Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Taste of South Africa - The Grill at the Duxton, Perth

As part of the Eat Drink Perth Festival of 2010, and running from 15 to 27 March, The Grill at the Duxton Hotel is offering a special "A Taste of South Africa" buffet.  The event is part of the "Global" section of the festival and when you think about what Perth currently has to offer and look through the other "Global" festival offerings is a welcome addition.  The cost of the buffet is $39.50 per head and there is a wide selection of South African cuisine and some specially imported South African wines on offer... and of course many Republic of South Africa flags on display.

The menu contains a variety of styles of food showing the various influences on South African food culture such as the Peri Peri prawns (Portuguese), Hoenderpastei (Afrikaans), and Bobotie and Cape Malay lamb curry (Malay).  On top of that, there was also a range of meats to choose from including crocodile and wild boar.  However, though there was a decent variety of South African food on offer, the total selection was unsurprisingly less than some other big international buffet selections.

The menu read as follows:

  • Wild boar sausages with Braai Sauce
  • Hoenderpastei - Traditional Afrikaans Chicken Pie
  • Peri Peri Prawns
  • Bobotie
  • Crocodile Brochettes with Apricot & Quandong Chutney
  • BBQ Boerewors with Mielie Pap
  • Cape Malay Lamb Curry
  • Kachomer Salad (Tomato & Onion)
  • White Bean and Roasted Garlic Salad
  • Marinated Beef and Beetroot Salad
  • Field Mushroom with Cape Feta, Pimento and Virgin Olive Oil
  • Prawn, Orange, Mango Salad with Spinach and Coriander
  • Groen Boontjies (Green Bean & Green Olive with Lemon salad)
  • Biltong
  • Milk Tart
  • Amarula Chocolate Mousse
  • Brandy Cape Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce
  • Highland's Creme Brulee
As you can see from the menu, the food on offer was somewhat different to your average buffet and to me that made trying out the food more interesting and exciting.  And with the large population of South African migrants in Perth, why wouldn't you want to try what their traditional food has to offer?

The food itself was freshly and well prepared.  The peri peri prawns in particular were cooked by a chef at the table and waitstaff were constantly topping up dishes that were running low in food.  Some comments I have in relation to the food are:
  • Apart from some spicy dishes and a few tasty sauces, the food overall seemed relatively light in added flavour and thus emphasised the original tastes of the food though at times this made some of the dishes a tad plain for my palate.
  • The Hoenderpastei had chicken and ham and a rich creamy sauce.  The pastry part consisted only of rough puffs placed on top of the whole dish on display.
  • The prawns in both the Peri Peri and the salad dish seemed relatively fresh, were a decent size, and had a slight crunch.  The peri peri prawns were quite spicy, whilst the prawn salad was quite subtly refreshing.
  • The crocodile had no strong taste in itself and was packed onto a skewer and had the texture a bit like a minced meat sausage.
  • The field mushroom was a mushroom cooked just right and matched with other ingredients that made it quite a nice tasting vegetarian combination (though the overall flavours were mild).
  • The salads seemed fresh and very lightly flavoured or not dressed at all.
  • The dry biltong (being dried meat) was quite hard to chew on compared to the moist biltong, and there were also droewers on offer.
  • The desserts were comparatively quite rich with the creme brulee being quite creamy for a creme brulee and the mousse nicely chocolatey.

On the wine front, the front of the wine list contained about half a dozen wines specially imported from South Africa.  These wines were brought to not only create a more whole South African experience, but also to compliment the South African food.  We chose the Goats do Roam red ($32) which contained fruity flavours and hints of shiraz.  Though not as smooth as some other reds can be, the wine was quite pleasant and easy to drink and matched the South African food.

A Taste of South Africa
The Grill at the Duxton Hotel
1 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
(08) 9261 8025

15-27 March 2010

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