When the sun starts to set and happy hour is on your mind, there are select places to head for the holy trinity of food, drink, and ambience. Lucky for Miamians, Big Easy Winebar & Grill is one of those places. Every weekday from 4-7pm, the wine bar hosts tourists, newbies, locals, and revelers for $5 draft beers, half-off wines by the glass, and flights of white and red South African varietals for a mere $12. Small bites are a must, too, with the Too Easy Plank offering at a paltry $10 - two items of your choice from the app menu, including Oyster Gazpacho Shots, Pork Belly "Lollipops," Mini Cauliflower Samosas, and more. With an elegant background near the heart of Brickell City Centre, what's not to love?
Media Article Index
"Big Easy Miami Old Fashioned"
Grove Bay Group
"Big Easy Miami Easy Hour"
Grove Bay Group
"30 Things We LOve About Dining Out in Miami"
Dining Out Magazine
"Big Easy Durban shines bright like a diamond at
Diners Club Winelist Awards"
Diners Club International
"South African-Inspired Dishes To Brickell"
"Food Wine and the Big Easy"
"Best New Miami Restaurants of the Year"
The National Culinary Review
"SoFlo hotspots serve up boozy desserts"
7 News Miamai
"The Best Burgers In Town"
Get It Durban
"Miami's only South African Restaurant is Insanely Delicious!"
The Hungry Black Man
"Golf Legend Ernie Els Teams Up with Grove Bay Hospitality on the Big Easy"
Ocean Drive Online
"Upscale South African eats comes to Brickell City Centre"
"Long Overdue ...but worth the wait"
So Suter Bill
"Chefs and Foodies"
"Grand Opening Party"
Dining Out Miami
"No, Not That Big Easy"
The Whet Palette
"Ernie Els Takes SA Cuisine to Miami"
Tee Off South Africa
"Brickel's Newst Showplace"
"The Hottest Restaurants in Miami"
"South African Sensation"
"Four South African-Inspired Dishes"
Miami New Times
"New Restaurants & Bars in Miami"
"Take It (Big) Easy on Inauguration Day"
"Awards 2017 Shortlists Revealed"
Time Out Dubai
"Big Easy Opens in Brickell"
South Florida Online
"14 Best New Restaurants"
"Eat Your Heart Out"
Dining Out Miami
"The journey from South Africa to Miami"
Miami Culianry Tours
"The world is head chef Janine’s Oyster"
GET IT Durban
Biz Community South Africa
"Fine Dining Spots You'll Love"
OK! Middle East
"Capture The Sunshine"
What's Cooking With Ernie?"
"A Hole In One"
Big Easy Miami
Big Easy Local Flavour
"Take An Easy Drink In Durban"
"Els Plans Durban Autism Centre"
9 Super Things To Do This Month
Gulf Family News
Ernie Els Hospitality
Big Easy Dubai
Ernie Els Hospitality
Big Easy Miami - Old Fashioned
Grove Bay Group
Big Easy Miami - Easy Hour
Grove Bay Group
30 Things We Love About Dining Out In Miami
Big Easy Winebar & Grill Easy Hour
Dining Out Magazine, Miami
Big Easy Durban shines bright like a diamond at Diners Club Winelist Awards
Diners Club International
"Big Easy Durban was awarded diamond status in the 2017 Diners Club Winelist Awards. The winners of this year's Diners Club Winelist Awards were announced at a special ceremony, which was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Umhlanga.
Diamond status is the highest accolade in the Diners Club Winelist Awards and entrants should obtain a total score of 91 percent or higher to receive it. The judging panel consists of experts in the restaurant and wine field, reviewers, the media, chefs, as well as members of the South African Sommeliers Association."
Read the full article on BizCommunity.com
Ernie Els’ Big Easy Winebar & Grill Brings South African-Inspired Dishes To Brickell
by Lisa Petrillo
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Ernie Els, the nationally renowned South African golf icon turned winemaker, was affectionately nicknamed “The Big Easy” because of his gentle disposition. So it was natural when Els and his partners at Grovebay Hospitality opened their new South African-inspired eatery at Brickell City Centre that they would name it “Big Easy Winebar & Grill.”
Puerto Rican born chef Cesar Vega holds the reigns in the kitchen.
“African food is spices, textures, it’s everything,” Vega said.
South Africa is famous for their braai, or barbecue, which is typically enjoyed at social gatherings. The space itself lends to that as well. It’s luxury with a homey feel – the design is meant to capture the spirit of the land with furniture and decor from the western cape.
“It’s all about experiences. People are getting it. That’s what I talk to the waiters about – bringing South African experience to the people. They are getting it. They see the open kitchen and they’re getting and it living it,” Vega said.
Big Easy Winebar & Grill is one of many restaurants celebrating in this seasons Miami Spice Program, where top restaurants offer three-course meals priced at $39 per person for dinner and $23 dollars for lunch.
“This is the 16th year for Miami Spice with 200 restaurants participating, every year people get to choose to try every restaurant,” Vega said.
Read the full article on CBSMiami.com
Food Wine and the Big Easy
by Nicola Jenvey
"THIS year’s Mercury Wine Week pays homage to the 165 years the province’s leading morning newspaper has been ensuring citizens begin their day wholly informed of the news.
