Karoo Café #lamburger review

In the search for the best Lamb burger in Pretoria, I chose Karoo Café for our second burger to try. This hidden gem of a place is situated in Lynnwood Road, however once you go through the gates of Karoo Square, you are teleported away from the hustle and bustle of the city life to the quiet tranquillity of the Karoo. Two huge black Great Danes meet you as you climb out of your car, almost as if you just parked at a friend’s house for lunch. The restaurant is homey and welcoming with a couch allocated for the dogs to watch over their property and make sure the people are enjoying their food.

Luckily, we already knew what we are having for lunch, with so many lamb dishes for options, it would’ve been too difficult to decide on just one! Just like the Karoo, the plating was unpretentious, as if you are having lunch at your friend’s house, which is perfectly suited with the atmosphere of Karoo Café. The freshest ingredients blossomed on the white plate with pride and I couldn’t wait to indulge! 
The bun – not your average plain white bread bun, oh no, it’s a freshly made, deliciously sweet, homemade Mosbolletjie bun (it melts in your mouth – that is how fresh it is)! Old school, just the way my ouma used to make it! The lamb burger patty is exactly what the menu promises, real Karoo lamb and unlike the dry Karoo, it was juicy and cooked to perfection. 

You cannot fool my fellow taster, Marina when it comes to lamb and its origins. She could smell the fragrant Karoo lamb patty even before tasting it (this delicate Jo’burg pallet still needs getting used to the distinct Karoo taste). Karoo lamb has a strong herbaceous flavour due to the Karoo bossies the sheep graze on.
I enjoyed the Karoo taste of the burger since it had heaps of flavour and didn’t need any extra unnecessary [fancy] condiments. The meat could stand its own like a good burger patty should – it is the hero of any burger after all. Simple and honest. If Karoo lamb is your thing this will be an absolute treat!

If you still have some space after that hearty meal, you should definitely spoil yourself with a Karoo latte (condensed milk coffee), the perfect way to round of that Karoo Lamb burger whilst feeling like you are in the middle of the Karoo vlaktes! 

The Karoo is as honest and unpretentious as you can get with honest people and honest food. Karoo Café is an exact depiction of the true Karoo vibe and atmosphere. Any restaurant that offers Lamb chops and Skilpaadjies for breakfast is definitely one of a kind and worth a visit! You’ll feel at home – without the hassle of doing dishes and if you have never been to the Karoo – this will without a doubt evoke that wanderlust to go visit. 

Go check them out and let us know what you think!
https://www.karoocafe.net/

Wham Bam Thank You Lamb
 

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Fellow foodie friends, Marina and Lizanne are “Lambs Cooking Mutton”! Armed with their blog posts and a frequent feature in the “Weg and Go” magazines they are on a mission to make cooking with lamb inspiring and creative but also less intimidating for the modern young lady or gentleman! They will also be travelling across SA to bring you news and reviews on South African meat festivals and restaurants where winning lamb and mutton dishes are served.

Although Lizanne is a designer by day, and Marina a MSc Nutrition student on the side, their roles are ironically switched when it comes to cooking with lamb. Lizanne is always looking for ways to cook and eat healthy and will also keep you up to date on how to keep your lamb dishes as healthy as possible. Marina on the other hand loves creating absolute indulgent and creative lamb dishes that have no mercy on your diet. But between the two of them they will provide you with lamb dishes for every occasion!

Ribs & Burgers #lamburger review

What makes the perfect burger? I don’t think there is only one right answer, it’s just like falling in love; beauty is in the eye of the beholder or in this case perfection is in the palette of the taster.  There are however, a few criteria against which each burger will be “judged” (judge - that is such a formal term, let’s rather call it reviewed). I have selected eight criteria to look for when doing the tasting / reviewing, these include: Quality and juciness of the patty (because no one likes a dry patty), ratio of burger to bun (it’s not a legit burger if there is more bun than burger); flavour of the patty (it is essentially what will make me come back for more); flavour pairing with other ingredients (innovation in moderation is key); presentation (because all of us eat with our eyes first – and it makes for great Instagram moments); element of surprise (think of it as the X-factor that gives it the edge – it can be anything from a special sauce to a crunchy extra); patty cooked to perfection (medium for me please) and last but not least, overall taste (because teamwork makes the dream work).

