Korea Meets South Africa: To describe DAM:A as inspired by Korean noodle bars is only half the story, as the menu also has pops of South African flavors thanks to Chef Waheeb Abrahams’ culinary roots. The casual eatery focuses mainly on comfort noodles for lunch, while dinner is packed with more experimental flavors. It’s the newest addition to Westside Hospitality’s portfolio of restaurants, which includes 11 Westside and OBP.
Look & Feel: Taking over the venue that previously housed Japanese fusion restaurant Okra, not much has changed in terms of decor at the newly opened DAM:A. Long counter seating overlooks the open kitchen, which packs a lot of gear for such a narrow space. Additional small high tables line the opposite wall. The venue is compact, and a bit of a squeeze, so time to get cozy with your dining companion!
On The Menu: The lunch menu revolves around comfort eating with a predominantly Korean undertone, and features dishes the likes of Korean ginseng chicken noodles ($128), South African Wagyu beef broth noodles ($148) and spicy chicken noodles ($118). Starters like the freshly fried dubu kimchi ($88), an addictively moreish fried tofu dish topped with crunchy spicy coleslaw, as well as juicy KFC ($148) dusted with house-made furikake, whet appetites. Dinner offers a deeper glimpse at the two head chefs’ repertoire, with house-smoked Wagyu biltong ($88) and hairtail fish ($118) with cream cheese puree being some of the South African flavors represented.
Jeng: We particularly enjoyed the juicy KFC, and the house-made furikake gave the already delicious chicken even more of a savory, umami boost. The sam gae (ginseng chicken) noodle was packed with flavor and sticky collagen.
Not So Jeng: It’s a no-reservation venue, and a tiny shop, so you have to try your luck at getting a seat.
Meet the Chefs: Waheeb Abrahams and Kevin “Ching” Lam bring their different perspectives to DAM:A, with South African native Chef Waheeb adding splashes of flavour from his home country. Chef Waheeb was formerly part of the team at Ho Lee Fook, while Chef Kevin was at Carbone, Brass Spoon and Jinjuu.
Great For: A casual satisfying meal with a friend, as the counter seating and small high tables doesn’t allow for larger groups.