This shisa nyama joint in Walmer Township won the first ever Nando’s Shisa Nyama Championship which took place in Gauteng in October 2013. I was lucky enough to eat there soon after their victory on a trip to Port Elizabeth hosted by Nelson Mandela Bay tourism.
I met the team that beat a dozen contestants from around the country to take home the R25000 prize – but more importantly, I got to sample their winning-fare! Their prize-winning dish consisted of marinated pork kebabs, mango salsa and pap – delicious!
Known as “Coach,” Vuyisile Meko, who manages the place, and braaier Lutho Mabilisa were both endearingly humble about their victory, saying that they just did what they always do – focus on quality, and getting the unique flavour their customers like just right.
Vuyisile, a former Premier League football coach, grew up in Walmer Township and went to high school just up the road from the bar and restaurant he now manages. “Here you’ll see everyone knows everyone; it’s a very friendly place,” he says.
Guests select their meat from the butchery next door where Pabalwa Gongqoba or Siphosethu Zitshu will help you to choose between beef, boerewors, chicken, pork and lamb – unless you want to try them all. Lutho, also known as Scott, cooks the meat out back and it’s served in the bar with pap or chips and their signature salsa. We ate our meal with some Black Label quarts and the meal – with a selection of 3 meats - cost us about R30 each.
On Friday nights, DJs play and it turns into a club; Saturdays there’s often sport to watch, and on Sundays there is apparently a jazz vibe. There isn’t good signage on the way to Chilleks (Vuyusile is working on that) but they have an active Facebook page and are on Google Maps. You can also call them on 073 547 2826.
- Dianne Tipping-Woods