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Homebru: the Food Truck Bringing a Taste of South Africa to Canterbury

Sunny Singh

Sunny Singh is the overarching Website Editor for InQuire. He is interested in Canterbury’s enterprise and reports on issues which affect the city’s, and country’s, people and infrastructure.

Last month, I left my home and discovered something exceptional: a food truck serving authentic South African cuisine, right on my doorstep at the bottom of Eliot footpath. I was filled with glee as I saw my laziness fulfilled, but could feel my bank account slowly begin to dissipate. This was until I saw the prices. Affordable, healthy, home-cooked, delicious food at student prices? I had to find out more, so I interviewed the delightfully friendly couple running the whole thing and got to know a little more about their story.

Homebru is a mobile ‘Coffee and Good Food’ Street catering van that brings South African flavours to the streets of Canterbury. Husband and wife Homebru team Rod and Karen, in the search for new adventures, left Durban in South Africa and settled in Canterbury in 2016.

Although Homebru takes up most of their time, both Rod and Karen like to spend their free time delving into their creativity. Rod is a very keen guitarist who has started playing his original songs at the various open mic sessions in Canterbury. Karen is excited to start painting again soon and is hoping to create a series of South African flower paintings, with a special focus on the South African national flower: the Protea and the spectacular Aloe.

Both Rod & Karen worked in major corporations in South Africa. Where Rod specialised in Information Technology and Business Strategy, Karen was a Food Services Consultant, becoming the perfect match to form this new venture. They both worked with multi-national companies such as Unilever, Robertson Spices and Rainbow Chickens.

Interestingly, they also ran several diverse businesses in addition to consulting that included a recording studio called ‘Face Studios’; a mosaic art studio called ‘Foxy Creations’; a B&B called ‘Villa Brae’ and a very successful music venue and pub called ‘Open Strings’. Rod also played in several Rock, Blues, Afro Fusion and Afrikaans Blues/Rock bands.

I asked the duo what the best thing on their menu was, and their response was filled with enthusiasm. Homebru takes pride in the creation of a unique ‘Boerie Burger’ that is a twist on the traditional South African farmer (i.e. Boerie) sausage (i.e. Wors). The burger patty is made up from the best locally sourced British Beef and Pork. The meat is blended with a unique mix of South African Borewors spice blend, and cooked from fresh in the van. Since day one this has proved to be their best seller by far. Extras such as South African Curried Beans, cheese, bacon, egg and caramelised onion can be added to suit everybody’s taste. If you are really adventurous and very hungry, add them all for a taste sensation at a great price.

Is it suitable for a student budget, you ask? Seems to be. Homebru’s mission is to keep prices as reasonable as possible in line with very tight student budgets. They aim to always provide the best quality and value for money coffees and street foods.

Regarding the future of Homebru, the duo would love to be able to provide a few rustic recycled tables and chairs on the lawns around wherever the van is parked. Hopefully in the summer months, they will get a few of the famous Canterbury buskers to provide some live sounds and vibes whilst our customers are waiting for their orders.

Their plan is to attend as many festivals in the coming months as possible in order to get their unique flavours to as wide an audience as possible. Festivals will also give Rod and Karen the chance to see more of beautiful Kent and hear the great music that the UK offers.

As the little business grows, the plan is for Karen to expand the Homebru menu by adding some tasty specials from time to time. This will include her home cooked favourites such as any day Roasts with gravy coated Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes; Lasagne; Vetkoek, Melktert, Koeksisters and homemade Biltong.

Their mission is highlighted by their name: Home being good tasty ‘home from home’ style cooking; and Bru is the South African abbreviation for Brother, and is also a play on the word, “brew”, as they specialise in great coffee alongside great food.

As they would say in South Africa, “Local is Lekker” and “we hope that our local flavours truly are sweet (good) and that we get to share our taste of Homebru with you all”. Catering to the student market, Homebru also provides a very unique House Party catering service, where they can bring the van to your party to provide the best Street food right outside your front door. T&C’s apply.

The van provides a unique service where you can call or message orders in advance by contacting them on 07388023599.

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