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Dining at The Orbit with McCoy Mrubata – Braamfontein, Johannesburg

I decided to brave the cold and heed the call of my lamb shank carving late one Saturday night only to find that Lamunu in Bramfontein was closed BEFORE their specified closing time of 22:00. Luckily The Orbit is just a 2 minute stroll away so I decided to go there instead. I had been wanting to go, but never made time.

The Venue

The Orbit is simple, yet tastefully furnished. It almost feels like it should not be in Braamfontein. There is a small bar area where you can get a quick hot chocolate before making your way to a table. I chose a table close to one of the two fireplaces – it was that cold, so this was a plus for me. There is a small stage with a piano and when you go upstairs (old Puma Social Club) there is an even bigger stage and more tables. I could not go to the outside area as it was freezing cold but I’m told it looks almost like a garden.

The Food

I never order starters so I went straight for mains and even ordered dessert – something which I don’t do often. I ordered Beef Bourguingon (I like ordering things I can’t pronounce) based on the menu description, but was not impressed when I finally got to taste it. The chocolate brownie and ice cream that I had for dessert made up for the disappointment.

The Orbit

The Music

After having hassles* with paying for my food, I then proceeded to the upstairs area where McCoy Mrubata and his band was performing. They were excellent and made up for the bad taste that the manager left in my mouth – more about that later. Some of my favourite songs were Oslo, Woza Mntaka Mama and Xhentsa. There were also many tourists in the house and they thoroughly enjoyed the music.

Overall

My overall impression of The Orbit is mixed. I loved the ambience and the music, but the food and the service could definitely improve. After eating, the waitress had trouble with the speedpoint as I was paying by card. The manager finally came to salvage the situation but after many attempts with all three of their speedpoints, I resolved to go to the ATM and come back to pay. The manager was relieved to see me return to pay and even gave me a smile after having made me feel like a criminal when it was their machines that were dysfunctional. My overall bill was R 297. R100 for the jazz show, R173 for my food and a further R20 as a tip to my waitress which was merely out of guilt – I did not think she deserved it.

So will I be a returning customer? I think yes, because I want my mom to experience the music – she is a great lover of jazz, but before then I would have to hear someone else say they have received great service at The Orbit. My advice? Save yourself and carry cold hard cash if you plan on going.

Article written by:

Richmond Sajini is a musician and media entrepreneur in the public relations, television, radio and retail spaces in South Africa. He studied Public Relations and Communication at the University of Johannesburg and has worked on brands such as Coca Cola, Tsogo Sun, Heineken as well as the South African National Roads Agency. He has been told to shut up many times by people who don’t understand that he is in love with the sound of his own voice. For this reason he decided to start his own blog where he would share his thoughts and experiences without inhibition. Visit his blog, www.randomramblings.co.za and follow him on Twitter @richmondsajini.

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