The Big Easy – not to be confused with the 1986 film staring Dennis Quaid – this bar & grill located at The Els Club comes complete with a whimsical story of passion, friendship and a desire for the simple things in life.
Born from the altruistic desires of Ernie Els, the famed golfer and lover of all things that make life wonderful, this eclectic eatery boasts a perfect setting for friends and families to gather no matter the occasion. Inspired by the melting-pot culture of South Africa this restaurant is about more than the food on your table or the drinks in your glasses; it is about an appreciation for good company, great food and an unforgettable experience.
Named after the man himself (standing at 6ft 3in he’s a pretty imposing presence) The Big Easy is inspired by his beautiful restaurant in Stellenbosh, South Africa, it is a laid back casual dining affair which welcomes all ages any time of day – it is the perfect place for a weeknight meal, a business meeting over drinks or a catchup with old pals. The stunning dining room overlooks the Els designed golf course from the terrace and the interior is warm and welcoming with it’s heavy wood panelled style that oozes a game reserve-esque charm.
The menu boasts South African favourites as well as a selection of Ernie Els wines which are mostly carefully crafted blends directly from South Africa. From full bodied reds to whimsical, light whites these wines pair beautifully with each of the dishes on the menu.
We began our menu tasting with a selection of light nibbles including smokey biltong, melt in the mouth ostrich morsels and perfectly caramelised seared scallops, from there we moved through the dining room where the atmosphere was buzzing with diners. We took our seats, read through the tasting menu with great anticipation.
As the first plate arrived we were presented with a simple and beautiful cast iron skillet that offered a crumb coated poached egg, on a bed of peppery leaves and topped with a hearty compote. As my knife pierced the egg the perfectly runny yolk oozed over the fresh leaves; the crunch of the crust and the sweetness of the jam made for the most beautiful pairing. Then as I disappointedly wiped up the last of my yolk and sadly watched the waiter take away my plate, wishing for more our second plate arrived.
Sat in the middle of the plate was a small Portuguese roll hollowed out and filled with a moreish, spicy curry sauce and a mini lamb shank, this adorable, designer take on the traditional street side bunny chow. Not for the faint hearted, it’s hot and punchy while the meat just falls from the bone.
Our mains of wagu brisket and gruyere crusted salmon could not have been more delicious; cooked to perfection each mouthful was a trip. Served with a classic South African side of pap – steamed corn meal that looks similar to semolina – the beef was to die for and I can’t recommend it enough, slow cooked until it falls apart at a touch.
After a short break to digest a large pane of glass suddenly appeared on our table, followed by the chef with trays and trays of bite sized bits and pieces. On the menu our sweet ending read as malva pudding and warm chocolate fondant but it was so much more. The glass became a canvas and the chef, a mind blowing artist, complete with meringue, mango salsa, more coolies than you could shake a stick at and a delightful crumble to finish everything off. It is safe to say that we successfully cleared our end of the table.
By the end of the evening it is safe to say we were well fed, happy and ready to relax, and with a huge thank you to the passionate and wonderful staff who looked after us all evening we headed home, already discussing an excuse to come back for dinner again.
This is a sponsored post. I was compensated, but all opinions are my own.