Having enjoyed a short reprieve from loadshedding, power cuts, cable theft – take your pick – I was forced to buy something to eat on the way back home from the local SuperSpar one random Sunday morning. I spotted a well-known takeaway spot on Jules Street, Malvern, called Clan’s Steak Away, and decided to try it. 

I asked the man behind the glass counter if they make Gatsbies –I seem to recall someone once telling me that the Gatsby on the East Rand could be found somewhere on the infamous, or famous Jules Street, depending on who you speak to; also known as simply “Julies” by locals. A man dressed in a football shirt (presumably the owner or manager of the store), suddenly looked up and came over to where we were standing.  

“You are the first person to come in here and ask for a Gatsby” he said with a mixture of excitement and nostalgia in his voice. He then proceeded to explain to the confused employee what a Gatsby is. “You take a French roll, cut it in half, and then fill it with russian, chips… depending on what the customer wants inside.” What surprised me was when he said the sub can cost anything from R130 to over R200! Back in Cape Town, he reminisced, he used to sell it for R250.

The man was so excited that he showed the employee different pics (no one says photographs anymore) on his cellphone of the mouthwatering Cape Town street food. –A quick Google search suggests that Rashaad Pandy, owner of Super Fisheries in Athlone, Cape Town, is credited by at least two different websites as being the man behind the origins of the monster submarine sandwich back in the 1970s.

Needless to say, I walked home without the Gatsby of my dreams, and instead had to settle for a light-weight Prego roll. I won’t lie though, all the way home I salivated at the thought of a monster Gatsby bursting with slap chips, mushrooms, tomatoes, tender juicy slithers of lamb or beef, all housed in a crispy fresh foot-long roll, dripping with garlic sauce.

How do you like your Gatsby?