Meaty Braai Feast with Neil Perry & Masterchef Judge Benny M

Have you been to South Africa or thought about visiting there? If you have, that's very lucky of you! But if you haven't (like me), South Africa should definitely be on everyone's YOLO trip bucket list. So what better way to experience a culture than through sampling the food? Just a few days ago, I had a first taste of South African braai (or barbeque as we know it in English). But it was presented with a tad fancy touch, which one can expect from Neil Perry, legendary Australian celebrity chef and restaurateur, at his iconic establishment, Rockpool Bar & Grill.
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
Where is South Africa anyway? To be honest, it is not the closest destination from Australia (but that's because Aussie is a massive continent in the first place and it is far to get to anywhere, anyway!). The shortest trip would take about 24 hours with 1 transit, depending on your flight carrier. It might sound intimidating, but what awaits at the of the journey, is totally worth the effort, according to those who'd been there like Neil Perry himself and one of the guests that evening Lorraine Elliott, the legendary Australian food blogger Not Quite Nigella *fangirl mode on*.
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
The stars of the evening (other than the food), is South African Masterchef Judge Benny Masekwameng (Instagram @chef_bennym). Both him and Neil Perry collaborated to customize a set of South African meat-y feast, with a slight fancy touch and paired with fine South African wines. The wine pairing was impeccable and even on its own, every sip of the wine was just as delightful.
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
Chef Benny M with the Rockpool Bar & Grill kitchen team
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (

Amuse bouche was beef carpaccio with caramelised onion and beetroot chips, paired with lovely sparkling white 2012 Klein Constantia, Blanc de Blanc of Constantia Valley in South Africa.
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (

For Starters, it was the two chefs' modern interpretation of "bunny chow", a classic South African dish that was common among Indian communities in Durban. Bunny refers to the community of Indian merchants or 'bania' in Sanskrit, whereas "chow" simply means food. There various versions of bunny chow, but it is distinctly Indian curry served in a hollowed out bread. What we had that evening, was a fancier bunny chow, the "vessel" was house made brioche bun, filled with eggplant cury and yellowfin tuna tartare and paired with clean and crisp 2014 DeMorgenzon 'Maestro' white wine.
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
"Bunny Chow", housemade brioche bun, eggplant curry & yellowfin tuna tartare

The Mains was a carnivore galore. It was a platter of assorted grilled meat or braai, comprising Chef Benny's homemade Boerewors, Rotisserie Lamb, Cape Grim Rib Eye, Boereboontijes (mashed green beans & potatoes), pap (fried polenta chips) topped with chakalaka (South African vegetable relish). This course was paired with 2013 Meerlust Red, Cabernet Blend.

So this was all the braai fuss about! I'll have no wonder if the South African and Australians are fighting each other for the barbeque champion title. Both cultures have their own distinct barbeque style, for example, in Australia, don't be surprised to find kangaroo or crocodile bbq. But what I love about this braai is Chef Benny's unbelievably tender & juicy homemade boerewors made with mixture of 70% beef, 30% pork and spices. I'm not big into sausages, but for this one, it was impossible not to finish the piece served on my plate.
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
The Mains: braai
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
Left: Rtisserie Lamb
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
Left: Pap with Chakalaka
Right: Cape Grim Rib Eye, on the bone

Lastly, for dessert, we had a slice of Cinnamon Melktert (or milk tart), paired with NV Mullineux Olerasay Straw Wine. I was absolutely in love with the cinnamon sugar-dusted milk tart, the milk custard layer is so soft, yet firm enough to hold its shape and the thin crispy crust balances the sweet custard, so it was just sweet enough to keep one going, one scoop after another. Although I have to say, the tawny coloured dessert wine totally swept me away. I am definitely going to look for this wine for my own collection!
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
Right: NV Mullineux Olerasay Straw Wine (South African)
South African Tourism Dinner Sydney (
Cinnamon Melktert

What a delightful braai feast, great company and amazing South African wines. I am definitely saving up for my YOLO trip to South Africa soon! :)

This dinner was hosted by South African Tourism
Instagram: @SouthAfricaANZ
Official Hashtag #MeetSouthAfrica

66 Hunter Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 8078 1900

* All photos without watermark are courtesy of Ken Butti and The Hallway PR Agency

For live and regular updates,
stalk my Instagram: @ellynatjohnardi


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