Raising the bar in innovation and prestige, The Mercury will host an exclusive food and wine pairing dinner on August 29 in the Hilton Hotel’s Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els the night before Mercury Wine Week opens at Greyville Racecourse.
The sumptuous five-course dinner will showcase the talents of the Big Easy Durban’s head chef Janine Fourie with the award-winning Ernie Els Wines performing the ideal backdrop to the culinary sensations.
Born in South Africa, Fourie completed her in-service training as well as her professional chef diploma at the Granger Bay Hotel School in Cape Town. She has spent the past 17 years gaining valuable local and international culinary experience both front and back of house.
At the end of 2002, Fourie travelled to the UK and, inspired and eager to learn, she was overwhelmed by the vast variety of fresh ingredients available.
As a junior sous chef at the Ramada Hotel in Docklands, Fourie worked side-by-side with internationally acclaimed Michelin star Belgian chef Steve Van Remoortel in an experience she describes as one that has enriched her culinary knowledge.
As a leading South African ambassador and one of the most recognisable faces in the world of sport, Ernie Els has long demonstrated a passion for excellence. His focus, discipline and commitment have led to extraordinary golfing success – and these are the same qualities inherent in the wine brand that carries his name.
Ernie Els Wines managing director and winemaker Louis Strydom says through Els’s global travels, he has been exposed to and appreciated some of the world’s greatest wines. In 1999 he decided to pursue his passion for fine wine with the creation of Ernie Els Wines, establishing his flagship investment in Stellenbosch.
The menu for this prestigious dinner has only been served once before – to Els – and demonstrates the fluid interaction between exquisite food and outstanding wines. On arrival guests will be treated to a canapé of baked chie cheese bruschetta with onion and star anise marmalade, rocket salad and cherry tomato served with the Big Easy Chenin Blanc.
This will be followed by a chilled green pea soup with Mozambique prawn salad, langoustine pâté and poached Norwegian salmon paired with Ernie Els Sauvignon Blanc.
Next is Josper smoked duck breast with butter pumpkin curry purée, coriander chickpea fritter and coconut chutney matched with the Big Easy Rosé. This is followed by slow-roasted rolled Karoo lamb loin with apricot and chorizo, balsamic onions, mojo verde and zucchini spaghetti, accompanied by the Proprietor’s Blend (the winery’s blend of Rhône and Bordeaux wines).
Finishing the evening will be a baked red plum and orange tart served with white chocolate rose panna cotta, lime biscotti and vanilla anglaise as the ideal companion to the Big Easy Sweet Spot, a dessert wine worthy of every accolade.
An event not to be missed:
The food and wine pairing dinner takes place on August 29, 2017, 6pm for 6.30pm. Tickets are limited and cost R600 per person, and include the five-course dinner and accompanying wines as well as one entrance ticket to The Mercury Wine Week.
The Mercury Wine Week will be held at Greyville Convention Centre on August 30 and 31 and September 1. It costs R120 per person if purchased in advance by iTickets (opening July 31) or R140 at the door. Wednesday to Friday 5.30pm-8.30pm."
Read the full article on IOL
Best New Miami Restaurants of the Year
By Jennifer Agress
South African food is the star at Big Easy Winebar and Grill, a Brickell City Centre must-visit that’s a partnership between renowned golfer Ernie Els and Miami’s Grove Bay Hospitality Group. The Big Easy Braai is a mixed-grill of South African sausage, top sirloin, double-cut lamb chops and Nigerian prawns. Braai is an Afrikaan word that describes a traditional barbecue where “there are no rules,” executive chef Maryna Frederiksen said. “Fishermen bring fish, farmers bring meat and vegetables, and so on.”
Read the full article on MiamiIndulge.com
The National Culinary Review
By Jody Shee
The basic frank works for the ballpark, but chef-driven restaurants turn hot dogs gourmet.
"A hot dog at the core started as a sausage." says Bret Hessler, corporate chef/director of culinary development for Miami-based Grove Bay Hospitality Group. "Is a hot dog a version of sausage that has evolved? I think (the 'sausage' name) is recognition, revitalization and remembrance of where this all started." The group's Big Easy Winebar & Grill menus Big Easy Boerie Bites -- a small plate of three 3-inch sandwiches with farmers sausage and three separate toppings on soft rolls.
The Meat of The Matter
The packed-in contents are the heart of the dog that chefs love to talk about. Big Easy Boerie Bites are made with South African farmers sausage -- a mixture of pork, lamb and beef with such spices as coriander, paprika and chilies all combined and presented in a lamb casing. They are made as they were in old South African butcher shops, with hand-selected raw materials and no trim, Hessler says. As for the interesting blend of spices, "During World War II, a lot of occupation was going on in Africa, and it left an impression behind. It became the wonderful melting pot of spices from India, Southeast Asia and beyond."
The Boerie Bites play not only to the emerging South African flavor trend, they also address consumers' desire to know where their food comes from, Hessler says. Awareness of this trend is especially important with hot dogs that are normally perceived as unhealthy and probably something we shouldn't eat. "But if we know the source material, we splurge," he adds.
Read the full article on NationalCulinaryReview.com
SoFlo hotspots serve up boozy desserts
7 News Miamai
By Shireen Sandoval
Big Easy Winebar & Grill offers a taste of South Africa in the heart of Brickell. You’ll feel like you’ve gone to Cape Town with the Malva Pudding.