Up first was the new-kid-on-the-highly-anticipated-block, Ribs & Burgers in the new Menlyn Maine restaurant complex. With only one lamb burger on the menu, it was an easy choice! The menu paints a promising picture of hand pressed patties, cooked to be a succulent “medium” (unless you are brave enough to ask the chef for “medium well”), nestled in a bun fresh from the baker. Needless to say, this description already had my mouth watering. To accompany this deliciousness, rocket, tomato, feta, Spanish onion and Tzatziki was promised. I was quite content with this menu description. Going Greek with lamb is after all a winning combo, so I had high expectations for this lamb burger.

The burger arrived beautifully presented in the middle of a wooden board, picture perfect! Already eating with my eyes, I was hoping it would taste as good as it looked! The burger to bun ration looked satisfactory, with a fresh bun just getting a quick scare on the grill to make it nice and toasty (big thumbs up). The patty was done perfectly to my taste; thick, juicy and full of flavour. The patty had a zesty, fresh, lemon flavour, with notes of herbs coming from the natural flavour of the lamb. Not being fatty or “wild tasting” at all, this suited my non-farmgirl pallet! The lamb patty was complimented with the creamy element given by the Tzatziki and feta cheese. Swopping the usual traditional crispy lettuce for rocket contributed a peppery element which was right on par with the Spanish onion. Overall this burger was flavoursome and balanced, with not too much Tzatziki and feta to overpower the meat, and a good bun to burger ratio.

The element of surprise? You can order a lamb patty as an extra add on to any meal! Will definitely do that next time! Yes, there will be a next time! Is this the best #lamburger in (P)-town? Only time will tell, ‘till then go and taste it for yourself!

Check them out at: http://ribsandburgers.com/za/ 

Wham bam thank you lamb!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fellow foodie friends, Marina and Lizanne are “Lambs Cooking Mutton”! Armed with their blog posts and a frequent feature in the “Weg and Go” magazines they are on a mission to make cooking with lamb inspiring and creative but also less intimidating for the modern young lady or gentleman! They will also be travelling across SA to bring you news and reviews on South African meat festivals and restaurants where winning lamb and mutton dishes are served.

Although Lizanne is a designer by day, and Marina a MSc Nutrition student on the side, their roles are ironically switched when it comes to cooking with lamb. Lizanne is always looking for ways to cook and eat healthy and will also keep you up to date on how to keep your lamb dishes as healthy as possible. Marina on the other hand loves creating absolute indulgent and creative lamb dishes that have no mercy on your diet. But between the two of them they will provide you with lamb dishes for every occasion!

The best (L)amburger in (P)- town

“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius” ~ Matthew McConaughey

The exact origin of the beloved hamburger (or just burger, as one would nickname a close friend), isn’t quite written down with hard facts, which is sad, since it is so popular worldwide. One belief is that the concept of ground, minced beef was introduced by a tribe called the Mongols; who’s mission it was to conquer Asia. They used to ride with the grounded meat safely nestled between the horse’s back and the saddle (yes – that is next level commitment) using the friction and pounding action of the riding to tenderize the meat so they can eat and ride simultaneously (because when trying to conquer the world, nobody has time to stop and eat). It is said that the concept trickled its way to Russia then eventually to Hamburg, Germany, where Hamburg steak tartare was beginning to trend in much later years (around the 1800s). From here on is where the facts become fuzzy. Some believe that the German immigrants in America tried to make a living by opening restaurants and serving their Hamburg steak tartare, however the Americans did not buy into the idea of raw meat, which sparked the idea of cooked steak. Another theory is that German immigrants started street vendors and selling their steak to factory workers, but found that hot Hamburg steaks was difficult to eat with your (dirty) hands, thus to make eating more convenient they placed the steak between two slices of bread.

