FoodThe Main Dish

We got the inside scoop at six of Ballito’s best restaurants. We met with each head chef, chatted about their main dish on offer, and got to be food critics for the day! Here’s what went down… KATMANDU Chef Steve is originally from the US and now lives in Ballito with his South African wife and child. His tattooed forearms and military persona propel us to assume he’s not someone to mess with, but his...
Candice BuckleJune 19, 2019
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We got the inside scoop at six of Ballito’s best restaurants. We met with each head chef, chatted about their main dish on offer, and got to be food critics for the day! Here’s what went down…

KATMANDU

Chef Steve is originally from the US and now lives in Ballito with his South African wife and child. His tattooed forearms and military persona propel us to assume he’s not someone to mess with, but his kind smile informs us that the atmosphere in his kitchen is actually very laid-back and familial. “We spend more time with each other than with our own families”, Steve says, “so we like to keep things friendly and fun”.

Main Dish: A new entree, this is a recipe Steve brought back from Vermont: a pistachio-crusted, wild Highland trout, topped with lemon zest sauce, accompanied with creamy mushroom risotto.

What we thought:

This dish was absolutely delectable! The crunch of the pistachio bits contrasts the soft, tender flesh of the trout. We could taste how incredibly fresh the fish was and could also tell by its bright pink colour. And the risotto? Luxuriously creamy filled with plenty of mushrooms as we had hoped! No need for added salt on this one as chef Steve got the stock balance on point!

Don’t Miss:

  • Live music every Wednesday from 6-9pm
  • The craft beer on tap (get recommendations from waiter Chuck!)
  • Events like yoga and business breakfasts
  • Multiple seating options (shade, inside, sun, bar)

 

PERON PERON

Chef Gary is undoubtedly loved and respected by his staff. They help him fit on his leather apron before he flame-grills a giant piece of meat on the fire, right before our eyes! Gary says his kitchen is like a second home to him, and that the “crazy” atmosphere in the kitchen is necessary to achieve an efficient turn-out.

Main Dish: 600g Tomahawk steak, preferred medium-rare, accompanied with butternut, sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower as well as crispy zucchini fries.  

What we thought:

The steak was perfectly flamed to medium-rare, accompanied with not your normal mixed grill – slices of sweet potato, butternut, cauliflower, broccoli – all grilled to perfection. The zucchini fries were the ideal ratio of batter to vegetable. Sometimes zucchini fries can be soggy and watery, but these fries were delectably crunchy and incredibly ‘moreish’.

Don’t miss:

  • Dining after 9pm – the only restaurant in Ballito open this late!
  • 60 days mature Tomahawk, right off the menu
  • Authentic Argentinian grill

 

VICOLO

Chef Boh sports a peak cap and cute, edgy glasses. Having been with the brand for 12 years, she worked her way up from a runner to a waitress, and is now the head chef! Boh giggles sweetly and as her colleagues all try photobomb her photoshoot that she is bashful to participate in, it is clear she is well-loved and respected, but remains down-to-earth.

 

Main Dish: Scoglio pasta with al-dente spaghetti, baby prawns and scallops all tossed with butter, garlic, oven-roasted tomatoes, in-house-made fish stock, salt and black peppercorns – garnished with thin slices of toast, parsley, basil, and a sprinkle of parmesan.  

What we thought:

Boh’s pasta wasn’t overwhelmingly creamy and rich as some seafood pastas can be; it was perfectly balanced so that you could really taste each element present. And boy, was it all delicious. The pasta was al dente, perfect for a light, delicious meal. Italian pasta done right!

Don’t Miss:

  • Their Melanzane – it’s the best in town!
  • The Italian delicatessen
  • Their world-class gelato
  • The intimate venue, away from the hustle and bustle

 

45 ON EAT STREET

Chef Steve is warm and friendly and exudes a palpable passion for cooking. He shows us his beloved kitchen knife which, with its samurai emblem and 37 layers of Damascus steel, is certainly a work of art. Steve tries to instil as much passion as possible in his kitchen and believes everything has to be perfect and to the T.

Main Dish: Deboned lamb neck, rubbed with butter, rosemary and thyme and then braised in red wine for three hours, on a bed of  parsnip puree’ coated with the most intense and flavourful jus (which takes 26 hours to make!) accompanied with two risotto balls, grilled artichokes, crispy parsnip chips, and baby onions.

What we thought:

You don’t often have the luxury of eating lamb that melts in your mouth accompanied by a 26-hour masterpiece of a sauce. The lamb neck was all it is meant to be; succulent and extremely flavourful! P.S. The steak knife wasn’t even needed. The sauce was tart and vinegary and paired well with the creamy richness of the parsnip puree. The mozzarella and spinach risotto balls were the perfect mix of crunch and creaminess. Absolutely delicious!

Don’t Miss:

  • The Thai prawn starter in Tom Yum broth, served in cute little shot glasses!
  • The deep-fried chocolate bite for dessert
  • The stunning decor
  • Ideal location with outdoor area

 

BUTCHER BLOCK

Chef Reuben is tall, contemplative, and means business – even if he describes the behind-the-scenes as “fun”.He chooses his main dish for us based on how it’s both his favourite to make and his favourite to eat!

Main Dish: 300g fillet grilled on an open flame, topped with a signature basting, covered with creamy garlic and chardonnay sauce, and all topped with slices of fresh avocado and two grilled King prawns. This is served with a side Greek salad, garnished with pretty, edible flowers.

What we thought:

The fillet sliced through like butter, especially with an indulgent sauce and the creamy avocado. The king prawns on top make for an interesting twist to your regular steak. As for the salad, the creamy dressing complements the crunch of the fresh garden leaves and flowers. A sprinkle of olives and a dash of soft feta makes it a flavourful, Greek-inspired side.  

Don’t Miss:

  • The Turkish eggs with hummus and feta
  • Men’s Night special every Monday, and
  • Ladies’ Night special every Tuesday
  • Downtown nightlife nearby!

 

YAMI

Chef Agnes is incredibly sweet and mellow. She tells us how much she loves working in the kitchen, having worked for other big franchises like Mugg&Bean in the past. She comments on how busy it gets at nighttime making it pretty pressured and chaotic behind the scenes, but she wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!

Main Dish: Massive 300g chicken or beef burger topped with homemade cheese sauce, double-aged cheddar and chunky mushroom sauce. Served with a side of onion rings and fries!

What we thought:

The grilled chicken, with its two creamy sauces, was succulent and tender to the bite. The bread was fresh, and the chips, perfectly fried and salted. Pro Tip: Pair the whole feast with one of Yami’s innovative cocktails (the one they gave us had constant fizzing bubbles and dry ice flowing out from the top!)

Don’t Miss:

  • Signature cocktails
  • Happy hour from 5-7pm
  • Live music every Friday!

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