Epsom Thai is the latest Thai fusion addition to the Johannesburg restaurant scene. An absolutely cozy spot located at Epsom Downs Center in Bryanston. So when we got the invite for the official launch, we couldn’t resist!
While my partner is a huge Thai cuisine lover with very clear ideas of what she likes, I on the other hand am open to food that tastes great.
Our first real introduction to Epsom Thai was the Screaming Geisha Shooter . . . which completely took both of us by surprise. Given the fact that I am not a huge fan of oysters, I was a little skeptical and didn’t want to start my experience at Epsom Thai on a “bad note”, however, I was open enough to give it a try.
And we both were pleasantly surprised!
The Screaming Geisha Shooter consists of an oyster topped with vodka and tomato juice, and wow, the flavours were out of this world. It was a great start to the night, and we were super excited to experience other offerings on that menu and had our taste buds ready for all that flavorsome food. One thing was pretty clear, we were off to a great start!
While we started the night with their wine on offer as our welcome drink, I was eager to try out a cocktail or two, so I opted for the Koh Phi Phi, which is gin, blue curacao, elderflower, lime and fresh mint. And I loved it! I loved how it resembled the Phi Phi Island with that aqua blue color.
As we were still riding the wave from the Screaming Geisha Shooter, we kicked off the Thai fusion cuisine experience with Thai Crunch for me (salmon, prawn, halloumi, avo and sriracha sauce) and the Hot Rock and Roll for my partner (spicy Salmon & tuna, avo, spring onion wrapped with Salmon & avo on top with jalapeno, drizzled with spicy mayo & yakitori sauce). We died and went to “Sushi Heaven”, for sure.
At that point, I was sure of one thing . . . Epsom Thai know their sushi and they nailed it!
We were encouraged to try out other dishes, which we were eager to do, and just as we were scouring the menu and trying to decide what to order next, the owner Mamane Moeketsane came to our table to chat to us. We used that opportunity to ask her which dishes she would recommend next, considering the amazing experience that we were having by then.
She highly recommended that we try their beef fillet , which is flame grilled and is served with Epsom Thai secret sauce and vegetables (or chips). My partner opted for the whole fish, which is grilled fish with vegetables.
And to this day, we are still raving about that fish! It was super delicious, flavorful and grilled to perfection . . . We can safely say that after tasting that Fish…..we knew we would be back for more.
Being in that space and enjoying the food so much, we were curious about how the journey started for Mamane Moeketsane….This is what she had to say about her beautiful journey.
Mamane Moeketsane: How Epsom Thai Was Born and The Inspiration Behind it
Who is Mamane Moeketsane and how did the journey start?
I am an Environmental scientist by profession, proud mother of three boys, an entrepreneur at heart and an aspiring business leader. Since my tertiary graduation, I have founded and started a few commercial enterprises and charity drives. My commercial business interest currently ranges from environmental services, real estate and the topic of the day, “the Food and Beverages industry”.
I formally ventured into the food service industry in 2020. However, the fact of the matter is that I had since been a huge participant in that space over many years as a customer, patron, and foodie. The recent COVID pandemic changed all our lives in a previous unimaginable way. It was during that distraction of life and value that I came across a silver lining in the form of a business opportunity. With restricted movement came the birth of dark kitchens in the food services industry. As much as it seemed a pioneering space in South Africa that time. I later realised that the trend had since made its mark in other parts of the world.
It is the nurturing of that thorny small business opportunity bud that has led us to the creation of this experience that is Epsom Thai.
– Why a Thai inspired restaurant?
I have already mentioned that I am a foodie first before a restaurateur and this is based purely on my palate. To quote the common phrase, “when it comes to flavour nothing beats an Asian dish”. Within the Asian dishes no flavour offering is as balanced as a Thai dish” thus our tag line at Epsom Thai “The perfect balance”.
In nature Thai dishes are mostly wok dishes which is a street style kind of cooking i.e., food on the go. In my experience this explains the delivery and takeaway nature of most of the Thai Food spots in South Africa.
In creating Epsom Thai, I wanted to usher in fine dining on Thai inspired dishes thus Epsom Thai offers not just tasty food but a whole experience, good wine / cocktails and a relaxed environment with exceptional service even for a simple noodle dish and bottle of water.
– How the amazing menu was born and the refreshing cocktails?
My intention is to turn Epsom Thai into one of Joburg’s gems when it comes to an all-round dining experience. I intentionally wanted Epsom Thai to offer a selected perfect wine paring range to go with the Thai fused dishes. The tapas, raw bar and sushi inclusion on the menu was to further complements the offering. The other prerequisite of the Epsom Thai menu was to ensure that it fully covers an experienced Thai Food patron while at the same time offering introductory dishes and flavors to someone trying out Thai Food for the first time. I must say that Chef Bongane and his team fully understood the brief based on the reviews thus far.
Epsom Thai was an unforgettable food experience, a huge thumps up from us.
It is located at Epsom Downs Shopping Centre, Bryanston (Johannesburg).