Some Americans believe that the owner of Louis’ Lunch, Louis Lassen, introduced the concept of the hamburger in the 1900s whilst thinking on his feet when a hurried customer requested something that he could eat while on the run. Louis cleverly served him broiled steak served between two slices of toast, hence the idea of the hamburger was born. Louis’ Lunch still exists today, run by Louis Lassen’s great grandson and still serving their hamburger [sandwiches] between two slices of toast with a choices of onion, tomato or cheese. Nothing more. They strongly believe in less is more, if the meat is cooked well, there is no need for fancy condiments.

Whether you are adventurous or a traditionalist, the hamburger has an option to suit every type of taste and diet preference.  The hamburger stays with the trends, whether it is keeping it simple to suit rough economic times, or going gourmet to impress. In the past few years, the lamb burger has made its mark on the culinary scene because of its distinct flavour, limitless pairing options and never disappointing juiciness [thanks to the natural fat of lamb meat.]

The hamburger in the culinary world is like a pair of jeans in the fashion world, it will never go out of fashion, just the way in which it is presented/styled change from season to season. This year we will be visiting some of the best burger restaurants, seeing what the Lamb burger trend has to offer in 2017, simple and tasty or gourmet and good, going big or going small.

Keep an eye out for reviews.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fellow foodie friends, Marina and Lizanne are “Lambs Cooking Mutton”! Armed with their blog posts and a frequent feature in the “Weg and Go” magazines they are on a mission to make cooking with lamb inspiring and creative but also less intimidating for the modern young lady or gentleman! They will also be travelling across SA to bring you news and reviews on South African meat festivals and restaurants where winning lamb and mutton dishes are served.

Although Lizanne is a designer by day, and Marina a MSc Nutrition student on the side, their roles are ironically switched when it comes to cooking with lamb. Lizanne is always looking for ways to cook and eat healthy and will also keep you up to date on how to keep your lamb dishes as healthy as possible. Marina on the other hand loves creating absolute indulgent and creative lamb dishes that have no mercy on your diet. But between the two of them they will provide you with lamb dishes for every occasion!

Capital Craft Meat Feast #2

Meat, eat, repeat. This was the order of events at the second meat fest held by Capital Craft in Pretoria. These boys are not only known for their craft beer but now also for being legit meat masters.

Taking inspiration from Medieval banquet style, the tables were arranged in long rows and decorated with fruit, three types bread and four kinds of cheese.  Without too much delay, the chef made his short speech and introduced each dish, short and sweet. The menu was definitely not for the faint hearted, but our taste buds were ready for this meaty fest and what it has to offer.

The all-you-can-eat options included: Roasted whole biltong – style sirloin, apple cider braised pork ribs, pulled leek and fennel chicken, Rauchbier stew, 8 hour smoked brisket and the dish we were most excited about; the Lamb T-bone. The Lamb T-bone was prepared by slow roasting it in the oven with rosemary, lemon and garlic marinade and served with plain yogurt, mint, pistachio and honey. An unbeatable combination indeed.

Capital Craft introduced something new to us by having the Lamb T-bone on the menu, it was the topic of most of the conversations at the table. Chatting to some people, they would’ve never thought of buying this cut because of its price, however, after tasting it at Capital Craft’s meat fest they were now convinced otherwise.

The lamb loin offers a variety of culinary options; it can be cut into chops, deboned and rolled. In this case the loin primary cut was cut into lamb “T-bones” with a piece of rump meat intact, just like beef T-bones. Lamb T-bones are notorious for being tender, leanest as well as priciest cut but simple to prepare. The chefs at Capital craft prepared the lamb T-bones in the oven, roasted to perfection, medium rare, juicy and tender, just as its reputation promised.

Events like these are rare in the heart of Pretoria, thus I want to encourage everyone to diarise the next meat fest, not only because of the all you can eat meat at one of Pretoria’s best restaurants, but for the appreciation of good meat, to try something new, learn more about meat and witness new recipes, opinions, tips and tricks with fellow South Africans. Events like these shows you, the consumer, that the possibilities with red meat, especially lamb, are endless. And then, the most important aspect of all, it inspires and unites people who share a common love for well-prepared meat (and beer).

Thank you Capital Craft for this original and inspiring event! Can’t wait for number 3, and to see what lamb dish you’ll surprise us with next!

