By SIYAMTHANDA PONGCO AND LIKHAPHA THAATHAA
The Long Table is the culinary heart of the National Arts Festival. The eponymous tables are arranged invitingly in parallel along the length of St George’s Hall in the fashion of medieval banquet hall.
The walls creak with art, candles in tins warm the colourful tablecloths, the cosy bar is decorated with African print clothing. The food is reasonably-priced, freshly prepared and utterly delicious – an abundant daily cornucopia of soups, salads, pastries, enchiladas, Thai curries and more.
Thousands of festinos – locals, artists and internationals alike – over several decades have feasted and communed in this hallowed space. The long tables put strangers in close proximity, allowing for the exchange of gossip, hot show tips, and commisserations over the latest Eskom loadshedding schedule.
Makhanda-based Long Table partners Michelle Kloppers and Junitha Els are thrilled to have the restaurant up and running at full capacity after a two-years hiatus.
“It’s been 28 years now since we have been running as a business. Well, that’s if I’m not mistaken – because truth be told, I cannot recall,” Kloppers said.
Kloppers said everybody looks forward to sitting at the red table; you could say it is the heart of NAF.
When we visited, Jacqui and Anne were enjoying their soup as they had a friendly chat sitting opposite one another. “It feels amazing to socialize again after Covid – 19 restrictions. And the food is amazing,” Jacqui said.
The restaurant is 100% Makhandan and employs local people and students.
Queue up for a chat and plate of goodness at St George’s Hall, 108 High Street.