Wits Vuvuzela dined with Jo’burg Places on Saturday, September 21.

The Secret Underground Storytelling dinner is an experience of food, drinks, storytelling and a tour, all hosted at the Thunder Walker hosted by Jo’burg Places.

A small door leads to the Thunder Walker, a three storey building at the historic Gandhi Square in the Johannesburg CBD. Inside this door, you will find intimate restaurant Scatterlings, which sits above an antique bank vault called Zwipi Underground, and above it is the Town Square Banqueting Hall, a space for hosting events.

The owner Gerald Garner, tour operator, storyteller Charlie Moyo and Chef Bulelwa Princess Mbonambi are the masterminds behind storytelling dinner experience.

“Our objective is to showcase Jo’burg and tell its story, and the building is a beautiful metaphor to use,” said Garner.

Upon arrival, guests are presented with drinks and shortly after listen in and engage in a storytelling session of the rich history and diversity of Johannesburg told by Moyo.

“To understand the country it is important to know about the history Johannesburg. My main objective is to change perspectives by sharing different narratives and put Jo’burg CBD on the map,” Moyo told Wits Vuvuzela.

After having starters of butter ravioli with rhubarb sauce and cured beef (substituted with aubergine for a vegetarian option), with a Chenin Blanc, guests gathered for a second storytelling session of the Somerset House which is now known as the Thunder Walker.

Chef Mbonambi, far right, explains how she came up with the menu for the Secret Underground Storytelling Dinner.

“It is what lies beneath the surface that fascinates me; all these buildings have a story. The inner city is almost forgotten and this experience is like a rediscovery of Jo’burg all over again while indulging in the most divine food”, says 47-year-old Dean Roddan who was visiting with his partner and their friends from London.

The guests then embark on a tour to the Mahatma Gandhi statue, with Moyo reflecting on Gandhi’s political activism and involvement in the fight against apartheid.

The main course meal of sweet seabass with a summer herb and soft fruit salad follows. Others like myself opted for the soft succulent duck with baby spinach, purple cauliflower, asparagus and pomegranate seeds.

The menu changes regularly says Chef Mbonambi, who explains that she is inspired by the different stories of the people she meets which she incorporates in her food.

“I look for stories and the experiences I want our customers to feel in this space. Most of them turn out to be migrant stories and the city of Jo’burg is always a migrant story”, Mbonambi said, explaining how she comes up with a menu.

FEATURED IMAGE: Guests having drinks at the Secret Underground Storytelling Dinner at the Zwipi Underground restaurant. Photo: Jabulile Mbatha