Go to www.cookingwithlamb.com for some awesome Lamb T-bone recipes!

Wham bam thank you lamb!

 

 

 

 

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR    Fellow foodie friends, Marina and Lizanne are “Lambs Cooking Mutton”! Armed with their blog posts and a frequent feature in the “Weg and Go” magazines they are on a mission to make cooking with lamb inspiring and creative but also less intimidating for the modern young lady or gentleman! They will also be travelling across SA to bring you news and reviews on South African meat festivals and restaurants where winning lamb and mutton dishes are served.    Although Lizanne is a designer by day, and Marina a MSc Nutrition student on the side, their roles are ironically switched when it comes to cooking with lamb. Lizanne is always looking for ways to cook and eat healthy and will also keep you up to date on how to keep your lamb dishes as healthy as possible. Marina on the other hand loves creating absolute indulgent and creative lamb dishes that have no mercy on your diet. But between the two of them they will provide you with lamb dishes for every occasion!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fellow foodie friends, Marina and Lizanne are “Lambs Cooking Mutton”! Armed with their blog posts and a frequent feature in the “Weg and Go” magazines they are on a mission to make cooking with lamb inspiring and creative but also less intimidating for the modern young lady or gentleman! They will also be travelling across SA to bring you news and reviews on South African meat festivals and restaurants where winning lamb and mutton dishes are served.

Although Lizanne is a designer by day, and Marina a MSc Nutrition student on the side, their roles are ironically switched when it comes to cooking with lamb. Lizanne is always looking for ways to cook and eat healthy and will also keep you up to date on how to keep your lamb dishes as healthy as possible. Marina on the other hand loves creating absolute indulgent and creative lamb dishes that have no mercy on your diet. But between the two of them they will provide you with lamb dishes for every occasion!

Italian cuisine and South African lamb, an unlikely love affair!

Italian cuisine and South African lamb, an unlikely love affair!

Let me start this post out by stating a very important thing… I don’t eat a lot of Italian. Don’t get me wrong, it’s mainly due to a greater love for fresh meat and salads and the lack of an Italian metabolism. I however strongly associate with the Italians’ cooking philosophy. Keep it simple. Keep it fresh. Most of their dishes consists of 3 – 5 fresh ingredients. Even a true Italian’s pizza toppings are traditionally mostly 3 ingredients. Unbelievable right! I experienced this age old cooking philosophy first hand while on holiday with my family in Italy. Being a proud (l)ambassador for South African lamb and mutton meat I soon came to realise that South African lamb and mutton paired with the Italian way of cooking makes for the most perfect, although unlikely, couple and that I need to play match maker! That is how my “Crepe Lasagne”, “Zucchetti Bolognese” and “Pita Pizza 3 ways” came to life. But let tell you the whole story behind this cooking inspiration.

 

Viva Italia

Even though my family is of Dutch descent, I think we are more like the Italians when it comes to “family dynamics”. The dinner table is where we catch up, vent, inform, moan, discuss, share stories, gossip and bond. This January we went on our long overdue traditional family ski holiday. Austria has always been a favourite of ours but this time around we decided to try Livigno (aka little South Africa in Italy). We usually prefer the self-catering option when on holiday. There is just something about walking through a foreign supermarket and trying out all sorts of weird and wonderful local ingredients, a challenge welcomed by the women in my family. This year however, we tried the half-board option, where you have the opportunity to be wined and dined the local way in the evenings. Firstly; so glad we decided to try it in Italy (it will not go down that well with all European half-board villas) and secondly, what an interesting experience it was!

 

Dinner ala Italiano

Sitting down to dinner the first evening, we were quite intimidated by the 5 course menu in front of us. Antipasto, Primo, Secondo… we thought it was just because it was a level of fancy us South Africans weren’t used to. Turns out this had nothing to do with “fancy” it’s simply how Italians do their home style meals. Let me just give you a quick overview of this age old tradition. The meal starts with Antipasto, which is a small appetiser and can be anything from caprese salad to pheasant wellington (that’s the only way I can describe it), always accompanied by a selection of gourmet bread rolls. Primo, the second course, or the “first main course”, usually consist of pasta or soup (and let me tell you, the Italians are certainly way more generous when it comes to their portions than the French).  The next course, secondo was mainly a type of meat or fish served with one type of vegetable. And then, “dolce”, that universal sweet ending to any meal, which knows no culture.