Bret Hessler, Big Easy Winebar & Grill: “This is a very traditional South African dessert.”
Starting with a very traditional ingredient: Amarula liqueur.
Bret Hessler: “And he’s also going to add four ounces of Amarula liqueur, which is a South African liqueur. We warm it back up and serve it with a side of cream on glaze, freshly made whipped cream and fruit.”
Bret Hessler: “Ice cream mixed with a really nice whiskey and either a choice of Kahlua or the Amarula liqueur. It’s a great way to finish your meal here in the heat of Miami.”
Read the full article on WSVN.com
Get It Durban
The Best Burgers In Town
"If there's anything we have to thank the Americans for it's the humble hamburger, which history tells us first appeared in the 19th century as an American meaty sandwich. Well, the burger has come a long way, it's crossed borders globally and has warped into one of the most loved gourmet food choices. We've rounded up some of the best burgers Durbs has to offer.
We like to think of this one a pretty gourmet experience involving a burger and a great place to linger with friends while sipping on a craft beer or colorful cocktail
Meat: A generous helping of local organic prime beef patty.
Bun: The patty sits pretty between two soft and fragrant flour-dused buns.
Toppings: Plum tomatoes, onion marmalade, mature cheddar, bacon and rocket leaves, served with onion rings, 'Big Easy' fries and a trio of relish and sauces.
What's so good about it? It's a mouth-watering, fresh, homemade burger topped with crispy greens, made more indulgent by the sweetness of crunchy onion rings and the sauce on the side. Definitely a winner for a late afternoon, early evening graze with a cold one."
Read the full article on Durban.GetItOnline.co.za
Miami's only South African Restaurant is Insanely Delicious!
The Hungry Black Man
By Starex Smith
"While exploring the new Brickell City Centre with family or friends, you find yourself captivated by an alien, yet inviting aroma. Following your nose to the 3rd floor of this amazing new development, you arrive at the doorstep of Big Easy Wine Bar and Grill – a South African inspired restaurant named after Theodore Ernest Els, a world-renowned golfer who is so big he could easily be on the defensive line for the Miami Dolphins, but he kills it on the green instead. His daughter, executive chef Maryna Frederiksen, known as the “Little Easy” (just kidding) runs this joint with a Charlies Angels line-up of badass women managers, bartenders, and chefs.
I found it refreshing to see a mostly women dominated management team, especially the evening manager Maria, who was straight up one of the most professional, down to earth, and kickass managers I have had the privilege to encounter. I was amazed by her grace, attentiveness, and comprehensive knowledge of the menu and cocktail program. If you visit, be sure to give Maria a shot out for us! Oh, and before I forget, Maria suggested that you order the Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Marmalade ($8) as one of your side items no matter what entree you decide on. She was so freaking right! These babies are crazy good!"
Read the full article on TheHungryBlackMan.com
Get It Durban
Mmmm…. What’s for lunch at the Big Easy?
"Who doesn’t love the luxury of a lunch-time invite to dine as special guests, and be the first to cast eyes upon and indulge in mouth-watering new menu ideas? Well, that’s what we did recently when we were invited to the Big Easy Winebar & Grill Durban by Ernie Els at the Hilton in Durban, to discuss the influence that social media has on capturing our food experiences, as well as sample a few of the new additions that Chef Janine Fourie will be introducing to the menu. And believe us… these are some dishes to die for…"
Read the full article on Durban.GetItOnline.com
Golf Legend Ernie Els Teams Up with Grove Bay Hospitality on the Big Easy
Ocean Drive Online
By Carla Torres
"Grove Bay Hospitality joins forces with golf icon Ernie Els to bring South African cuisine and the Big Easy to Brickell City Centre.
South African pro golfer Ernie Els is easy to love—hence his nickname 'The Big Easy' —due to his imposing physical stature and fluid swing. So when the former world number one-turned-winemaker-turned-restaurateur launched his first wine bar and grill, The Big Easy was a natural moniker choice, especially given that it, too, is easy to love.
After all, what is there to dislike about pork belly popsicles doused in South African mango braai (barbecue) sauce and jalapeño jam 'cowboy candy,' fried green tomatoes crowned with tomato chutney and fried morsels of more pork belly and bacon jam, or a four-hour-braised lamb shank served in a bread bowl? 'That dish has rich history dating back to the 1960s, when Bunny Chow [a South African street rice bowl commonly made with beans and chicken] was the standard blue-collar lunch for South Africans,' says Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen, reflecting on her own heritage. 'We have elevated the bowl with a lamb shank and bread. A lot of love and work goes into it.' ”
Read the full article on OceanDrive.com
Upscale South African eats comes to Brickell City Centre
By Sara Liss
"The who: Big Easy Winebar & Grill is a collaboration between Grove Bay Hospitality Group (Glass and Vine) and Ernie Els – the South African hall of fame golfer (playfully nicknamed 'The Big Easy' for his manner, stature and gentle disposition), who is also award-winning winemaker. Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen, a native South African, heads up the kitchen.
The space: The sprawling space at Brickell City Centre evokes the textures and colors of South Africa with cushy leather chairs, reclaimed wood floors marbled stone, earth-toned fabrics and clay pottery. They all combine to make the space feel like dining in cozy home of a wealthy winemaker."
