A slice of Africa was ours to be had for dinner at South African restaurant, Out of Africa in Kuala Lumpur – a greatly anticipated event.
After a well-deserved snooze to recover from a day of exploring, shopping and rude High Comm staff, we were ready for some culinary action. Myself, Julia, John the Engineer, Jon the Brother, Ian and Eve set off for Out of Africa located at 1 Lorong Sultan in Petaling Jaya.
But first we had some other business to attend to. Out of Africa allows you to bring your own drink, for a corkage charge of course, so we picked up a dubious 1 litre bottle of Smirnoff Vodka from a right dodgy place on the way.
Out of Africa, South African Restaurant and Kudu Bar, was quite easy to locate and it had parking right in front of the door. A big corporate function was taking place (Out of Africa is a popular corporate function venue in Kuala Lumpur, would we later learn), and the atmosphere was lively and fun.
South African paraphernalia decorates Out of Africa and gives you a glimpse as to how an African bush camp might look like. An eland and kudu (type of antelope) heads adorned two of the walls, South African flags were strung up high and a picture of former President Nelson Mandela had an honorary spot above the check-out counter. The familiarity was comforting.
I had boasted to all my friends about the uniqueness and taste of South African food, so it was not without apprehension that we scanned the menu and I explained what some of the food items were like boerewors, putu pap and bobotie.
In the end decisions were made. From Out of Africa’s extensive menu Julia and Eve chose the Boerewors with Putu Pap, Ian felt adventurous and went with the Ox Tongue, Jon the Brother had been wondering about Bobotie since our chat on the first night I arrived and chose that to satisfy his curiosity, John the Engineer, feeling like sometime outlandish and wild, chose the Venison Pie and I, being very hungry, chose the Elephant Rib (actually beef rib, but a huge portion).
To get us going before the mains we ordered a selection of starters which we felt reflected a diverse South African menu. South African cuisine is influenced by many cultures, but some items are quintessentially South African. We ordered biltong, mielie bread, chicken livers and a few other tidbits. The biltong was especially popular, and as it quickly disappeared, we ordered a second batch.
Biltong is essentially raw, but cured and dried meat. It can be made from virtually any type of meat, but is usually beef. Springbok, eland and kudu biltong brings with it a unique flavour and ostrich and zebra are some of the more exotic ones you could find.
As everyone positively responded to the starters, we started salivating in anticipation of the mains. When the mains arrived, the South African portions, served individually in the western style, turned into an Asian style communal meal as everyone had a bit of everyone else’s dish to experience as much as possible.
To my (and I’m sure Out of Africa’s) delight, everyone loved the food. It was the first time that I, born and bred South African, had South African food of this quality, ever. In South Africa I can’t think of a restaurant that would serve this type of menu, as it is, in a sense, home made food. Some of it, in deed, does show up frequently at braais (the South African BBQ), but the quality here at Out of Africa was outstanding, certainly not your average braai.
Most of us were stuffed, but we agreed that as the starters we great and the mains were fantastic, it would be criminal if we didn’t give Out of Africa’s dessert menu a go. Ian ordered an Amarula Chocolate Moose, and Jon the Brother tried the Lemon Meringue Pie, which both of them thoroughly enjoyed.
With our stomachs stuffed with South African food, we popped into the Kudu Bar. It’s an authentic South African bar, such as what you would find in small towns dotted all over South African, complete with bald men with beer bellies, loudly cheering on the national team (cricket test). We only popped in to say goodbye to David Solomon, proprietor of Out of Africa.
With warm South African hospitality he thanked us for coming and bid us a fond farewell. Our total bill for 6 people, including the RM100 for corkage, came to a mere RM600 and included a massive heap of gourmet starters, main meals and desserts – mixers were included with the corkage, including soft drinks and orange juice.
Our group unanimously agreed that South African restaurant, Out of Africa, in Kuala Lumpur, is a must visit and should really feature more prominently on lists of good restaurants to visit in Kuala Lumpur.