Thursday, November 7, 2013

Super food at Sloppy Sam

Sloppy Sam seems to have been around forever.  We have eaten there for so long we have lost count of the years.  Our children grew up eating the food and hopefully, someday their children will enjoy the same rite of passage

Hooman Saffarian is the owner/chef of this wonderful place.  Of  Persian origin, but as he describes himself, proudly South African, he is the standard bearer of the present incarnation of Sloppy Sam.

But how can we talk about Sloppy Sam without mentioning Strati Constanides, the previous padrone.  

This lovely gentle Greek cooked his way into the hearts of a generation of food lovers.  He cooked for us.  He fussed over us and prepared our favourites and woe-betide anyone who left food on their plates.  In a simple café on the Main Road Sea Point, he and his wife Esmini produced the food we remember with such joy and nostalgia. Greek food at its finest.  When Strati hung up his apron, we all thought that the world would come to an end.  We mourned when he died and filled the obituary columns with tributes.

After a brief hiatus, the torch was passed onto Hooman.  While he pays tribute to Strati's legacy,  he has brought his own skills and love of food and the preparation of food to the legend of Sloppy Sam.   Still echoes of the Greek Sloppy Sam remain, but these have now been extended to include Persian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. 

Sloppy Sam has relocated to 51A Somerset Road Green Point.  It is decorated in a flamboyant mix of all the cultures that it now represents.  A brilliant green neon sign above the front door, leads you into the warm, welcoming interior.  Hooman's open- plan kitchen faces the front door and he greets his regular clientèle like old friends.

The restaurant is on two levels.   Sometimes private parties take over the whole upstairs area.   Persian carpets are draped over the banisters and wooden stands displaying delectable imported Persian food products fill the rooms creating a busy, homey feel.  Persian lamps are lit, a samovar gleams and the business of eating seriously good food is in full swing.

Eugene and I love the food and our only problem is what to choose and what to leave out.  On our last visit, Eugene started with sardines, deep fried and served with lovely warm pita bread.   I had a crisp Greek salad and a bowl of tzatziki, that wonderful Greek yoghurt dip made with cucumber and garlic.   We ordered a bottle of Buitenverwaging Buiten Blanc.   Hooman has a small, solid and reasonably priced  wine list.  You can bring your own if you wish and pay a small corkage charge.   The wine was served beautifully chilled.  The service is attentive,caring and informed.

We cleaned our plates and happily sipped our wine as we waited for our main course.  Eugene had ordered his all time favourite, the Famous Sloppy Sam Lamb.  This is a slow-roasted lamb shank served with roasted vegetables and potatoes.  I had ordered Lamb Roll which is a roasted deboned flank, stuffed with garlic and also served with vegetables and potatoes.  

The Famous Sloppy Sam Lamb lived up to all expectations.  The meat, tender, succulent and falling of the bone.  My Lamb Roll, actually three lamb rolls, crisp and tasty.  The vegetables cooked to perfection.  We just love pita bread and ordered more to dip into the gravy.  Yum!

Desserts next.  Eugene chose Baklava, a wonderful Greek and Turkish pastry.  Layers of butter-drenched phyllo pastry are combined with spices and chopped nuts and covered with a spiced honey-lemon syrup.  This creation was served with toasted almond ice-cream.  As for me, well I don't have a very sweet tooth so I ordered another of my favourite starters, Kufteh, Middle- Eastern style meatballs!  Yes I know it sounds daft, but  for me it was heavenly.  Tiny spicy meatballs made from chopped beef and coriander, which I ate with more tzaziki!

There are so many great options on the menu.  Lamb figures prominently.  Try the absolutely delicious, Abgusht, a slow-cooked Persian lamb stew.  Or the pan-fried sliced lambs liver with onions and mash.  There is the grilled line fish of the day and Hooman's calamari,  a special favourite, for those who are not necessarily huge meat eaters.   There are vegetarian options, mainly among the starters.   One never goes hungry at Sloppy Sam.

The desserts are sweet and delicious and round off the spicy meal perfectly.  After the meal, go and browse through the Persian delights that Hooman imports:  real rose water, not the artificial version one is usually offered, sun dried lime, pickled unripe grapes, pomegranate molasses and much much more.

The restaurant is open for dinner, Monday to Saturday from 6.30 pm.  The kitchen closes at 10.00 pm.  Booking is essential.

Tel:          021-419-2921

Address: 51a Somerset Road Green Point

Eugene and I love eating out and we always pay for ourselves whenever and wherever we go.

Back Chat Eats Out are the dining experiences that Eugene and I have enjoyed and wish to share with you.

They are written purely for pleasure and Back Chat is in no way affiliated to or remunerated by any establishment.

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