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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lucky Tsotsi, Darlinghurst, Sydney

koeksisters dessert at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst

So you're comfortably down with Vietnamese and Thai, but when was the last time you had South African for dinner? South Africans may only make up 0.7% of Sydney's population but that still means a total of 28,193 ex-pats, according to the national census in 2006.

South African cuisine offers an interesting melting pot of flavours, shaped and expanded by a long history of colonisation. Dutch settlers played a significant role, but there are also noticeable influences from the Germans, French, Indonesians, Indians and Malays - all of whom contributed new dishes or twists to traditional African fare.

lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
Lucky Tsotsi upstairs dining room

At Lucky Tsotsi in Darlingurst, you'll find a diverse menu that traverses all of these flavours. Downstairs is the bar, furnished with corrugated iron, old signs and stylised junkyard touches to resemble the makeshift bars or 'shebeens' that used to spring up in shacks across South Africa.

lucky star pilchards at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
Lucky Star pilchards - a South African favourite

Upstairs is the dining room - although you can order food and drink downstairs - that offers larger tables. There's a bar up here as well.

hunters gold and savanna dry ciders at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
Hunter's Gold and Savanna Dry ciders $8 each

Somehow I've scored a seat at Billy's supper club tonight, and almost everyone starts off with a South African cider. The Savanna Dry is clear and crisp but there's not much apple flavour to it, perhaps overwhelmed by the traditional wedge of lemon. I'm more of a fan of the Hunter's Gold which is distinctly sweeter.

oom karels biltong dry wors cape fruit and nuts and bhuja mix at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
Oom Karels African platter $19.90

There are several South African beers available (Castle, Black Label and Castle Milk Stout) plus the Windhoek and Windhoek Light from Namibia. And what goes better with beer than biltong - the South African version of beef jerky.

The Oom Karels African platter is like a party platter of nibbles with biltong, chunks of dry wors dried sausage (also known as droëwors), dried fruits and nuts, and a scoopful of Bhuja mix - a popular snack across South Africa.

kakhulu garlic snails at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
 Kakhulu garlic snails $12.90

Garlic snails might seem out of place at first, but it's a dish found in many restaurants in South Africa. The snails here are cooked just so, retaining their tenderness, and we soak up all the remaining garlic butter with the soft fingers of crustless brown bread.

inoksi chicken wings at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
 Inkosi chicken wings $11.90


Inkosi chicken wings yields a pile of six pieces, clustered on greaseproof printed with newsprint. The wings are reasonably spicy and although they're a little messy to eat, the char on them creates a smoky sweetness.

luckys lm prawns at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
 Lucky's LM prawns $16.90

You may as well roll your sleeves up and go broke with the prawns as well. Eat the head and tail if you please, but savour the delicate flesh in the middle, pepped up with garlic and peri peri.

hau chicken livers with peri peri at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
 Hau! chicken livers peri peri $9.90

The chicken livers are probably my favourite dish of the night. Here they're cooked only briefly so it's still soft in the middle, and served in a rich gravy that packs some heat.

luckys bbq pork ribs
 Lucky's BBQ pork rib rack 'n chips $35.90

At $35.90, the full rack of pork ribs is the priciest dish on the menu but its complement of chips should easily tide over even the hungriest bloke. The ribs aren't particularly smoky but the sauce is predictably sticky and almost fruity in sweetness.

bobotie at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
 Bobotie $22.90

We finish up with that South African classic, bobotie, a dish that originated from the local Cape Malay community. It's best described as a kind of meatloaf topped with egg before being baked. Yellow rice and chutney make this a complete meal.

koeksisters dessert at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
Koeksisters $8.50

And dessert? We kick off with koeksisters - pronounced cooksisters - that are deep-fried twists of dough. Derived from the Dutch word koekje for cake, these are quite dense and heavy with a thick syrup glaze that almost makes your teeth hurt from all the sugar.

milk custard at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
Milk custard $8.50

The melktert is a milk custard tart that uses more milk and less egg compared to Chinese or European custard tarts. This creates a lighter milkier tart that is dusted generously with cinnamon. It's also said to have come from the Dutch.

malva pudding at lucky tsotsi south african street food darlinghurst
 Malva pudding $8.50


But the dessert I can't get enough of is the malva pudding. The name malva comes from the Malvasia wine from Madeira which was traditionally served with this Dutch dessert. Today it's particularly popular in Cape Town, South Africa's capital.

The pudding is warm from the oven, spongy in texture and doused liberally with syrup. It reminds me of a British golden syrup pudding.

It's been a wet and miserable night but there's plenty of cheer inside this charming eatery. The staff are friendly with advice if you're unsure on what to order, and you're sure to bump into a couple of homesick ex-pats too.

DSC_5420-1306


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Lucky Tsotsi Shebeen and Bar
245 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8354 1306

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Thursday 5pm - midnight
Friday 12pm - 3pm, then 5pm - midnight
Saturday 4pm - midnight
Sunday 4pm - 10pm


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
South African - Durban Dish, Baulkham Hills
South African - Hurricane's Grill, Bondi Beach
South African - Hurricane's Grill, Darling Harbour
South African - Kelly's Bar and Grill, Bondi Junction

11 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/11/2013 02:41:00 am


11 Comments:

  • At 7/11/2013 5:29 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I would megalove being able to order jerky for dinner. Jerky and malva, please.

     
  • At 7/11/2013 6:53 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    Oh man ribs!!!!! lol I do love chicken liver when done right and this CL dish looks delish!

     
  • At 7/11/2013 10:13 am, OpenID lateraleating.com said…

    Nice addition to the multicultural dining scene in Sydney! Desserts look toothache worthy :)

     
  • At 7/11/2013 10:38 am, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    A group of 25 of us rocked up to this place after a work party...was so much fun. We were loving the springbok shots, and those garlic prawns were amazing for the taste buds after copious amounts of alcohol.

     
  • At 7/11/2013 11:02 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    That platter of biltong et al looks amazing! I could polish that off with a few beers in front of the TV...!

     
  • At 7/11/2013 4:19 pm, Blogger Jarhead said…

    Great review. I've been meaning to check this place out, but haven't got around to it yet. Biltong is so awesome! I've had it a couple of times from the Stanley Street Butchery in St Ives, which is actually a South African butcher. You can get different styles of biltong and flavours too.

     
  • At 7/12/2013 9:20 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    This post makes me question why I've never had South African food. Good question..

     
  • At 7/14/2013 1:17 am, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    Loving the look of everything. The prop girl in me is loving their use of the printed grease proof paper. Once I stopped being transfixed by that....... the food looks amazing.

     
  • At 7/14/2013 4:05 am, Anonymous Marcel said…

    The first time I see real South African food - yumm, this looks delicious, also the newspaper as tissues give a certain gritty style.

     
  • At 7/15/2013 4:05 pm, Anonymous billy @ a table for two said…

    ahhh good times! :) You are our supper group's hand bag now... LOL

     
  • At 7/15/2013 4:05 pm, Anonymous billy @ a table for two said…

    ahhh good times! :) You are our supper group's hand bag now... LOL

     

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