Cool Spaces: Emazulwini Restaurant

WORDS Michaela Stehr PHOTOS Interiors by Paris Brummer, Portraits by Warren Talmarkes

Contemporary South African design meets modern local culinary flavours at Emazulwini at The V&A Waterfront’s Makers Landing.

Chef Mmabatho Molefe’s modern Zulu fine-dining restaurant has received a contemporary African-inspired decor look by local design studio Clout SA in collaboration with up-and-coming interior designer Walter Train.

The cuisine pays heritage to the rich history of Zulu culture and fond childhood food memories of Chef Molefe, all served with a fine-dining twist. The seafaring restaurant has undergone a full revamp, featuring earthy neutral tones with bold blues and reds as strong accents, all highlighted with statement furniture and lighting by South African crafters and designers.

The new dine-in space embraces the evolution of South African aesthetics, both in food and design, with the intention of being recognised globally, showcasing the best our country has to offer under both umbrellas. 

READ MORE: Gastronomic Gateway: Makers Landing

Walter Train describes his work as sitting at the intersection of two seemingly disparate worlds: one an Nguni upbringing rooted in family and culture, the other a western lineage intimately part of his birth. Says Tracy Lynch, one of Clout/SA’s managing executives, “Train is a young, talented designer with a strong connection to his South African heritage and roots, which made him a great collaborating interior designer for the project.”

Inside Emazulwini Restaurant

Inspired by the surrounds of the restaurant’s dockside location, Train brought his visions to fruition with the help and guidance of Clout/SA, which facilitates opportunities for companies to support and collaborate with South African designers.

The result? A contemporary space that features the work of local designers and makers, fabrics and materials. 2020 Nando’s Hot Young Designer (HYD) finalist and 2022 Decorex Cape Town Best New Talent award winner Siviwe Jali’s ‘NoKhanya’ light, which was made in collaboration with Ashanti Design, hangs alongside 2016 Nando’s HYD winner Thabisa Mjo’s ‘Tutu 2.0’ lights. Meanwhile, chairs and tables from designers such as Houtlander, David Krynauw and Kent & Lane fill the space.

“Clout/SA is proud to have initiated and managed an approach that we believe amplifies the incredible energy and food shared by Chef Mmabatho Molefe,” says Lynch.

Grab your copy of the latest Eat Out magazine to read more about Mmabatho Molefe and what the judges had to say about Emazulwini’s cuisine.

Looking for more design inspiration or tips on how to revamp your space? Sign up to our weekly newsletter, here.