Read the full article on Miami.com
So Suter Bill
Long overdue ...but worth the wait.
by Billy Suter
"I CANNOT believe almost two years have whizzed by since I attended the official media launch of Durban’s Big Easy restaurant, when I was still arts editor of The Mercury and editing the Goodlife supplement.
It was a fun time spent both in the airy, sophisticated interior and, more so, in the inviting restaurant outside areas, sipping wines and sampling many mini variations of the food conjured for the menu by amiable executive chef Janine Fourie.
It was a wonderful afternoon, and I was every bit as impressed with the food, service and ambiance when I booked a table a few weeks later to treat a friend to a meal there as a 60th birthday treat.
Good news is that on a long-overdue return visit last night (February 15), a lot of my favourite dishes were still on the menu.
The food and service was also still as good as I remember it. And Janine is still there and as bubbly and talented as ever."
Read the full article on SoSuterBill.com
by Chef Janine Fourie
"Chefs and foodies are constantly innovating and reinventing dishes and menus. From the massive helpings of meat-and-three-veg – or comfort food of yesteryear – to the extreme minimalism of nouvelle cuisine… just when you think it's all been done, someone comes up with something new.
South Africa’s food scene is no different with restaurant and food trends constantly changing. Here is a glimpse of what’s cooking at the moment.
A little-known fact for diners is that offal – kidneys, liver, heart, tripe, etc. – has numerous health benefits. Kidneys are loaded with vitamin B12, iron, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and much more. Liver is considered the king of organ meats as it is the most concentrated source of vitamin A and is also packed with iron. Heart is also a plentiful source of several of the B vitamins, as well as thiamine, folate, and zinc. Beef heart contains amino acids (which are thought to improve metabolism – good to know for weight loss) and compounds that promote the production of collagen and elastin (which assist in skin maintenance)."
Read the full article on BizCommunity.com
Big Easy Winebar & Grill Throws
Grand Opening Party
Dining Out Miami
By Jennifer Agress
"Brickell City Centre’s hot, South African haunt, Big Easy Winebar & Grill, may have opened just before Christmas, but earlier this month, it threw a swanky soirée to celebrate. In honor of the night, esteemed guests and venerable foodies noshed on tasty bites by Big Easy Executive Chef and South African native, Maryna Frederiksen–and to wash it all down, sipped on handcrafted cocktails, African beers, and award-winning wines by the restaurant’s concept partner and Hall of Fame international golfer, Ernie Els.
This lavish party, which was hosted in conjunction with Miami Magazine, attracted 200+ guests, including Els himself, as well as two of his golf pals: Michelle Wie and Branden Grace. Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, Francesco Balli, and Eddie Acevedo, of Grove Bay Hospitality Group (the team behind Big Easy Winebar & Grill and two other popular Miami spots, American Harvest and Glass & Vine), also joined the festivities."
Read the full article on DiningOutMiami.com
No, not that Big Easy.
The Whet Palette
"This Big Easy Winebar & Grill comes to Miami from the Western Cape region of South Africa, by Ernie Els (nicknamed Big Easy, for his stature and smooth golf swing) and the Grove Bay Hospitality Group.
Offering a taste of authentic South African cuisine, the restaurant is now open at the shiny and new Brickell City Centre. One look at the menu and I could not wait to dig in. I didn’t know where to start; too many options, too little time. Every category (Tid Bits, Starters, For the Table, Salads, The Grill, Sauces, Sides, Chef’s Butter, Ernie’s Favorites, From the Sea, Chef’s Selections, and of course, Desserts) listed something interesting or that I just had to try. Luckily I’ve visited twice (once via a media invite, and the second time on my own) and have been able to try a good portion of the menu. The wine list features mostly South African wines, including blends from Ernie Els’ own vineyards in Stellenbosch.
Set against a rich earth-toned palette, the restaurant’s effortless and rustic chic decor honors Western Cape: imported furniture, leather banquettes and chairs, rustic wood finishes, carved wood accents, and framed black and white photographs (of Els’ career and travels). Visible from most seats in the main dining area, the open kitchen sits towards the back of the restaurant. The South African native and Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen can be easily spotted supervising and working her way around every station. The hostess, wait-staff, and manager all provided knowledgeable service with a genuine smile both visits. The staff worked nonstop, scurrying here and there without much down time. Napkins were often refolded multiple times when patrons momentarily left the table (a nice touch not often seen at casual restaurants). I also noticed a waiter meticulously rearrange all the placemats on a table until they lined up perfectly centered with each chair. I love attention to such details."
Read the full article on TheWhetPalette.com
Ernie Els takes SA Cuisine to Miami with The Big Easy Winebar & Grill
Tee Off South Africa
"Ernie Els, known as the “Big Easy” in the golfing world, not only goes big when it comes to his golf, but he is also taking the world by storm by sharing his love of South African cuisine.
With a few successful restaurants already situated in Cape Town, Ernie Els took the opportunity to introduce South Africa to Miami through means of food by opening his restaurant “Big Easy Winebar & Grill”. South Africa is known as a country that makes food for the soul and it’s always exciting to see our cuisine enjoyed on an international level. With Executive Chef, Maryna Frederiksen at the forefront of this restaurant, her knowledge of food and SA heritage (born and raise on a farm in South Africa) makes her the perfect person to feed the crowds of Miami!"
