Grills and boys come out to play (and eat like royalty)
Top chef Shaun Munro wows at Durban’s Grill Jichana
I thought we were going to have beef when Shaun Munro said there was going to be a grilling. It turns out we did have beef … as well as salmon, lamb, prawns and duck. The grilling was by the iconic Durban chef at the relaunch of the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani’s Grill Jichana menu.
During a quick and enlightening Cuts of Meat for Dummies talk, the executive chef unpacked the ins and out of fillet from a Wagyu cow, why only four or five are slaughtered a month in Durban, and that they generally sell for about a rand a gram at his restaurant.
Next he explained why any restaurant worth its Himalayan salt will only use A230 for consistent quality meat.
While it sounds like the latest model Airbus, the letter numerical combination is important in choosing good-quality meat. A is a reference to the fact that the cow hasn’t cut its first teeth (up to about two years), 2 refers to medium fat content (0=no fat; 7=extreme fat), 3 is the shape and conform (refers to compliance with health regulations) of the cow, and 0 refers to the damage of the carcass.
Thankfully there was no pop quiz after, but the test came in the eating of at least 15 items from starters to desserts. Munro spared no culinary punches.
From the starters, the creamy garlic and saffron mussels with a garlic cream and vegetable mirepoix (a flavour base of diced vegetables cooked in butter or other fat), and the spicy livers with a peri peri sauce were winners.
The stars were the grills: juicy and flavourful fillets, succulent loin and T-bone cutlets, buttery Norwegian salmon, fall- off-the-bone roast duck, and lamb shank.
In addition, Munro threw in a wild card: his candidate chef at the Elangeni & Maharani’s banqueting kitchen, Bevashan Naidoo, prepared his slow-cooked Durban masala-infused beef short rib with bolo rillettes and bolo floss. It was accompanied by a mieliepap dumpling, savoury corn kernels and sweetcorn puree – which knocked the socks off the judges at the national 2018 Distell Inter Hotel challenge.
The winning dish, from hotels across SA, was a fine example of the skill honed in Munro’s kitchen.
As if that wasn’t enough, the five-chocolate Valrhona chocolate ball, baked lemon tart, cardamon and rose water pannacotta, and espresso chocolate tart sated any sweet craving.
• The Grill Jichana is inside the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani, 63 Snell Parade, Durban.