Friday, 26th August, 2016 – The Braai Shack, Wolverton
Just to prove it’s not all fine dining, Michelin Stars and Gault-Millau around these parts, last weekend we took a trip to the Braai Shack, a South African restaurant in one half of a pub in one of the shabbier bits of Milton Keynes, Wolverton.
With a Groupon in our possession our main course choice was limited to the range of bunny chows that they do but that didn’t stop us from hitting the starters once we’d ordered a glass of house wine (included in the Groupon) for each of us.
I went for the spicy chicken livers, which arrived in a small cast iron pot with bread to dunk in the extremely spicy sauce, and some tomatoes, which looked like a bit of an afterthought to be honest. It was a substantial starter and very tasty in a “blow your head off if it was any hotter” way but there was also a big meaty hit to be gained from it.
Lynne ordered the vetkoek as a starter. Imagine if you will the filling from a normal lamb samosa, but in this case encased in a thick, doughy pillow, deep fried to crispiness on the outside and slightly larger than a cricket ball. Damn tasty, though you probably wouldn’t want to tackle more than one as part of a meal.
The only person to get a relatively small starter was Linda, who had the meatballs.
This is what the Italians would probably call cucina povera, with lots of ways of filling out a meal cheaply. The bunny chow certainly is being a hollowed out loaf filled with a meat curry. In my case the mutton. Now mutton is a meat that can often benefit from being slow cooked over a very long period of time, because it then emerges tenderised and falling apart when you stick a fork or spoon into it. They’d got this just right and the curry was rich and dense and soaked into the bread beautifully. In addition you get the piece that has been cut out to dunk back into the filling so it does involve a lot of bread, and just for good measure, and presumably to bulk out the meat there were also chunks of potato. There was some salad on the side of the plate but I can’t help thinking it was more for decoration than anything else!
Lynne and Stef had the lamb version, which you can have on or off the bone, and it was equally good, and Linda had good things to say about the chicken.
Perhaps unsurprisingly none of us could manage dessert, having worked our way through all of that meat and bread, but Linda and Stef both opted for milkshakes, which seem to be largely made with a variety of chocolate bars and treats, including Maltesers.
Flashing lights in the wine cooler aside, and air conditioning set to Arctic on what was a very warm day for England nonetheless, we really must try and visit the Braai Shack again. Service was bubbly and enthusiastic and while our waitress knew absolutely nothing about any of the limited wine range they sell she did at least know the food side of the menu. They also serve “exotic” meat such as zebra and buffalo and so a hot stone version of steaks as well as burgers and steaks cooked conventionally.
It’s a fun and friendly place and it’s also budget friendly with the bill for 4 of us nudging it’s way just over £20 each.