Peli Peli Kitchen
BY MIKE PUCKETT
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Peli Peli Kitchen is located just north of I-10 and Campbell Rd. in Southwest Houston. I love ALL that is Peli Peli, believe that! This fast-casual South African fusion restaurant is just as GOOD as their fine dining restaurants. The menu isn’t the same, of course, but Chef Paul has outdone himself again… and I really didn’t think that was possible!
I have been enjoying the South African Fusion cuisine at Peli Peli for a very long time now. When I first had the opportunity to explore the menu at Peli Peli Kitchen… let’s just say I had a grin from ear to ear!
The first thing you notice as you walk through the door is the amazing décor we have all grown to love from this Houston-based restaurant group. The murals on the walls that inspire, art work to walk around and enjoy, unbelievable lighting for that special ambiance and, of course, the best staff in Houston which always greets you with a smile and hugs – if you’re as lucky as me!
I have said it before and I will say it again, Peli Peli is one of the VERY best restaurant groups from top to bottom. Everyone is extremely well trained – and you can tell that everyone who works here loves their job. This can only start from the top!
If you have been following me for any length of time, then you know about my passion for craft beer and cocktails! So, what did we do first when we showed up? That’s right! Enjoyed a Top Texas Craft Beer on tap… “More Cowbell” from Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, to be exact. One of my favorites and it didn’t disappoint as we looked over the menu trying to decide on which goodies we wanted to order. You have to LOVE a fast-casual restaurant where you can still order beer and wine. Smiles.
We showed up with a few friends, as usual. Each one of us ordered something a little different so we could all sample as many menu items as possible. I highly recommend you do the same.
First up was the Peli Peli Signature Rotisserie Chicken paired with a Saint Arnold’s Art Car IPA. Art Car is one of my favorite IPAs and its fruit flavors were a wonderful accent to the spices in the chicken. Perfect match!
Now, let me tell you about the chicken – my mouth is watering just thinking about it! First, the chicken is rubbed with Peli Peli seasoning (to die for, by the way). It is slow roasted for 90 minutes and then set aside to rest for another 30. When they serve it up, the chicken is split and drenched in their sweet and spicy orange glaze – which has notes of citrus zest, peppadew, garlic and just a touch of spice. And, to top it off, the dish is sprinkled with Chef Paul’s Kudu herb blend. You’ve never enjoyed a Rotisserie Chicken quite like this… so moist and juicy and the flavors are extremely robust. I could literally eat this every day. SO GOOD!
The Rotisserie Chicken comes with two sides… quite a meal for sure! This time around, we went for the Mac ‘n Cheese and the Spaghetti Squash.
The Mac ‘n Cheese is strategically built, a house-made sauce with a unique blend of four cheeses -including Monterrey and white cheddar – and garnished with Parmesan bread crumbles. Who doesn’t like Mac ‘n Cheese, right? Well, this bowl of cheesy goodness is a must for me, and the Parmesan bread crumbles were like the cherry on top!
The Spaghetti Squash at Peli Peli Kitchen was a real eye opener. This oven-roasted spaghetti squash is dredged with a generous coating of Peli Peli seasoning, covered with a tasty yellow curry sauce (coconut cream, yellow curry and minced onions) and topped with a mango chutney. I would usually go straight for the collard greens and Mac ‘n Cheese, but this squash side took this succulent chicken dish to another level! I had to order another bowl because there just wasn’t enough to go around. Again, that damn Peli Peli Seasoning had my taste buds in party mode. LOVE!
Another of my favorite menu items here is the Huguenot Pork-Belly. The pork is rubbed with a signature mesquite rub before it gets slowly rendered on the rotisserie. Once the meat has been cooked to perfection, it gets dipped into an incredible Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. Finally, the flavor-packed meat is topped with crispy onions, peppadews, mild blue cheese sauce, apple-wood smoked bacon and cilantro and served on a sweet brioche bun. Is THAT something you would be interested in? Ha! This guy says YES! This sandwich is so rich and savory – the flavors from the peppadews, crispy onions and bacon complement the pork-belly perfectly. This delectable dish is a good example of what they do so right here at Peli Peli Kitchen. Every profile has its purpose and… come to find out… that purpose is to keep me coming back for more. Ha! Seriously.