The first evening I made the rookie mistake of eating everything that was on all four my plates. Big. Uncomfortable. Mistake. (I had to ski twice as long the following day to feel like myself again). Thereafter I knew not to be seduced by the attractive antipasto and primo portions. The waiter kept asking me “oh, you don’t like” when I didn’t finish my food and the more I tried to explain that the food was amazing and that we were simply not used to such big dinners, the less she understood. Eventually I gave up and just said “eccelente” and “delizioso”. Italians (much like us South Africans) take offence when you don’t finish a meal and consider it as your way of telling them “the food wasn’t good enough to finish”.

Carbs, carbs, glorious carbs…

Knowing the havoc pasta or pizza can wreak on a lady’s hips (well those without an Italian metabolism) you can imagine my panic when I realized that “Banting” hasn’t arrived in Livigno yet. Not that I’m a banter, to me it’s just an indication of a good “low carb” option and pizza or pasta at the slopes restaurants and again pasta (plus 4 other dishes) for dinner can start to weigh you down after a few days. Yes, sure they have salads or vegetables on the menu but it was either too expensive or very uninteresting. The Italians can definitely learn a thing or two from South Africans about gourmet salads! Being a lambassador, I scrutinized each menu at each restaurant for their lamb dishes. Lamb shank was all I could find and was around R350, so for obvious reasons I did not try it.  However, as far as red meat goes, we had some amazing meaty burgers at the only burger restaurant in Livigno, and being Italians, they pride themselves on the fact that their burgers are made completely from scratch, using the most basic but freshest ingredients (even the burger rolls).

 

The Italian and lamb love affair

So after my Italian adventure I realised that a cuisine based on such sincere principles cannot go to waste at the cost of carbs. So I started thinking about ways how I can “healthify” classic Italian dishes at home whilst combining it with delicious and nutritious South African lamb. You see South African lamb has such a unique flavour that it needs very little added to it to make it a succulent meal. Just add one or two fresh ingredients and you have a guaranteed winner, this the perfect ingredient for any Italian style dish.

And so my meal planning started.

First “rule” I thought of when it came to keeping it simple, was to only make dishes consisting of red, white and green (coincidentally on purpose the same as the Italian flag… you see what I did there). Second “rule” was, 3 – 5 ingredients only per dish (this was a bit of a challenge for me).  I thought of what we ate (a lot) in Livigno, which pretty much came down to pizza, crepes, ravioli, lasagne and goulash (which was disqualified since it is of Hungarian origin! Surprise surprise).

The dishes I had in mind had to be tested on the toughest food critics…my family! My sister-in-law, who is an awesome cook with ever-so creative ideas on how to modernise recipes. My brother, who is probably the toughest one to impress, since he has so many rules when it comes to food. It shouldn’t be too healthy, it shouldn’t be too saucy, it should be spicy, it must have a crunch element, but shouldn’t stray too far off the original etc etc. My sister-in-law’s brother, who is also like a younger brother to me, has an appetite like you won’t believe, and grew up with his mom’s cooking, which, to put is simple, is always restaurant quality! Last but not least, my fellow lambassador, friend, inspirer and biggest cheerleader who always used to cook for us as students in our commune, and one of the best and knowledgeable cooks I know (she can recite recipes, measurements and temperatures of about anything). These were my critics.