Read the full article on TeeOffSouthAfrica.com
Ernie Els wants you to try his steak at Brickell’s newest showplace
by Linda Bladholm
"The Place: The Big Easy Wine Bar & Grill, in the sparkling new Brickell City Centre, opened Dec. 22. Enter to find the Afrikaans word gesellig — meaning a social gathering like a braai (barbecue) with close friends and family — spelled vertically opposite the hostess stand. That’s just what is encouraged here in the relaxed but classy space designed to make it seem like you are in golfer Ernie Els’ living room (more on that later). A communal table sits opposite the open kitchen and wood burning oven, where flames glow and flatbreads are baked. The space is done in earth tones with wood accents, cork decorations on the wall behind a long counter and chandeliers resembling wine barrel rings beaded with small Edison lights. There is also a small covered patio on the mall and a private dining room."
Read the full article on MiamiHerald.com
The Hottest Restaurants in Miami Right Now,
by Olee Fowler
"The South African themed eatery from the guys behind Coconut Grove’s Glass & Vine, boasts a menu of traditional South African fare inspired by investor Golf-icon Ernie Els like boerie bites and the carnivore friendly braai platter, along with more familiar dishes like burgers, lamb chops and couscous risotto."
Read the full article on EaterMiami.com
South African Sensation at
Brickell City Centre
by Jennifer Agress
"From the moment I walked into Big Easy Winebar & Grill inside the new Brickell City Centre, I knew it was going to be a very different kind of Miami experience. Unlike the city's usual, overdone glitz, the restaurant’s earthy, South African-inspired accents give the space a sultry, masculine feel. The space is furnished with rich dark leather seating, marble stone, hardwood tables and industrial-like chandeliers. I felt like I was eating in my friend’s living room. And after all the good meat, seafood and wine, I only wanted to be on a living room couch or in bed. The (wine and) food coma is real."
Once there, I settled into my cozy booth, and at the suggestion of our very attentive waiter, ordered a glass of the restaurant’s signature red blend, the Big Easy 2014 from Stellenbosch, South Africa (which I ordered again and again). The wine is from Ernie Els’ own vineyards located in the Western Cape terroir of South Africa. Many of the region’s influences are found throughout the menu.
'Miami has never really experienced the South African influence of flavors, which lends itself to great opportunity for creativity,' says Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen. A South African native, Chef Maryna has over 20 years of experience working at AAA Five Diamond and James Beard Award-winning dining destinations all over the world. 'The Latin spices that people are used to tasting are presented in an entirely different way. Take our Florida Linefish Ceviche with sweet potato, corn nectar and grilled lime, for example. We’ve taken something that is very well known in Miami and put our own unique twist on it.' "
Read the full article on Digest Miami.com
Four South African-Inspired Dishes to Try at Big Easy Winebar & Grill in Brickell
Miami New Times
by Nicole Danna
"Born and raised on a farm in the Transvaal Province of South Africa, Big Easy Winebar & Grill (Brickell City Centre, 701 S. Miami Ave., Miami) executive chef Maryna Frederiksen has fond memories of her father raising cattle and sheep for the country’s minister and eating vegetables fresh from her family’s garden.
Today, Frederiksen is living her dream through a concept that combines two of her favorite things: authentic South African comfort food influenced by Indian, Malaysian, and European cultures, married with a touch of spicy Nuevo Latino taste, an homage to her new home in Miami.
Last month, Coconut Grove-based Grove Bay Hospitality Group unveiled Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els, a project in partnership with the nationally renowned golfer-turned-winemaker who has been affectionately called 'the Big Easy' for his stature and gentle disposition. The concept's grand opening signals Grove Bay’s leap to downtown Miami following the 2016 debut of chef Giorgio Rapicavoli's Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove.
With cuisine influenced by Dutch, Indian, and English cultures, the Big Easy menu highlights prime cuts of meat and seafood, much of it sourced directly from the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. To pay homage to it all, Frederiksen's menu ranges from small plates dubbed 'Tid Bits' ($6 to $9) and sharing plates 'For the Table' ($10 to $26) to a section naming some of Els' favorite dishes."
Read the full article on MiamiNewTimes.com
New Restaurants and Bars in Miami
"Never mind the New Orleans nickname – this Brickell City Centre spot takes its moniker from Ernie Els, aka 'Big Easy,' and culls culinary inspiration from the golf star's heritage, with fellow native South African Maryna Frederiksen helming the kitchen. Regional wines also take center stage, while reclaimed wood floors, clay pottery and marbled stone accents lend a Western Cape wine country feel."
Read the full article on Zagat.com
Take It (Big) Easy on Inauguration Day
The Hungry Post
by Diana Rodriguez
"Whether or not you’re taking an extended lunch on Friday to watch Trump get sworn in, we know a place that will have its doors open right on time for the opening remarks. It’s the Big Easy Winebar & Grill located inside the newly opened Brickell City Centre. With flat screen TVs surrounding every side of their large bar, we just hope you can find a seat before Donald’s parade begins.
Bringing South Africa to Miami, the cuisine at Big Easy is filled with chili sauces, chutneys, smoky flavors and lots of spiced meats from their grill. We recommend you start with the Pork Belly “Popsicles” in case you plan on staying (or drinking) long. The pork belly is sweet and savory with a crunchy top and meaty center.
