The new year is a time to renew acquaintances. I dropped into Peli Peli at the Galleria with fellow web food writer/blogger Hank Lewis, for lunch. We had decided to pair up to gain the appetite to order all six new items. Peli Peli is different from many fine restaurants in Houston. In addition to being the premier South African cuisine and wine cellar in Houston, Peli Peli has the ability to add new menu items quarterly, and its regular clientele can rest assured that they will be typical outstanding Peli Peli quality. We enjoyed a 2-1/2 hour carnage and left still with a wishlist of untried menu items.
Such was our experience this week at Peli Peli. We enjoyed (mentioned in no particular order) a Seared Blackened Salmon slathered with a generous blessing of Hollandaise. The blackening added a rather mild south Louisiana touch… and it was softened by the tangy Hollandaise.
A top contender for the best presentation (yet the absolute BEST was still to come) was the Red Curried Lamb Potjie Pot. Beautiful tender chunks of leg of lamb were tossed in a stew of carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, peas and a red curry that reminded me gently in the back of my throat that there was a tamed heat in the curry. It was served with Toasted Coconut, a Mango Chutney and a very South African Rice Pilaf. This seemed to be a tip of the hat to the large Indian population in South Africa.
The Beef Tongue was a pretty generous portion and it was grilled masterfully! The tongue was tender… with the consistency of a fried chicken liver that had a nice tasty char and a crispy crust on the edges. This is definitely the tongue for those who have shied away from it in the past.It certainly isn’t your grandmother’s version! It was plated with Sauteed Vegetables, Corn Wheels and tangy Peli Mustard. On the side were Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Potatoes.
One of the most beautiful and enticing dishes was the Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops! These were 12 ounces of tender bone-in lamb with Sauteed Pappadews, Red Onion and Oyster Sauce. Aside from being a visual feast, I could have (and should have) ordered a couple more of these. I kept thinking that this was a typical presentation of the quality and taste of a Peli Peli offering. Delicious!
Then came what was probably the most gorgeous presentation. A Fried Whole Red Snapper dominated the center of the table… then the center of the plate. I’m a fourth generation Texan… so I’m used to Red Snapper… but not with the light rice flour breading or the Creamy Scampi Butter and Stuffed Pappadews. At $42.00, this dish is worth it… yet NOT for the faint of pocketbook. However, remember that this dish is fine dining for two.
A lot of us have had chicken and waffles. The mind wanders during the short wait tor the service of Schnitzel & Deep Fried Waffles, but the comparison’s not even close. Don’t bother. Imagine a tall stack that wants to fall over sideways, but it’s politely held in place by a wooden skewer topped with a South African flag. Imagine it piled with Bacon, Fried Chicken Schnitzels, a Medium Fried Egg with its yolk oozing down the facade and drizzled with Lyles Syrup. Now that isn’t really a dessert. With the bacon and perfectly (to order) cooked fried egg on the top floor… it’s a savory breakfast.
However, there IS a tall stack of waffles that makes a perfect dessert and that was mine for this meal. The dessert, or sweet breakfast, is called South African Deep Fried Waffles. Literally drenching the crispy deep-fried waffles are Cinnamon Butter Spread, Strawberry, Mango, Pineapple, Blueberry, Passion Cream, Vanilla Cream, Amarula Cream… and Lyles Syrup. There’s nothing like it in town and you truly need to try it. I loved it.
Peli Peli has one of the most inventive and creative menus that I have encountered in Houston. The food is always predictably well-presented and delicious… I love this place.
Peli Peli Galleria
5085 Westheimer Rd, Ste B2515
Houston, Texas 77056
Monday – Thursday: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 11:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 10:00pm