The idea for lamb-mince-stuffed-wonton-ravioli immediately came to mind. I researched a few recipes and found it to be a hit many others have thought of before me, however I failed miserably in my search for wonton wrappers (fyi, spring roll wrappers is also a huge fail!). So plan C? I tried to stay away from lasagne, since I would be up against my mom’s recipe, and didn’t want the added pressure with the limited time I had. Zucchini lasagne would have been too healthy for the men (I could hear their complaints already), then it came to me. Crepe lasagne! Perfecto! It’s lighter than pasta but would still pass as carbs in the men’s opinion. Here is what I ended up cooking for the family:

-          Crepe lasagne with lamb mince
Layers of crepes and mince topped with a ricotta mix

-          Zucchetti bolognese
Zucchini spaghetti spirals topped with lamb mince and parmigiana

-          Pita pizza 3 ways
Halved pitas topped with – tomato, basil, basil pesto and mozzarella
                                              - lamb espetada meat, mushrooms and mozzarella (sneaked in
                                                some hummus)
                                              - lamb espetada meat, cream cheese and rocket

-          Different but the same Caprese salad
Baked tomatoes and green pepper, with macadamia nuts and cranberries (different ingredients, same colours)

-          Sort of Affogato
Ice cream served with a shot of chocolate Bombardino (all the way from Italy) and home-made coffee cookie (we didn't have it in Italy since it is a summer desert, however we did have our fair share of Bombardinos; a classic Italian drink consisting of warmed up egg liquor/eggnog, whiskey/rum and cream, there are many variations but these are the main ingredients, thus a perfect combination in this South African heat).

I found that by sticking to the “rules”, the menu turned out to be very economical without being repetitive or boring, as well as saving a lot on 2 for one deals! Bonus! Each dish was so simple to make, no slaving for hours, no special equipment or even knowledge needed. Everything was put on the table “family style”, where everyone dishes for themselves, as much as they want, as many times as they want and so the bonding commenced.

Every dish turned out great (based on everyone’s opinions and feedback). The critics were happy and even though the classics were “healthified” and “lambified”, each dish still represented Italy as well as the Italian philosophy, proving that lamb shouldn't be discarded when thinking Italian. I’ll say the same thing about merging Italian cuisine and lamb meat that I said about my ski holiday in Livigno… let’s do that again!

Wham bam grazie lamb!

!

  

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fellow foodie friends, Marina and Lizanne are “Lambs Cooking Mutton”! Armed with their blog posts and a frequent feature in the “Weg and Go” magazines they are on a mission to make cooking with lamb inspiring and creative but also less intimidating for the modern young lady or gentleman! They will also be travelling across SA to bring you news and reviews on South African meat festivals and restaurants where winning lamb and mutton dishes are served.

Although Lizanne is a designer by day, and Marina a MSc Nutrition student on the side, their roles are ironically switched when it comes to cooking with lamb. Lizanne is always looking for ways to cook and eat healthy and will also keep you up to date on how to keep your lamb dishes as healthy as possible. Marina on the other hand loves creating absolute indulgent and creative lamb dishes that have no mercy on your diet. But between the two of them they will provide you with lamb dishes for every occasion!

A medieval feast, in the heart of the Capital

Meat. Beer. Good conversation and good music. This is surely an age old recipe for a guaranteed good time. Coincidentally these were the main ingredients used for the Capital Craft Meat Feast on the 8th of December in the heart of the Capital city, Pretoria.

Head chef of the Capital Craft kitchen, Bradley Martins, the man himself, warmly welcomed all the guests with a very interesting story on the inspiration behind the evening. His inspiration for the very first Capital Craft Meat Feast came from a movie (believe it or not, chefs do get time to watch movies). The movie was about a French president who employed an average woman as his personal chef. Average, in this case, referring to no culinary qualification nor special awards. But what’s so inspiring about that, you might ask. Let me put this scenario into perspective. Firstly, one would expect a president to insist on the best of the best when it comes to the person preparing his food. Secondly, employing a “commoner” rather than a Michelin star chef, (especially by the president of a nation who we all know to be passionate about their food), is unheard of and un-orthodox.  . As Chef Bradley watched this movie, he had an epiphany: Why not host an event celebrating the most primal food known to mankind, meat, along with taking inspiration from this particular president. The curious person in me wanted to know more about this epiphany, and so Theuns Botha, bar manager at Capital Craft, let me in on the “whole” story. He (Theuns) explained that Bradley liked the idea of giving kitchen cooks, who usually assist the chef, the opportunity to get more involved on the creative side to showcase their own ideas. This is (likewise) very unheard of and unusual in the often unforgiving and fast paced restaurant industry. But nevertheless the idea of the first Capital Craft Meat Feast was born.

