While exploring the new Brickell City Centre with family or friends, you find yourself captivated by an alien, yet inviting aroma. Following your nose to the third floor, you arrive at the doorstep of Big Easy Winebar & Grill — a South African inspired restaurant named after Ernie Els, a world-renowned golfer who is so big he could easily be on the defensive line for the Miami Dolphins, but he kills it on the green instead.
My absolute favorite dish, was an authentically African dish. The Peri-Peri Chicken ($24)—a whole, cage-free bird smothered in an African chili sauce. With origins in Portugal, peri-peri sauce has become a mainstay in many African nations, with each country or region adding its own twist.
The South African version is delicious. Notes of chili powder, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and salt highlight this amazingly baked chicken entrée. I came back twice for this chicken along with their hand cut french fries. Lord have mercy! (I’m trying my best to get it together by Memorial Day Weekend, but it’s not looking too good with folks making stuff like this all damn day!)
My friends wanted something a little heavier, so we ordered the Durban Bunny Chow ($35), a slow roasted lamb shank served in an artisan bread bowl. Bunny chow is a classic fusion dish, in that it resulted from Indian laborers and cooks substituting ingredients they couldn’t find in South Africa and creating a spice mix that resulted in a distinct Durban curry not known in India.
We turned to the Angry Duck Curry ($22), chopped pieces of succulent duck breast drenched in a phenomenal red madras curry, with a side of coconut basmati rice. Southern Indian cuisine is captured with this curry, its red color resulting from heavy use of chili powder. Toasty spices and a smoothness from the Indian yogurt were infused with hints of a sour-sweet fruitiness of tamarind, finished off with slight citrusy taste of either lemon or lime.
Big Easy Wine and Bar has landed in Miami with a big splash. Their food and service are absolutely first class.
Big Easy Winebar & Grill
701 S. Miami Ave #339a, in Brickell City Centre, Miami