Atlanta’s South African star
“African flavors” is a trend identified in a survey of chefs who belong to the American Culinary Federation. Sliced biltong, a naturally cured beef jerky popular in South Africa, has been incorporated into a Biltong Carpaccio Caesar Salad at 10 Degrees South, an Atlanta, Georgia-based restaurant specializing in South African fare.
Justin Anthony is the owner of True Story Brands Hospitality Group, Atlanta, and the 128-seat 10 Degrees South was his first culinary endeavor in the US. The business features a variety of concepts, including Yebo, which features a rotating Beach Haus or Ski Haus menu; Cape Dutch, a chef-driven South African Steakhouse; and the Biltong Bar that features South African street food paired with a signature craft cocktail program.
“It’s our Tabasco, or sriracha — I’m like the guy in that scene in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ — if anything is wrong with a dish, I’ll add peri peri,” Anthony said.
Introducing South African flavors and cuisine to Atlanta has not been a huge stretch. South African cuisine features a lot of Indian curries, and it’s a fit with the Atlanta Low Country or South Carolina influence. Anthony menus shrimp and grits curry, “more of a ‘commonwealth,’ very mild curry that Australians and the English would choose,” he said. “We also do a flame-grilled fried chicken with peri peri. It’s one of the most typical South African dishes.”
The dish’s batter includes peri peri salt, then Anthony drizzles the chicken with house-made peri peri sauce. Plus, it’s served with a ramekin of peri peri for dipping.
Holding firmly to the integrity of the original individual South African dishes, Anthony said actual dishes aren’t “fusion,” but the menu is.
“South African food is very international because it has so many different cuisine influences — some say, ‘It’s like regular food but with better flavors!’”
“It’s like the Pop Rocks I had as a kid — with this dish, there’s a lot going on in the mouth,” Anthony said.