The first image that comes to mind when imagining a “meat fest” is without a doubt a medieval style feast with piles of food and gluttons all around. However this particular medieval style meat feast in the heart of Pretoria had a modern and classy gourmet twist, with long tables decorated with bread and cheese and an all-around convivial vibe. The Capital Craft beer academy and restaurant is well known for their quality, exclusive and wide variety of craft beers as well as an amazing food menu. Apart from the night’s jovial and lighthearted atmosphere which is synonymous with Capital Craft, the meat (the stars of the evening) was on par with the high standard to which Capital Craft hold themselves.

Six different cuts of meat were meticulously prepared in six different ways. These meaty masterpieces were displayed on communal tables in the middle of the restaurant. Capital Craft’s waiters had the honor of expertly presenting and cutting the meat, demonstrating excellent meat knowledge in the way they served each cut. Feast goers could eat as much as their hearts desired (or rather as much as their stomachs allowed). Perfectly prepared meat, no awkward vegetables taking up valuable meat space and quality beer - any South African’s dream!

The meat cuts served were: “Two day marinated rack of prime rib”; “slow roasted short rib with stout beer”; “braised lamb shoulder”; “roasted porchetta”, “six hour smoked brisket” and whole roasted chicken”. All this was meatiness accompanied with three types of bread and of course the very extensive Capital Craft beer list!

Every single cut of meat served that evening, from shoulder to rib, was prepped with the care it deserved. Each mouthful was more amazing than the previous and everyone had difficulty choosing their favourite. My meat-of-the-night was without a doubt the “Red wine braised, bone-in-lamb shoulder” served with Baba Ganoush (a Levantine eggplant dip), Greek yogurt and pistachio dukkah (a dry spice dip). This unique pairing was a joy for the taste buds. The freshness of the aubergine, paired with Greek yogurt, offered a complimenting contrast to the heavy rich taste of the lamb shoulder. The lamb was meticulously braised to perfection. This combination cooking method calls for first browning the meat in fat, to seal in moisture and flavor, before slow roasting the cut in a small amount of liquid (stock, wine, beer, cider whatever your creativity longs for). This is a timely process for the relaxed cook who prefers not to be rushed or bound by rules. Braising meat develops the flavor and breaks down the meat fibers to yield a tender piece of meat with that lovely “fall-off-the-bone” characteristic. You will know the piece of meat is ready to come out of the oven when the meat starts pulling away from the bone and a mere blunt fork can slice through the meat smoothly and easily. It’s not a matter of setting a timer or constantly poking the meat with a thermometer. Nope, you have to watch it carefully, like you would your favourite rugby team playing the final of whatever cup, not missing a moment, with simultaneous patience and excitement. I am definitely inspired to try this at home.

Capital Craft’s staff truly demonstrated skill and talent very few chefs have in hand, by achieving this perfectly pink meat on four-plus lamb shoulders. Not to mention all the other meat options that were also cooked to perfection – yes, I tasted all the options twice, just to make sure.

Chef Bradley’s vision of hosting an event which celebrates meat, encouraging the staff to be involved, sharing their ideas and giving them this experience was definitely achieved and surely appreciated by all the staff.  He taught them an important life lesson: You are capable of so much more than you think you are (in the kitchen as well as in life). To have been a part of this first-of-its-kind initiative is a cherished experience. Aside from eating delicious food, enjoying quality beer and bonding with old and new friends, the motivation behind the event is truly heartfelt and an incredibly generous gesture from the Chef and Capital Craft management. With great initiative comes great success, so well done Capital Craft!

Needless to say, by the end of the evening our once unfamiliar neighbours in the seats next to us became our new friends, swopping out stories and “expertly” comparing the food. After all, we all had a very important thing in common; the appreciation of marvelous meat and fine beer! We left with satisfied taste buds, tighter pants and one question….When is the next one?!

Be sure not to miss the next one by visiting Capital Craft either in person, on Facebook, Twitter or their website.

Wham bam thank you lamb!