COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
I realised that though I was not rich enough or connected enough to land tickets to the Mandela 100 music festival, I could afford to dine out
So President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela has increased his country’s minimum wage by 150% — the sixth readjustment this year. I was green with envy until I learnt that the latest jump takes the monthly minimum wage to about $50. Inflation in that country is so rampant it skyrocketed to 1,350,000% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. But the latest figure is an improvement on past performance. The previous number had so many zeros Jacob Zuma would have been in trouble: “Eh, hundred and eleventeen thousand million trillion and, eh … listen carefully now.”
Looking at the dire economic situation in Venezuela I was happy to be a South African. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. We whine too much. Yes, it is our right to complain. Only through raising hell are we able to get the politicians off their fat behinds. And, yes, there are many things to complain about — corruption, crime, negligent drivers — but judged by international standards we still have a lot to celebrate. As my mother used to say: “You must count your blessings.”
Counting my blessings, I realised that though I was not rich enough or connected enough to have landed tickets to the Mandela 100 Global
Citizen Festival at FNB Stadium, I could treat myself to a sumptuous dinner at The Codfather, a seafood restaurant that trades under the shingle of Sandton Skye, a boutique hotel in the Benmore area. I first fell in love with the Codfather about 14 years ago when it was operating from Rivonia Road. It moved to its current premises in 2015.
The restaurant was buzzing but not too busy when I went there on Sunday. Immediately after ushering me to a table a waiter took my drinks order.
Because Banyana Banyana reached the finals of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, though they lost in a penalty shootout to Nigeria, I was in a celebratory mood.
I ordered two oysters and a glass of Eikendal Janina, an impressive chardonnay. Fruity tones but not too syrupy on the tongue, it was served chilled. Exquisite. The oysters were the cultivated variety as opposed to the wild ones I prefer. They were a bit of a disappointment. Strangely stringy. For mains I ordered a handful of bait, one sardine, a piece of yellowtail, a sliver of red snapper and a bowl of steamed spinach. A real feast.
I had brought a George RR Martin novel to read while I waited for the food to be served. I did not have to open it. The background music was that good.
The bait was salty and crunchy, just the way I like it. The sardine was exquisite. The yellowtail, usually a heavybodied fish, was light and a bit soggy. I suspect it had been kept in the freezer, though the waiter vehemently denied the charge. In retrospect, I should have ordered more red snapper or something else instead of the yellowtail. But despite the yellowtail issue, I enjoyed my meal and the atmosphere. Two more glasses of Eikendal enhanced my enjoyment even further.
The Codfather is the kind of place that will even impress your coastal friends who, whenever you serve them seafood in Joburg, are in the habit of wrinkling their noses: “In which century was this hake hauled out of the sea? Or “Did you rescue it from the Jukskei?”
Two people can dine comfortably on a budget of R500, minus drinks.
The Codfather ★★★★★
3 Stan Road, Morningside, Johannesburg
★★★★★ Kimi Makwetu
★★★★ Raymond Zondo
★★★ Cyril Ramaphosa
★★ Malusi Gigaba
Looking at the dire economic situation in Venezuela, I was happy to be a South African