The Big Easy and That Brewing Co. Tasting

Who knew that one could pair beer with food, as you do with wine? Not me until a few nights ago. That Brewing Co. and the recently launched Big Easy Durban Restaurant (Located at the Durban Hilton Hotel) teamed up to showcase the possibilities of matching food and beer and we were graciously invited to try it out. That Brewing Co. is a now familiar institution with Durbanites. It’s based at S43 (Number 43 Station Road, where the brewery is located in an open setting) and served at Unity Bar and, most recently, the Big Easy. The event was held in a private dining room of the Big Easy restaurant where we were talked through each pairing by the Big Easy Sous Chef, and That Brewing Co. Brewmaster, Paul Ten Hoorn Boer. It was certainly a learning experience, where our palates were taught the difference between the bitterness of American Pale Ales (aka APA’s), the smoothness of Red Ales, the creaminess of Stouts and how these match with the different courses offered.

The night started off with tasty bruschetta canapés matched with That Red. The smoothness and easy drinking nature of this Ale made a perfect match with the light pre-starter. We were soon seated and presented with the starter, smoked trout salad, beer pickled black mussels and smoked snoek springrolls , matched with That Blonde. The lightness of the seafood was again perfectly matched with the subtle lager like notes of That Blonde. The food itself was tasty and presented in a manner which reminded me of a late stage Masterchef episode. Paul, chatted to us about the brewing process and how this amazing journey started for him.

Our second course consisted of three beautifully presented pap based aranchini’s. The oxtail filling was a particular highlight and went perfectly with the stywe pap surround. The beer accompanying this dish was That Good Adweis which, in my experience is a love or hate beer. I must admit that I have never tried Paul’s Weis as it’s not a brew type that I enjoy. I can, however, honestly say that it was an enjoyable first experience! The beer is less about wheat and more about fresh flavours. Some at the table commented that this was their favourite so far.

The third and main course was a masala roasted Karoo lamb accompanied by a cashew curry cream sauce. The meal was a good size though some portions looked fattier than others. The lamb was cook perfectly and the masala was a subtle taste carried through in each bite taken. The curry sauce was a highlight and matched perfectly with the lamb. Our accompanying beer was the That APA. A distinct tasting brew which, judging from the responses that night, is sweet tasting to the ladies and bitter to the men. I thought the Stout may have been a better choice for such a hearty meal but I still enjoyed the APA.

We finished off with what had to be the best tasting chocolate cheesecake I’ve ever tasted (and I’m not cheesecake mad at the best of times). This dish’s presentation was also the best of the night. I could have also eaten an entire bowl of the accompanying cardamom orange mousse. That Black accompanied the dessert, it was not a bad match and the sweetness of the cheesecake almost ‘smoothed out’ the strong stout while the coffee tones of the stout complimented the flavours in the dessert.

Overall the night was a big success and we thoroughly enjoyed the friendly and open nature of those involved in making the cogs turn at The Big Easy. The restaurant itself is carefully set out to give the diner a sense of privacy without the feeling of detachment. The bar and lounge area looks to be the perfect spot to enjoy an after work beer or a starter apéritif before you settle down to dinner. I will definitely be back and look forward to trying out the peri peri baby chicken and some of the other deserts that are offered at the Big Easy Restaurant and of course be visiting S43 for some more of THAT beer!

Some useful info.

The Big Easy website: www.thebigeasyrestaurant.co.za

That Brewing Co. Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1QTgCDe

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