Where: 175 Helen Joseph Road, Glenwood
Open: Monday to Saturday 8am-10pm; Sunday 8am-3pm.
Stella Sports Club is known for its hearty comfort food, and casual pub-style setting. It’s also known for its great value. And on a Tuesday night it was pumping, as both indoor soccer courts were in play. It made for a great atmosphere with lots of fun all round.
In the general melee of teams coming and teams going and all the casual banter at the bar, service was a little topsy turvy but it worked well enough. The kitchen certainly got the meals out pronto.
For starters we opted for deep-fried crumbed halloumi (R55) and chicken livers in a creamy peri-peri sauce (R55). The halloumi was excellent and the coating beautifully crisp, and it was served with a decent sweet chilli dipping sauce. There were four pieces on the plate, but I munched one before the picture was taken.
We really liked the creamy peri-peri sauce on the livers, but the livers themselves had been overcooked and disappeared in this massive bowl of sauce, or soup, as my friend called it. But this was hardly a penalty. He was happy to take the left-over sauce home for a pasta the next evening.
Other starters include comfort items like chicken wings, home-made spring rolls or fish cakes. And what’s great for a sociable time is a selection of boards that might include barbecue ribs - I’ve had these before and they’re great - cheesy meatballs, cheesy sausages, biltong and onion rings etc. These would be perfect for bar snacks.
When it comes to mains, burgers are a feature here, and I remember the Sharks burger which was piled mile-high with crispy onion rings. There’s also a classic fish and chips, calamari, prawns or various combos of them, plus a very reasonably priced steak or surf and turf or Mozambican chicken.
We opted for the exceptional Tuesday night special menu, which offered a range of pastas and pizzas with a glass of wine for R75. You probably can’t do better than that at home.
My friend went for the chicken tagliatelle in a creamy lemon sauce with fresh herbs and Parmesan. While he wanted a little more zest, it was a pleasant and enjoyable dish. One might have tried a bacon, spinach and garlic pasta or a steak pasta with more of that creamy peri-peri sauce.
I went the pizza route. While Hawaiian or sweet chilli chicken didn’t tick the boxes, I spotted the Margarita Twist - yes it was spelt like that and poor Queen Margherita is probably turning in her grave. This was the classic with the addition of caramelised onions and salami. It was a decent pizza, if a shade over cheesed for my taste, but perfect for its pub grub setting. It would mop up the second glass of wine.
While we were munching away, a “birthday cake” came out - a chocolate brownie smothered in chocolate sauce with a single candle and a fizz pop stuck in it.
“I want that,” my friend said. The brownie (R45) was beautifully dense and rich with chocolate, even if it had lost some of its crunch in the reheating. Hint of an own goal here is that the cream was turning, although for me the sharper cream worked well with the chocolate. My friend had to go without his fizz pop though. We finished with a decent and exceptionally reasonable double espresso (R12).
As the final whistle of the final match blew we left well fed after an entertaining evening.
Ambience: 3 ½The Independent on Saturday