The who: Big Easy Winebar & Grill is a collaboration between Grove Bay Hospitality Group (Glass and Vine) and Ernie Els – the South African hall of fame golfer (playfully nicknamed “The Big Easy” for his manner, stature and gentle disposition), who is also award-winning winemaker. Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen, a native South African, heads up the kitchen.
The space: The sprawling space at Brickell City Centre evokes the textures and colors of South Africa with cushy leather chairs, reclaimed wood floors marbled stone, earth-toned fabrics and clay pottery. They all combine to make the space feel like dining in cozy home of a wealthy winemaker.
The dishes: Inspired by the Western Cape region of South Africa with is influences of Dutch, Indian and English cultures. The menu is divided into Tid Bits ($6-$9), Starters ($8-$16) and For The Table ($10-$26) allowing for generous portions and reasonable pricing.
If you want to go the authentic route opt for the Peri-Peri Chicken Liver dressed with a fiery African chili sauce or the Boerie Bites made with farmers sausage (beef and pork), on a soft roll with onion jam and tomato chutney. The Chilli-Coffee Rubbed Pork Flatbread is made with seasonal apples, braai “bbq sauce” and fresh mozzarella.
The grill section includes cuts such as the Prime Dry Aged Kansas City Strip, Bison Ribeye, and belly-filling The Big Easy Braai – a mixed grill feast for 2-4 guests complete with South African farmers sausage, a 12 oz. top sirloin, double lamb chops, Nigerian prawns and a choice of two sides.
Housemade sauces keep the South African vibe going with a Peri-Peri Cream, Braai “BBQ” Sauce and a Durban Spice butter with annatto, jaggery cane sugar and turmeric.
The “Ernie’s Favorites” section of the menu comprises an Angry Duck Curry made with duck breast, red Madras curry and basmati rice and a Durban Bunny Chow, an authentic dish of slow roasted lamb shank served in an artisan bread bowl.
Desserts are as rich as the setting with a Nutella bread pudding and a traditional malva pudding cake, consisting of a a spongy caramelized cake topped by a cream sauce.
Bottom line: Miami’s first upscale South African-influenced restaurant also happens to be a great spot for cocktails and hearty grilled meats.
Big Easy Winebar & Grill
701 South Miami Ave., Suite 339, Miami in the Brickell City Centre