Urban Playground: A Street-Food Diner (+ Chefs School) in Maitland

Urban Playground Restaurant

The word on the street… Maitland is on the foodie map.

Edgy street art, a laidback skateboard aesthetic and a rocking soundtrack of 80s hits have transformed an unlikely corner of a Maitland business park into a cool eatery that locals love. With a focus on global street food, the vibe is creative and casual. You’re served by the chefs at wooden benches in the back courtyard (there’s space for 24; 36 at a squeeze), softened with plants and bamboo shade, or at the streetside chill-out counter looking directly in on the kitchen action. There’s even a Table Mountain view above the urban skyline.

Play to learn

Urban Playground Chefs

Urban Playground was born out of the pandemic, the inspired brainchild of Peter and Debbie Ayub and their son, Byron. Their Sense of Taste Chef School is upstairs, and in November 2020 when the downstairs restaurant premises fell vacant they decided to create a chefs’ playground for their students to gain practical experience, and for chefs Peter and Byron to infuse some creativity and fun into the process. “Maitland is the new Woodstock,” says Debbie. “It’s cleaning up, developing. Our restaurant is a touch of boujee in Maitland!”

Global street food

Urban Playground Food

Don’t expect the obvious at Urban Playground. Even though it’s a diner, you won’t find burgers or chicken wings on the menu. Chef Peter takes inspiration from the globe: so Polish kielbasa (beer-braised sausage) sits on the menu alongside Portuguese espetada (succulent beef-fillet skewers), masala steak, vindaloo bunny chow, Asian pork belly, eisbein, and even escargot ravioli. Not to mention a divine chicken spring roll with kimchi dip.

From the wood-fired oven emerge hand-stretched artisanal pizzas and Lebanese flatbreads. And there are varied vegan and vegetarian options too, including an appealing vegan jaffle enfolding a whole grilled brown mushroom.

Giving back

Part of the school curriculum is a feeding programme started during the pandemic that continues to feed 1 500 people a week. And Urban Playground runs a four-year internship programme, upskilling three young people from the local community, at the end of which they gain a chef-school qualification.

A street-smart eatery with bundles of energy and flavour (and a real community hub), the Ayub family are putting Maitland on the foodie map.

Good to know It’s best to book, as there are only 34 seats which fill up quickly.
There’s plenty of street parking on the road during the day. In the evenings and at weekends you can park inside the complex. Urban Playground is fully licensed, but you can still BYOB with no corkage charged.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 10pm
Contact 082 337 6240, chef@urbanplayground.capetown
Where to find it Corner Coronation Road + Van Wyk Street, Maitland, Cape Town
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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 27 February 2023