Food & Wine

Everyone’s Favourite Fundi

Everyone’s Favourite Fundi

Jason Powell is relaxed and comfortable as he sits down in his Mbombela restaurant, The Food Fundi, which relocated to its current premises at the Pick n Pay Centre from Absa Square almost a year ago. He talks to us about the journey thus far.

Lowvelders can justifiably be proud of this industrial-chic little gem. It is the only establishment in Mpumalanga to win the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant award for best daily eatery, not once but twice, consecutively. This year it was selected by independent food critics in the Eat Out Guide to be listed as one of South Africa’s Top 500 restaurants in the country.

Bearing in mind that other winners fall mostly under the fine-dining category, it is quite an accomplishment for this unpretentious little coffee shop to produce food which effortlessly competes with that calibre of eatery.

Everything on the menu is made from scratch, the veggie burger, which is very popular with everyone, including non-vegetarians, is comprised of bulgur wheat, pearl barley and crushed lentils, with a butter-bean binding.

The fish-burger patty encompasses the same ingredients used to make fish cakes, the sauces are made on site including the chutneys and relishes, the bread is freshly baked, and the restaurant also smokes its own chicken. The menu is seasonal, and The Food Fundi makes its own macadamia-nut mayonnaise and fresh hollandaise sauce, even the coffee beans are freshly ground with each cup.

The focus is on home-made wholefood, but do not be fooled into thinking this is purely a health-food restaurant, decadent and delicious treats are on offer as well. The double-chocolate brownies, made with couverture chocolate are baked fresh every day, and are one of The Food Fundi’s secret weapons. “Because of this, we can easily adjust our menu to suit our customer, in fact, we rather encourage people to mix and match.

There are no unhealthy options, we know exactly what goes into our food


The restaurant also makes use of local suppliers wherever possible.

The Food Fundi has been going for six years, and its sister outfit, Gourmet Guru’s, for two years. Both are humming along very nicely, and The Food Fundi has been full circle. Jason believes they have finally achieved the look they have been striving for.

“The colour scheme, the cosmopolitan feel, the eco-friendly natural feeling which complement our menu is exactly the look we have been trying to achieve, but as it’s a case of trial and error, it takes time. Nothing happens overnight, and it’s always worth the wait.”

The customer base is a melting pot of Mozambicans, Capetonians, locals and foreigners, who come together for free Wi-Fi with their business lunches or family gatherings, a quick smoothie before or after gym, a glass of wine or craft beer on tap, or coffee with delicious chocolate brownies.

A very important aspect of The Food Fundi brand is sustainability, which Jason believes is a very important factor. He tries wherever possible to use compostable or biodegradable takeaway items made from polylactic acid, based on exciting new technology which makes use of sugar cane, tapioca, and cornstarch.

“Because we are so small, and independent, we sometimes find it hard to get supplies. Also, everything relies on customer demand. Fortunately, many of ours are of the same mind, and understand the eco-awareness concept quite well. “The idea is to find out what the customers want and shift it up a level.”

So, whether it’s a goodness-packed fruit smoothie, a delicious glass of wine on tap, a rich and creamy cappuccino or a craft beer that you’d like to accompany your crispy sweet-potato crisps and mushroom toasted sandwich, swing along to The Food Fundi for a foodie extravaganza.

Get in touch
Contact Jason on 076-730-9808 or
Food Fundi on 013-755-1091

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