Each year, when the 24th of September comes around, it presents a unique opportunity to celebrate South Africa’s diverse cultural heritage. In recent times, one social movement that has gained immense traction right across the land is the National Braai Day initiative. A way of marking annual Heritage Day, the idea behind National Braai Day is that South Africans from all walks of life gather around the coals to meet and eat. Whether it’s a tshisanyama at a shebeen or a boerie roll in Brakpan, braais bring people together.
However, if you’re a fine-dining chef, and carefully crafted courses composed of rare ingredients are your raison d’être, then slapping a steak on the barbeque can be anathema. But this is not necessarily the case. Many celebrity chefs intimately understand the merits of coal-fired cooking – and then take it to the next level in their dishes. Charring and coal-firing have become staples in the fine-dining kitchen.
Paying homage to the humble braai and its revered place in local culture is Head Chef Farrel Hirsch of the multiple-award-winning restaurant Greenhouse, which is located at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Constantia, Cape Town. Hirsch’s September menu includes a dish that has lovingly been dubbed “Tshisanyama”. Traditionally, this would be barbequed meat served with pap and chakalaka. Greenhouse’s version is an achingly tender house-aged sirloin served with sweetbreads, kombucha pickled carrots, cashew puree, potato fondant, beef crackling and red wine jus. It’s certainly more adventurous than opening a jar of pickled beetroot to go with the potato salad!
This is not the restaurant’s only doffing of the cap when it comes to the braai. Greenhouse has been known to finish off some of its dishes in front of patrons, flaming them right at the table using a compact hibachi grill to lend that smoky, char-grilled flavour that cannot be replicated.
South Africa has developed its own table-top grill, known as a Cobb, to rival Japan’s charcoal-fuelled hibachi, that you can use anywhere, from a campsite to the office. But however – and wherever – you choose to celebrate National Braai Day, whether it’s around a fire pit or surrounded by the elegance of a gourmet establishment, make 2020 a fine one!
Booking is essential at this time, and reservations can be made online at https://www.greenhouserestaurant.co.za/reservations/ to avoid disappointment. Alternatively, please email: email@example.com or call +27 21 795 6226.