It’s that time of year again! HOUSTON RESTAURANT WEEKS! What initially started as a week-long effort to raise money for the Houston Food Bank, HRW has become a month of Houstonians discovering new eateries and restaurant doing their part to give back.
According to their website, Houston Restaurant Weeks is the largest fundraiser for the country’s largest food bank and all money raised during the month-long event is donated to the Houston Food Bank. During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Houston Food Bank distributed 79 million meals to Houston area families with the help of volunteers and financial donations made throughout the year. For every dollar that is donated, three meals are made possible.
For my first stop during HRW, my mom and I did a quick lunch at Peli Peli, a South African cuisine restaurant made popular in the Houston area and is lead by Chef Paul Friedman. The restaurant incorporates Dutch, Portuguese, and Asian influences into traditional South African dishes, creating a fusion of cultures and tastes.
First off, just walking into Peli Peli is an experience. The Galleria location has three dining rooms, one being the lounge and bar where we opted to sit. The area featured colored lighting, that gives diners a more intimate feel, televisions showing the sports and news of the day, and ample amount of seating around the fully stocked bar. We ordered an appetizer and an entree each from the HRW Lunch menu.
Here’s what we ate!
Shrimp Cocktail Points
I chose this dish as my first course. This appetizer is a delicious presentation of four butterfly shrimp served on toast and topped with a wonderful homemade mango salsa. The bread gives the perfect texture needed to compliment the soft shrimp and sweet salsa. The mango salsa is great! It has the perfect mix of sweet and slight heat. It’s far from your traditional shrimp cocktail, but you’ll definitely love it.
My mom chose this dish as her opener. In South African culture, bobotie is a minced-meat pie topped with egg. Peli Peli’s take on the traditional dish topped the mixture with a flaky biscuit-like crust and a sweet chutney. The meat mixture is a flavorful curried beef with traces of carrots and peppers throughout. It paired very well with the crust and mango chutney atop the dish. Although it is an appetizer, it can be quite filling.
South African Kingklip
On to the entrees! My mom opted for this dish and neither one of us had ever heard of kingklip fish before. Let me tell you that it is delicious! Flaky, soft, and has a little saltiness to it. The fish is pan seared and laid on a bed of spinach. The butter sauce goes great with the kingklip and also gives the spinach a little more flavor as well. The side dishes are roasted brussel sprouts and carrot breddie. I’m not a fan of either one of these vegetables but Peli Peli may have helped turn a new leaf for me. The brussel sprouts were seasoned to perfection and the slight char helps bring out flavor. The carrot breddie gave me more of a sweet potato feel. The texture, the taste, and sweetness made this a complete standout.
Flavors of South Africa Trio
Not usually a the one to go for beef, I stepped outside the box by having this dish. Each filet features a different flavor being huguenot, garlic herb butter, and Madagascar peppercorn (in that order as shown in picture). I will have to say that the huguenot was my favorite flavor. It is a sweet raspberry sauce paired with the sharpness of a creamy bleu cheese sauce. Yes, the other sauces are special in their own way, but the huguenot is delightful. The sides are roasted red potatoes and seasoned steamed spinach. I’m not a fan of the potatoes but the spinach was surprisingly spot on.
Peli Peli was a great experience and I’m sure I will be back to enjoy their 11 am – 7 pm Happy Hour. There are two locations in the Houston area, The Galleria and Vintage Park. Learn more about Peli Peli here. I will visit more venues throughout Houston Restaurant Weeks and am very excited to see what the city offers. Be sure to check out Houston Restaurant Weeks from August 1st through September 5th!