In case that vegan friend from the office tags along, make them happy with the Mini Cauliflower Samosas. Their center is a soft, roasted cauliflower mash paired with green chutney on the side. The crispy pastry is one for the win."
Read the full article on HungryPost.com
Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2017 Shortlists Revealed
by Time Out Dubai staff
"It is time for Time Out Dubai to reveal the names of the very best restaurants in the emirate.
Our team of reviewers has spent the past year eating at hundreds of restaurants anonymously and paying for their meals. It means we can give you an honest and truthful opinion on the city’s bars, cafés and restaurants as well as its brunches, afternoon teas and breakfasts without any outside influence whatsoever.
Below are the shortlists in each category, chosen by our culinary experts based on their experiences. There have been no nominations and there is no public vote."
Top 10 Steakhouses
1 Center Cut, The Ritz-Carlton DIFC
2 Gaucho, DIFC
3 J&G Steakhouse, The St. Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor City
4 JW’s Steakhouse, JW Marriott Hotel Dubai
5 Nusr-Et, Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Dubai Resort at Jumeirah Beach
6 Prime 68, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai
7 Seafire, Atlantis the Palm
8 Big Easy Bar & Grill, Els Club Dubai
9 The Grand Grill - Steakhouse Dubai, The Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection
10 The Rib Room, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
Read the full article on TimeOutDubai.com
Ernie Els' Big Easy restaurant
opens in Brickell
South Florida Online
by Susan Bryant
"The owners of Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove have partnered with this small international chain, coined after golf star Ernie Els’ nickname, to introduce the first U.S. outpost on the third floor of Brickell City Centre.
The cuisine is South African — the homeland of Els and the chain. Executive chef Maryna Frederiksen grew up on a farm there.
'Since Miami-Latin-inspired cuisine lends itself to spice and flavor, it was easy to bring my South African dishes without changing them too much,' she says.
She crafts bone marrow with oyster and curry sabayon ($9), Angry Duck Curry ($22), grilled Nigerian prawns ($38) and Cape Malay Seafood Pot ($46). Seven blended butters ($3) and six sauces, such as braai barbecue, enhance meats such as bison rib-eye ($45).
The theme extends to her family’s Cape-Dutch malva pudding ($10), cocktails ($10-$14), such as Rooibos Copper Cup with vodka, and Ernie Els Wines.
Lunch and dinner are served daily, plus Sunday brunch, amid furniture and decor from the Western Cape with tufted banquettes, reclaimed wood, cork artwork, chandeliers mimicking wine-barrel hoops and a wine-bottle-shaped, hammered-copper gas oven in the elbow of the open kitchen.
Read the full article on SouthFlorida.com
The 14 Best New Restaurant
Openings to Check Out
by Devra Ferst
"Big Easy Winebar & Grill: Transport yourself to South Africa at Big Easy (named for golf star Ernie Els). The menu spans duck curry, grilled Nigerian prawns and steaks, which are served with a choice of butters like Miami spice with citrus, cumin and ancho chile, and Durban spice with annatto, jaggery cane sugar and turmeric."
Read the full article on TastingTable.com
Eat Your Heart Out at
Big Easy Winebar & Grill
Dining Out Miami
by Jennifer Agress
As if Downtown Miami’s dazzling Brickell City Centre wasn’t exciting enough already, now, it has a new restaurant that Miami’s finest have been eager to try. Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els, Miami’s only option for haute, authentic South African cuisine, opened to the public right before Christmas, marking the first project in Downtown Miami by Grove Bay Hospitality Group–the restaurant firm behind both Big Easy and earlier this year, Giorgio Rapicavoli’s acclaimed Coconut Grove spot, Glass & Vine.
Named after Ernie Els, a restaurant partner, golf icon and winemaker affectionately known as “The Big Easy,” this casual and sophisticated spot focuses on the flavors of the Western Cape region of South Africa. And staying true to its theme, Grove Bay Hospitality Group even tapped Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen, a native South African with more than two decades of experience as a chef at AAA Five Diamond and James Beard Award-winning restaurants, to lead the kitchen.
Read the full article on DiningOut.com
South Africa to Miami
Watch our partners at Grove Hospitality, in this video journey, as they bring Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els to Miami's Brickell City Centre.
Big Easy Winebar & Grill and American Harvest Opening at Brickell City Centre
Miami Culinary Tours
by Debbie Stoeva
On Thursday, December 22, 2016, Coconut Grove-based restaurant firm Grove Bay Hospitality Group will debut their highly anticipated new restaurant concepts – Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els and American Harvest at downtown Miami’s ambitious new mixed-use space, Brickell City Centre. The concepts’ grand opening signals Grove Bay’s leap to downtown Miami – in early 2016 they debuted the highly acclaimed Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove with acclaimed Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli – and more in-the-works in the new year, including Stiltsville Fish Bar in Sunset Harbour with famed duo Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth.
Locals and tourists alike will be able to experience the flavors of the Western Cape region of South Africa at Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els. The restaurant is a project in partnership with the nationally renowned golf icon turned winemaker affectionately nicknamed “The Big Easy” for his manner, stature and gentle disposition.
Read the full article on MiamiCulinaryTours.com
GET IT Duban
The world is head chef Janine’s Oyster
Food & Wine
Head Chef, Janine Fourie – has travelled the world and cooked and tasted a multitude of meals in the nearly 20 years of her culinary career.
