliders – sesame-crusted buttermilk chicken strips, rainbow slaw, grated Parmesan, mixed lettuce & fresh tomato, drizzled with a garlic mayo & honeylemon citrus reduction. Normally served as burgers this is a firm favourite of Mugg and Bean’s menu. It was the first time I tried it and I do see what all the fuss is about. Also offered was the Cajun Chicken & Avo wrap, with tomato, spring onion, baby spinach & jalapeño mayonnaise. I tried a small bit of this and was surprised at how spicy it was. The flavor was good and I really liked that nothing we had so far was bland. It was great to see that there was plenty of options for vegetarians in all the sections of the menu. Just the burgers could still use the addition of a vegetarian burger option.
Some of the fun to be had during the night included the chance to win 2 prizes for the most tweets or shares during the night. We paused a this stage to announce the 2 winners amidst more excitement. But no-one went away empty handed because Mugg and Bean Kenilworth Centre gifted everyone with a Mugg and Bean mugg and coffee beans to take home.
Shakira from Cape Town Halaal won one of the nights prizes pictured with manager Eugene.
Rene and Leisha were the lucky Facebook competition winners of an invitation to the bloggers night.
And then there was dessert. A tiny trio of Mugg and Bean favourites to round off the night. Carrot cake, Strawberry Cheescake and decadent Chocolate Cake minis accompanied by the new Superfood Lattes in Beetroot or Turmeric brought a sweet end to it all.
And so ended our first Hungry for Halaal bloggers night where the hashtags #hungryforhalaalmeetup and #muggandbeanKC were frantically shared for a chance to win. Where delicious food was enjoyed, great fun was had and new friendships were made.
Look out for more meetups coming in the future and for a chance that you could be a part of it.
The whole crew
Typical blogger moment when you have to get up on your chair to get the shot!