Once again I find myself travelling for work and yet again nowhere exotic or exciting. Johannesburg has always been like the Gotham City for me, keep in mind I hail from a small town over the borders where Batman and the Justice league were not needed. Bustling noisy and everything running marginally slower than the speed of light, I have never felt comfortable here. Business trips are a necessity and in this day and age if you don’t play the corporate game properly, .. well you get benched. So I find myself in Isidingo for two weeks and decide over the weekend that I am going to step out of my comfort zone and go exploring for Halaal eateries. Not planning to go too far I opt for a conservative twenty-minute drive from the guesthouse I am staying at to East Rand Mall.
A little bit of internet surfing gives me the impression I am going to find a few halaal places at East Rand. The correct term would have been a couple, as I could only find two fully halaal joints. So my choice was either Anats or Mochachos and since my pallet leans seriously towards spicy, I decided Mochachos it would be. Almost the first shop you get as you enter the Mall from entrance 1 Mochachos is on your left. The premises is not well lit and has a feeling like its supper time, all the time. I have been here before and it always appears busy. So I guess the lighting effect is working, or the food is that good.
The menu is substantial and their speciality is chicken, spicy flame grilled Mexican style chicken. They do chicken portions, burgers, shawarmas, burritos, enchiladas, Fajitas and the Chimichanga. Most of these options also have a beef or rump steak alternative. Almost forgot to mention nachos, the really thing, not the Doritos covered in cheese variety.
My first dilemma, I am man alone and to do this menu any justice, I am going to have try at least two different meals. So optimistically I decide after having walked the mall from pillar to post, I could manage a Gourmet Beef Burger meal and I assure myself that I could also taste test a Chicken Enchilada. I have a confession to make though I got to Mochachos after having made a quick stop at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. This is quickly turning in to a fiesta not just a meal for one.
Krispy Kreme, I first discovered on a previous work trip to Germany, shortly after that they arrived on the shores of South Africa, but not in Cape Town. So I thought this would be a good opportunity for HFH to blog it. I must mention that I have tasted Dunkin Donuts and although they look just as pretty, if you don’t eat it straight away, they tend to get dry and lose their appeal. So I decided to put Krispy Kreme to the test and give it a few hours before I tasted them. The real reason though is after the Mochacho gourmet burger, I needed to take a long walk to digest a very filling meal. My German experience was immediate and I am happy to report Krispy Kreme passed the test. They were just as nice as I remember them fresh.
But I am jumping the gun, so back to the Gourmet Beef Burger meal. The burger is substantially bigger than a zinger and dripping with sauce. The beef patty was well grilled and tasty and the guacamole, feta cheese and jalapenos lent nicely to the medium hot sauce that I opted for. The cashier gave me a funny, you are obviously not a real Indian look when I didn’t opt for the hot or extra hot. That’s ok though coz I have tried their hot and was not prepared to experience that again in a hurry. The hot burger should come with a cautionary warning and safety tape. It is not for the gastronomically weak. The meal had a side of chips, these were crispy well fried and generously flavoured with the Mochacho seasoning. Little else was needed. A great meal if slightly expensive at R 83,00 including a soft drink. The Burger alone would have cost R56,90 and the chicken version R46,90. The taste though was well worth the cost.
The Enchilada alone was more expensive than the Gourmet Burger at R69,90 and comprised of a soft tortilla filled with chicken, peppers and topped with salsa and melted cheese. It is served with guacamole and sour cream separately. All of this comes together nicely and I was not disappointed. So it appears they are busy for the right reasons, the food is good. Be prepared to wait for your meal though, I guess good food is worth waiting for. This particular outlet though had a separate counter inside the store for Bacini’s Pizzeria. I don’t know if this is standard or just at this outlet where Mexican and Italian come together. From a price comparison a medium pizza worked out to slightly less than the Gourmet Burgers. Unfortunately, though I had no space to try these out. Perhaps this is another blogpost waiting to happen. The idea though is that you have a less spicy alternative if Mexican in you has left to cross over the border into the US. Both stores were SANHA halaal certified.
Krispy Kreme doughnuts turned out to be the comfort food I ate late in the night whilst watching a movie on Netflix. I decided to taste two gourmet doughnuts and two original doughnuts. The gourmet doughnut will set you back R16,90 and the originals R13,90 each. In general, I found them not to be as sweet or over iced as the Dunkin range. The New York Cheesecake is crunchy with a soft custard filling whilst the Peanut Crunch had a mild nutty taste that was not over powering. For colour I tried the back to school Smarties, which I bought purely coz if I were at home that is what junior would have wanted. It had a thick chocolate icing sprinkled with smarties. The last one I tasted was the Lamington, filled with apricot jam and dusted with coconut. All the doughnuts were soft and tasty and the fillings were varied and even after eating more than one, I did not feel like I had a sugar rush. Welcome Krispy Kreme to our shores, I will most definitely be visiting you again. The staff were friendly and efficient and the store had a small sit down facility. They also do a range of hot coffees and a chilled range of either coffees or fruit juices. Krispy Kreme is certified halaal by SANHA.
Thank you East Rand Mall, at least I know I can find some halaal food when I am back in Gotham. Next trip though I am going to venture further into Benoni for a real sit down restaurant. Au revoir for now.