“London made the biggest impression on me,” Chef Janine says. “It is such a cosmopolitan city. I moved there just after I graduated and thought I knew a lot about food and cooking – but realized I didn’t!"
“Meeting and interacting with other nationalities completely changed my perspective on what international food is all about."
Chef Janine has worked in Nigeria (where she tasted cane-rat stew), the Maldives and Cambodia (where she ate crickets!). She has also visited countries in Asia, South America, Europe and even Antarctica during three years working aboard a luxury cruise liner.
“Another very odd delicacy I tasted was Balut (a developing chicken embryo which is boiled and eaten from the shell) in the Philippines!”
As Big Easy Durban approaches its first anniversary in October, the bubbly chef reflects on the past 12 months.
“While compiling the new seasonal menu I was looking back at our first menu and remembering how the restaurant started off as just an empty shell – it is fascinating how it has evolved."
“I believe our approach to food – keeping it simple and pure, in a homely and inviting ambience – is what makes The Big Easy so unique. Also the input we receive from Ernie Els himself – he is modest and down-to-earth and I think that comes across in the restaurant’s vibe.”
Although the firm favourites remain on the menu, Chef Janine has introduced eleven new dishes, all of which embody elements of Spring.
“I’ve kept things light and fresh and created dishes with a combination of flavours – to add a different approach to the way one thinks about food. A ‘light’ meal doesn’t always have to be fish with salad.”
Being innovative was another inspiration for the new menu ...
Read the full article on GET IT Duban
The Big Easy Durban Chef Dishes on Seasonal Produce
South African Restaurant News
Head chef of The Big Easy Durban Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els, located in the Hilton Durban, Janine Fourie says "Veggies should be colourful and crunchy on the plate and say 'Eat me!'" She advises that one should make the very best of fruit and vegetables in season.
“Not only will the produce be fresher than any other time of the year (when it may have been in cold-storage for a while) but also be far more affordable. Brighten up your meals by incorporating fresh, vibrant and colourful foods to boost the soul, mood, and system – an easy winter booster!”
Chef Fourie explains how she plans her menus around what produce is in season, the climate and diners’ preferences. “On cool, gloomy days I create a hearty meal to add to the menu. In spring and summer, I find there is a demand for lighter dishes. Events - like the recent Euro football championships - are also deciding factors when compiling the list of specials.”
Although farmers’ markets where one can shop for veggies straight from the farm are popular in the northern hemisphere, “they are not as prevalent in and around Durban. The Shongweni Market is probably the most well-known with the locals. The challenge in sourcing from an individual farmer on a small scale is whether they can provide the quantities required by The Big Easy Durban.”
Chef Fourie explored the province thoroughly before securing her preferred suppliers – most of them being in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands area. “We obtain our top-quality beef from Hope Meats, Wayfarer Trout supplies the very best cold smoked trout (which is ideal for salads) and Gourmet Greek provides delicious cheeses and to-die-for yogurt.”
Although meat and steak dishes are still the most popular choices on the menu (80%-90%), the vegetable does feature more predominantly now than it used to as a standard side dish of predictable creamed spinach, peas, and carrots. “Veggies should complement every meal!” says Chef Fourie.
Read the full article on Biz Community South Africa
Fine dining spots you'll love
Reviewed by Gemma White
OK! Middle East
BIG EASY BAR AND GRILL
THE ELS CLUB
WHAT IS IT: Casual, laidback dining in a classic steakhouse setting.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Boy, did I learn a lot dining at The Big Easy Bar and Grill. First up, that Ernie Els’the South African golfing legend behind the club nickname is ‘The Big Easy’, hence the restaurant’s name. Yes, golf fans might be rolling their eyes at me right now, but I didn’t know. Secondly, I learnt a ton about steaks and grapes from the gregarious restaurant manager, Tobias, who was quite the most enthusiastic, sociable and knowledgable man I have ever come across. If Tobias ever has a dinner party, I want to be invited!
With its dark, wood-panelled décor, the Big Easy Bar and Grill sets a laid back tone as an eatery, and on the Thursday night we went, the place was Filled with family groups, couples and golfers grabbing a bite post-game. The menu is unpretentious, and deceptively simple, and we got stuck right into starters of baked brie, snoek and crab cakes, and seared scallops – that’s right, three starters between the two of us, we were hungry! The juicy and tender scallops came wrapped in duck prosciutto and cooked in butter and herbs and saffron aioli, while the hearty pan-seared crab cakes were complemented with a corn and spiced mango cilantro sauce. The brie was huge, oozing out onto the plate with each cut, to be smeared on the crusty baguette and topped with blackberries. Elsewhere on the menu, you’ll find plenty of South African classics which have become global favourites - including Boerwores in a thick tomato onion stew and Bobotie samosas with banana chutney and coconut shavings.
For mains, there are plenty of seafood options, such as grilled jumbo prawns, pan seared sea bass and Norwegian salmon steak, and meats are well represented with the cinnamon and spice flavoured lamb stew in baked Portuguese bread, New Zealand red deer fillet and the intriguingly named angry duck curry that we’re definitely going to try next time. But, c’mon, it’s a Thursday night, we wanted to have steak, Tobias wanted us to have steak… Heck, probably even Mr. Els wanted us to have steak – we were going to have steak!
