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

Financial Mail - - A MOVEABLE FEAST - @fred­khu­malo by Fred Khu­malo

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

Tel: 010-020-0286

★★★★★ Kimi Mak­wetu

★★★★ Ray­mond Zondo

★★★ Cyril Ramaphosa

★★ Malusi Gi­gaba

★ Stein­hoff

Look­ing at the dire eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion in Venezuela, I was happy to be a South African

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