Now, it was time to dig into the Braised Oxtail I had been hearing so much about. I absolutely love Ox-Tail and this dish at Peli Peli Kitchen was just what the doctor ordered! The Ox-Tail is braised for 4 hours with carrots, onions, celery and rosemary. This marvelous mixture is served on a bed of yellow rice, topped with Chakalaka Sauce (tri-colored bell peppers in a tomato base) and garnished with cilantro. Just look at the photography and see for yourself. Have you ever seen anything like it? Every bite was better than the last and… talk about filling! If you have never enjoyed Ox-Tail, don’t be scared, give it a try and tell them Puckett sent you. Ha!
Ok, so I LOVE desserts, this is not a joke. The Stick Toffee Cheesecake at other Peli Peli locations has to be one of my all-time favorites. When I heard everyone raving about the Sticky Toffee Cupcake… I knew it was something I had to try. This rich, moist cupcake is made with homemade sticky toffee… and you can see by the photography it is no small cupcake! Simply ahhhmazing! So sweet, yet it still has that same fabulous flavor I enjoy so much! I refuse for you to visit Peli Peli Kitchen without finishing your meal with this delectable dessert. I refuse!
Well, I really don’t know what else to say. Whether you’re a local or are just visiting, if you haven’t stopped by to savor the unique South African Fusion concept that Chef Paul and crew have built here at at Peli Peli Kitchen, then shame on you! You might not know exactly what South African Fusion is – and maybe that has kept you from stopping in. But, that is what I am here for! Hopefully, you now know what you’re getting yourself into… SOMETHING SPECIAL. Enjoy!
Good Eats Houston Recommends…
Our signature Rotisserie chicken, rubbed with our Peli Peli seasoning , Slow roasted for 90 minutes and rested for another 30 minutes , as its served the chicken is split and then drenched in our sweet and Spicy Orange glaze ; notes of citrus zest, peppadew s, garlic and just a touch of spice. Finished with Chef Paul’s Kudu herb blend
Served with two sides:
Mac’ and Cheese
House made with a unique blend of four cheeses including Monterrey and white cheddar; garnished with parmesaen bread crumbles
Oven roasted spaghetti squash with a generous coating of Peli Peli seasoning, yellow curry sauce (coconut cream, yellow curry and minced onions) topped with a mango chutney
Paired with: Art Car IPA
American style IPA, Saint Arnold Brewing Compnay
The nose is a blend of apricot and tropical fruit and mango. The taste starts with a big bitter blood orange that morphs into mangos and sweet tropical fruits
Braised for 4 hours with carrots, onions, celery and rosemary. Served over a bed of yellow rice and topped with chakalaka sauce (tri colored bell peppers with a tomato base) garnishd with cilantro
Paired with: Stellekaya Boschetto
Bended Red, Stellekaya Wines
Complex fruity nose, soft tannins making this wine more accessible. Hints of dry red fruits, cherries and spicy finish
Peli Peli Shrimp Taco
(5) grilled shrimp, laid out on Naan, topped with crispy onions, peppadews, mixed greens and finished with a spicy butter cream sauce
Smoked Salmon Taco
Thinly slice smoked salmon, laid out on Naan, complimented by a poached egg, goat cheese and capers
Both Paired with: Polkadraai Chenin Blanc / Sauvignon Blanc
Chenin Blanc / Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch Hills
Star bright with a green undertone. An easy to drink, well balanced blend. The wine is grassy on the nose, but the tropical fruit flavours come through on the palate
Pork belly, rubbed with a signature Mesquite rub, rotesseire fired, slowly rendered and tossed in a raspberry chipotle sauce. Topped with crispy onions, peppadews, mild blue cheese sauce, applewood smoked bacon and cilantro.Sserved on a sweet brioche bun
Afrikin Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders, seasoned with peli peli, crusted with a unique blend of frosted flakes, corn flakes and kettle chips
Serve with a side of:
Seasoned fries, tossed in truffle butter and parsley finished with parmesean cheese
Paired with: Gentleman’s Relish
English Brown Ale, Lone Pint Brewery
Orange nectar with a frothy white head; medium malt body; seriously chocked full of piney-grapefruit flavor and aroma finishing with hints of peach and honey. A hop head’s soused hallucination
Sticky Toffee Cupcake
Rich moist cupcake, homemade sticky toffee
PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKE PUCKETT
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