Cape Town’s answer to Ottolenghi

Cape Town’s answer to Ottolenghi

‘Sababa’ is all about uncomplicated and wholesome food with a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influence. Food is prepared fresh daily in the Sababa kitchens by sisters Tal and Nirit, and a group of dedicated and passionate chefs who love to cook and “live” food.

Emphasising the use of local ingredients and fresh produce, ‘Sababa’ is full of recipes which anybody could cook at home.
When you walk into Sababa you step onto a blank canvas with a riot of colour right at its centre. This is the buffet, bright with salads; some stained pink with roast beetroot juice, others seasoned with freshly squeezed lemon or strewn with generous quantities of fresh herbs. Here food is a celebration.

Tal opened her first outlet in St John’s Piazza, Sea Point, in 2009 and is still based there. On the other side of Signal Hill, younger sister Nirit manages Sababa’s more recent addition, the City Bowl branch, which opened in 2011, catering for the busy lunchtime trade and a regular Thursday fan club who have turned ‘falafel night’ at Sababa into something of an institution.
This is a beautiful book full of beautiful recipes that make you want to lick the pages.

Let’s cook!

A cooked tomato dip which comes from their dad and is best served as a mezze and eaten with bread.
Serves 4-6


  • 2 tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 red chilli sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 250 ml water
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 2ml salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Fry the onions until soft and translucent, add the rest of the ingredients and cook on a low heat for 20 to 30 minutes until reduced to a third of what you started with and have a thick consistency.
Cook’s Note: Be sure to use ripe tomatoes, or better still overripe tomatoes.
© Tal Smith & Nirit Saban  2013-2014..   Published by jacana Press

This is more of Greek–style dip and although it’s not traditionally eaten with falafels, in Israel it is offered with falafels, because Tal and Nirit enjoy the freshness it provides.
Makes about 500ml


  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 500ml Greek Yoghurt
  • 2.5 ml salt
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed

Deseed the cucumber and grate it finely.
Mix the cucumber and the yoghurt, salt and garlic.
Leave in the fridge for an hour before serving.
© Tal Smith & Nirit Saban 2013-2014. Published by jacana Press