FOOD REVIEW

Grill restaurant La Parrilla opens in Richmond Hill

Bain Street in Richmond Hill, Port Elizabeth has a new hangout for the hungry: it’s called La Parrilla – Spanish for “grill” – and if you’re a meat lover then a visit here can only serve you well.
La Parrilla is the brainchild of a dynamic couple who are already well known on the Bay restaurant scene. Louis and Landi Barkhuizen were instrumental in opening the Eastern Cape’s first Hussar Grill in Walmer in the winter of 2016.
The hard-working pair spent years in franchising (Landi also did a stint at RocoMamas in the Bay which, like Hussar, is controlled by the Spur Corporation).
The Barkhuizens were finally able to realise their dream of having their very own establishment in October 2018, when they opened La Parrilla. You’ll find it in the spot previously occupied by another restaurant with a strong Latin theme – Ana Lumbreras de Beer’s popular Todos Locos, where my husband and fellow feaster, Salvelio, and I spent many a fun evening.
Landi is from Johannesburg and Louis grew up in Mossel Bay before heading to Jozi to build a career in franchising and hotel management. He is actually a qualified chef though and says he is much happier now, cooking again and “doing my own thing”.
“For a long time I wanted to do my own thing but never took the opportunity,” he says. “I went on leave in July and told my dad it feels like I’ve lost my passion for the industry. He said, ‘It’s about time you do something to get it back’.”
La Parrilla was the result: “I fell in love with this spot. It’s small but manageable, and we don’t need a lot of staff or a huge menu."
The couple have embraced life in Port Elizabeth and were married here in February 2018. We met up with them at a tasting event in January at which they shared a selection of dishes from the menu.
La Parrilla is essentially a red meat restaurant and the steaks (sirloin, fillet, rump, ribeye, T-bone and ostrich) are the stars of the show, though there are limited chicken and pork dishes on offer.
Louis is a proponent of the Argentine style of grilling, having spent time in Buenos Aires as a young chef. “They love meat and don’t do a lot of sticky basting on their steaks.”
There’s surely nothing more off-putting than an overly sweet basting sauce that overpowers the meat and destroys the flavour, so it was great not to find that here.
The steaks we had were exceptional (pepper-crusted beef fillet flambéed at our table for Salvelio; perfectly rare rib-eye for me). Steaks are matured for at least 28 days and served with a butter compound of your choice: Café de Paris; olive and garlic; or garlic and rosemary.
It’s a simple approach that compliments the meat far better than drowning it in sauce.
The starter and dessert menu is small, and the empanadas – typically Spanish or Latin American pastry turnovers stuffed with meat – are a winner. La Parrilla is at 32 Bain Street, Richmond Hill. Bookings are on 041-582-1988. Hours are Monday to Thursday, 5pm to 10pm, and midday to 10pm Friday and Saturday...

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