Thursday, 27 September 2012

Hippo Creek African Grill

Hippo Creek African Grill on Urbanspoon

It was A's dad's birthday when his family decided that the best way to say Happy Birthday! is by stuffing him with as much meat as possible on a sunny, laid-back, serene Sunday morning.
I think that is absolutely perfect. Nothing says it better than meat.

And while I welcome unbearable amounts of meat eating at all times, some may scoff at and can't handle the idea of a few shared kilograms of heavy protein and not much else for a breakfast.
Anything can be handled, if you put your mind (and stomach) to it.

There is no doubt Hippo Creek provides a mean meat feast, and I really can't believe I haven't been here before.
"Excessive" is really just an understatement.

Hot Chocolate - $4
It was a gorgeous morning and just being by the tranquility of the harbour just makes it even gorgeouser. A warm, toasty cup of hot chocolate is a good addition to that equation of sun, sea and the beginning of all the carnivorous activity to come.

Avo Dugout - $19.50
Because I wasn't paying for my own meal, I scouted around for a not-so-dear menu item that didn't make me look like a greedy scoundrel. The other impending reason was I was still waiting for my stomach to open up to its full capacity, since I'm not a morning person.

And neither is my stomach.

A breakfast fit for a king (and humble old me!)
I came across the perfect dish in the entree section of the menu, and not because of the extravagant marron that was included, but probably because of the simple mention of avocado.
Heaven to my ears :)

Half a deliciously creamy and firm avocado accompanies an equally as creamy inclusion of mixed seafood that's been generously tossed through peri-peri aioli. Although the starter size is actually substantial enough a portion for breakfast, the creaminess of the main elements of the dish adds up after a while of eating it.

I've never been as thankful for the included salad (and the half marron of course, even with the tiny amount of meat I forced out of it). Its main purpose was probably to look pretty, which it does a fine job of.

African Safari - $46
The game meat tasting plate for 2 features skewers of a changing selection of game meats, which offputtingly reminds me of a realistic scene of Hangman. It isn't everyday where you will even see crocodile, emu, buffalo and venison meats, let alone eat them.

Served with peri-peri and the hair-raising name of monkey gland sauce, I was much more at ease upon finding out the real ingredients behind this long-time favourite addition to meats. The fruitiness and slight spiciness to the sauce give a nice sweet element that complements the cubes well.
And although it's nice to learn no monkeys were harmed in the making, eating all these non-domesticated animals doesn't provide strong reinforcement :P

You game for some game?
Grilled to a perfect medium rare, the cubes of meat are lean but still succulent and juicy. I am pleased (but also silently disappointed) that it looks and tastes just like beef and chicken. I would wholeheartedly believe these are simply beef/chicken shish kebabs without a notion of doubt.

Some would agree that a visit to a modern South African restaurant is incomplete without trying their specialty, and I certainly agree to their agreement. Make sure (or make yourself) game enough for an exotic game meat experience.

Just be prepared to face the collective pool of red at the bottom as you slide flesh off its metal skeleton.

Garlic Bread - $7.50
Garlic bread is always a good accessory to get the appetite going and line the stomach. Even if the stingy amount of garlic renders it to be butter bread instead.

Hippo Creek's version features a mini baguette style of this why-so-hard-to-get-right item, cut into a few slices making the loaf. It is certainly well-buttered and soft between the sections, but the crusty bread might not be to everyone's liking.

I liked it though :)

Hunters Assaghai - $44
If dining options had a stand out, attention grabbing centrepiece, this would be it.
I have heard of this too many times to walk into Hippo Creek and NOT try it.
Though if you dislike seeing any pink in your beef, then stay away 'cause the meat isn't going to reach any shades of grey (i.e. no cooking past medium for quality purposes).

Featured on a tremendous structure that looks like it could have killed the cow itself, are fist-sized cubes of marinated beef rump. Perhaps their description of "marinated cubes of rump on a skewer hanging over a bowl of fries with your choice of garlic or chilli butter dripping down, served with a side salad" says it better.
And that butter does indeed slide down the rump ever so seductively.

But really, if the description doesn't entice you, maybe the side of garden salad will.

I'd like my chips served with butter and beef juice, thanks!
For something so extravagant sounding, the chips don't have the extravagance to match.
They're on the dry and not so poppin' hot side, and quite underseasoned despite all the extra help from the beef rump juice above it.

Very surprised to have unfinished chips at the end of the meal, with so many people on the table.

Spare Ribs - $36
Making an entrance are 2 racks of pork spare ribs, arching a bridge over the chips underneath it. The pork rib composed structure features a shiny glaze of Hippo Creek's homemade basting that will make you reduce all the meat to the bone, and suck that bone clean.

And with all the meat that is already in me, I could do with some more.

Yeah baby!
If you're faced with something beautiful like this, you gotta really pick it up with your hands and eat like no-one is watching.
Unless you don't mind the awkwardness of others watching you lick your fingers furiously.

'Cause this stuff is really mouth staining, finger licking good.

Hello, nice lookin' staircase wine cabinet!

If I still haven't been able to project across what Hippo Creek does, I'm not sure what I've been doing. With a custom design dry age cool room to boot, these guys claim to offer some of the highest quality beef around. It's all about the meat, and it's all about how you're more than likely to eat more than your recommended daily intake of protein by about a lot.

Even the men were absolutely satiated. And me? Yeah I was too, after finishing off theirs :)

Eating here is also educational, from the dictionary of beef-related jargon included in the menu that just might help turn diners into steak aficionados. Steakwise, consistency is questionable, but really, everybody's consistency is. I should give mention (and warning!) to their show stopping 2kg rump challenge that could do severe damage to your own rump.

Lunch is so much quieter, seemingly empty without the lunch rush. It's a bit cold and quiet - and I'm actually describing the waitstaff. Just a bit.

Modern South African dining undoubtedly features exotic meat and the surrounds to match. The wooden contemporary design suits the meat's supposedly "wood roasted perfumes" and mixes in some tribal themes, with some Marty and Tigger skins at the forefront to remind you you're in a carnivorous kind of place. Now just missing the liveliness of live animals running around during your dinner.

Make sure you're a Hungry Hungry Hippo before conquering Hippo Creek. Preferably an insanely carnivorous one too.
With all the lovely boats in the harbour, all they need are hippos in the creek to truly live up to their name :)

(08) 9447 2238
Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm (Specials Mon - Thurs)
Dinner: 6pm to late
Breakfast: 8am Sundays

Kitchen closes 9.30pm
BYO wine $10/bottle
Public holidays: 10% surcharge per head


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