Wednesday was the first of Gateway’s Celeb Chef showdowns and it pitted the East Coast Radio breakfast and afternoon drive teams against each other.
A night filled with banter, horrible singing and relatively good food, I didn’t regret spending my evening at The Hussar Grill. The steakhouse is one of the oldest in the country and is a popular franchise.
I had never been to The Hussar Grill before.
Usually when I go out, it is with a good friend who is pescetarian and a steakhouse is not where they would enjoy their meal. Or so I thought. More about that, later.
As per usual, I arrived very early and while I was preparing to stick out like a sore thumb, it turns out I wasn’t the only one. So after getting settled and a Fitch & Leedes pink tonic (believe the hype, it’s good), it was on to watching the fans of ECR’s DJs, Darren Maule and Bongani Mtolo, vie for their attention.
Hosted by Terence Pillay, the evening got off to a vibey start. Darren, Sky Tshabalala and Keri Miller cleverly made badges urging people to vote for the ECR Breakfast team. It was a brilliant move as the drive team of Bongani, Rory Petzer and Gareth Jenkinson, could only sing – badly – into a mic, telling guests that they loved them.
Now on to the food.
Both teams prepared three-course meals and you chose which team you were voting for by deciding which menu was the most enticing for you.
On offer was marrow bone, pork belly and chocolate vodka martinis from Breakfast. Drive had calamari, grilled chicken on chilli chocolate sauce and crème brûlée. Because I wanted to have the marrows, I ended up on Team Breakfast.
I love bone marrow. As a kid I lived to suck it out of the bone and so I really tried my best to not revert to five-year-old me. Served with pesto and croutes, the marrow was delicious and the chilli gave it an extra zing. I really wished there was more marrow on the bone though.
I really wanted to try out the chicken on the chilli chocolate sauce, alas, I couldn’t. But from my table mate’s comments, it was a triumph for the drive team. I also enjoyed the pork belly.
It came close to melt-in-your-mouth quality. I was let down by the roast vegetables, though, as they were bland and luke-warm. The vegetarian platter, served to guests who don’t eat meat, was really good. It was a full meal – Greek salad, spinach, butternut, halloumi and avocado.
The Hussar Grill really sold themselves to me by doing that and have given a number of steakhouses a run for their money when it comes to the food they serve to vegetarians.
I also wanted the crème brûlée instead of the choc vodka martini and I wasn’t willing to compromise. But the choc martini was a favourite of my table mate’s. The crème brûlée was delicious too, but it wasn’t groundbreaking.
It wasn’t a surprise when the breakfast team won. While their menu was pretty basic, they were able to cook delicious food.
The showdown continues on Wednesday at Primi between Kyle Deutsch and Uzalo's Dawn Thandeka King.