Cotton Lounge Sunday Lunch: A meal worth leaving the house for
Cotton Lounge in Bryanston is a warm and urban location that recently started hosting a series of events called 'The Sunday Lunch'.
Cotton Lounge in Bryanston | Picture: Instagram / @cottonlounge
They say that “Sundays are for lovers” but that idea may change depending on what community you’re from. For the team at Bryanston’s Cotton Lounge, Sundays are for good, hearty food set against the backdrop of “chilled vibes.”
The Citizen recently visited the restaurant to get a taste of their weekly event titled The Sunday Lunch.
Upon entering the premises, located at Bryanston’s Posthouse Link shopping centre, you are met with a floor-to-ceiling mirror right next to an Instagram-worthy feature wall that has no doubt seen a number of impromptu photoshoots in its time.
The restaurant itself is located on the second floor of the building and can be accessed via a staircase. It is unclear whether or not the restaurant has elevator access.
An exposed brick wall with the word “cotton” on it opens into a large, open space with tables that are well spaced out across the restaurant’s wooden floors. A section for booth tables is located off to the right of the restaurant while the centre boasts two large cushioned benches positioned back to back with tables on either side.
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There is also a well-lit sunroom off to the back left of the restaurant located next to a bar which doubles up as a smoking area.
You won’t find any bright colours here as the restaurant draws heavily on African motifs and natural, neutral earthy tones, black and white.
That coupled with the music which sounds like a mix of Hip Hop, Jazz and Dream Oop played at a moderate volume really gives off the initial impression that the restaurant is for an older, more distinguished crowd.
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After enjoying a welcome drink and something to snack on, I get to chat to the MD of Cotton Lounge – Mpange Chapeshamano about the business, what inspired it and who they’re looking to cater to.
Having been around since 2016, the restaurant recently launched The Sunday Lunch series of events, further cementing the idea that they mostly cater to an older, more distinguished patron.
“The name Cotton Lounge was really inspired by the history around cotton and the liberation around that… the songs people used to sing and how they used to braid their hair but also, when you think about cotton [as a fabric], it’s really soft, it’s a place of comfort and for us, there was no better name than Cotton Lounge for a place that is a restaurant and a place of solace for out patrons,” explained Chapeshamano.
Speaking about their interior, the restaurant’s MD said that ideas they got for the interior stemmed from the fact that people were just starting to flesh out their idea of what “African luxury” is, what it looks like and what it feels like.
Pointing out the colours, patterns and materials used at his restaurant, he spoke about how he drew motifs from visits to countries like Ghana and Nigeria which he travelled to during his career before he became a businessman and how he fell in love with certain things he came across on his travels.
Chapeshamano listed Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya as the most memorable locations he had travelled to.
On the topic of the restaurant’s menu, he explained that he and the team went for items that can prepared quickly but prepared well due to that fact that most of their clientele often arrive hungry.
“The unfortunate reality we have with most traditional African foods is that they take along time to prepapreso you can’t just order it now,” he added.
The “hearty dishes” section of the Cotton Lounge menu feature items like pork trotters (also known as amanqina), “hard body” chicken (also known as umleqwa) and beef stew. There are also braai meats on offer as well as speciality meals on different days of the week.
The music is another thing that changes at Cotton Lounge depending on what day of the week it is.
“Music is an integral part of our lives, it creates the ambience and gives a good indication of what the environment is. We do have days where we play genres like Amapiano, Hip Hop and RnB but on Sundays, particularly, it’s all about that laid back Sunday, read a newspaper and relax,” said Chapeshamano.
“We want people to feel like they’re hanging out at home on a Sunday and the music contributes to that.”
Chef Lucia Mthiyane
The Sunday lunch event that we attended had food prepared by celebrity Chef Lucia Mthiyane on offer. We enjoyed a spicy lamb curry served with coleslaw and rice and it really gave the feeling of the kind of meal that one would eat at a family member’s house on a Sunday.
Speaking to The Citizen, Mthiyane said she had been a patron of Cotton Lounge and long time friend of the owner before being asked to head up the kitchen service for a few Sunday lunch events.
“I know that most people that are in Joburg miss home, some are single and most are too busy to be cooking and stuff like that so I know that my food brings that homely feeling. So they know that if they come here they are going to have that seven colours. Food that reminds them of home,” she added.
She also spoke about how she enjoyed the “chilled” music that is played during the day as she felt it complimented the meal well as opposed to having more lively music blaring over the speakers as people tried to enjoy their meals.
Mthiyane said she always makes it a point to go out on the floor and speak to patrons in between meal service intervals and she is happy to report good feedback.
“You know, I always cook from the heart. I don’t just cook, I’m never too tired or not wanting to cook. I always say that when I am in the kitchen, I am in my happiest place, all you have to do is come and wash dishes for me.”