We highly recommend the steaks in this laidback eatery, and for dessert, the warm apple pie (below)
I opted for the 8oz U.S. beef grilled tenderloin, while my husband went for the 12oz South African rib-eye, along with the suggested beverages to accompany. For our choice of sides, we went big, we did not go home, and got stuck into the aptly named mother of all baked potatoes, Big Easy fries, sautéed baby spinach, mushrooms sautéed in cream and seasoned with fresh herbs and steamed broccoli. Does it sound like we over-ordered? Well, the joke is on you, because we polished off the lot! The steaks were delicious – tender, juicy, cooked to perfection – while the sides were super-generous (the potato could easily pass for a starter) and super-tasty. It’s also worth noting here that we were very impressed with the quality of the kids’ menu which featured options that were not only healthy, but also a veritable taste exploration for little ones, with a 3oz fillet mignon, salmon fillet with green beans and grilled chicken with broccoli among others. As a mum who hides the fries from my kids, I really appreciated the options.
Where were we? Ah, yes, dessert, which I had to tackle alone due to husband’s aforementioned 12oz steak. I chose the warm apple pie because the description contained two of my three dessert trigger words – ‘caramel’ and ‘fudge’ (the other is ‘toffee’ if you’re taking notes). Of course, it was delish, with apple both soft and crunchy, and generous drizzles of caramel cinnamon fudge, making for a brilliantly sweet end to a relaxed and fun meal.
WHAT TO WEAR: Keep things smart-casual.
WHO TO TAKE: Friends and family, the little ones, your man… Big Easy Bar and Grill is perfect for all.
Capture The Sunshine
A visit with Ernie Els' winemaker offers a lesson in South African wines
- just as it did for Els 16 years ago.
by Mike McAllister
STELLENBOSCH, South Africa – A light haze caresses the Helderberg Mountain, which looms behind Louis Strydom's right shoulder as he pours one of his creations into a long-stemmed crystal glass. Shade from the oversized umbrella provides much-needed relief from a challenging hot summer day in South Africa’s Cape Winelands region. The cool False Bay breeze that extends the ripening period has yet to announce its presence.
In Afrikaans, Helderberg means “clear mountain" and now, while sitting in its foothills, you understand why. The setting on the back patio at the Ernie Els Winery is spectacular, one of those life-is-good moments.
On the table in front of Strydom are a variety of wine bottles, a mid-afternoon taste testing ready to begin. It’s not unlike the scene 16 years earlier when Strydom – an award-winning winemaker – first explored the palate of his country’s top professional golfer.
When Els decided in 1999 to enter the wine business, he asked Strydom to join his project. Priority No. 1 was choosing the wine they wanted to make. Potentially, this was a problem, since Els was no wine expert. He grew up in Johannesburg, in the Highveld, a grassy plateau through South Africa’s interior. Big city. No vineyards.
“They only drink brandy and Coke there,” Strydom says with a laugh. “They don’t drink any wine.”
Els’ dad, in fact, didn’t drink alcohol at all, and didn’t allow any in the house. Els’ interest in wine only took off in the early ‘90s after he met his future wife Liesl, who grew up in Stellenbosch. But while he now enjoyed a glass, he couldn’t tell you why. And that’s what he told Strydom that day.
No worries, replied Strydom. “You don’t have to know anything about wines to know what you enjoy.”
He then set aside five bottles, each one placed inside an unmarked bottle-store paper bag. This would be a blind taste test. Strydom didn’t want anything – the grape, the color, the label -- to influence Els. The only thing that mattered was taste.
“What the hell am I tasting here?” Els asked, still feeling out of his element.
“Just tell me. Just talk to me,” responded Strydom.
Els remained unsure. These guys with the oakey and the smokey and all this, he laughed to himself.
“Listen,” he told Strydom. “I’m not gonna tell you what I’m smelling or tasting. I’m just gonna tell you what I like."
So he did. A sip from the first bottle. The second. Third. Fourth. Fifth. It was that fifth and final bottle he enjoyed the most -- a classic Bordeaux-style blend with five varietals.
Strydom then went to work.
Ernie Els Winery, Stellenbosch
A year later, the Ernie Els Signature wine was introduced, utilizing those five varietals – 62 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Merlot, 5 percent Petit Verdot, 4 percent Cabernet Franc and 4 percent Malbec. It was an immediate success, akin to a golfer making his pro debut by winning The Open Championship. Wine Spectator gave it 93 out of 100 – no South African red wine had ever been rated that high.
Since then, the Ernie Els Signature has annually received 90-plus points for every vintage. Platter’s Wine Guide, the country’s top wine annual, has given it 5 stars on four occasions. It continues to set the tone for all of Els’ wines each year – a high-end product that consumers will appreciate and enjoy.
“I trust him – and I did trust him back then – so I knew he would come up with a good product,” Els says of Strydom. “He just wanted to see what I liked. I’m glad that first meeting went well.”
When it was released, the 2000 Signature sold for R450 in South Africa. At the current exchange rate, that’s just over $31 in U.S. dollars. If you’re a wine connoisseur, you’re probably not flinching at that price. But 16 years ago ...
“It was the most expensive wine in South Africa,” Strydom says. “And it came out of a brown paper bag.”
Read the full article on PGATOUR.com
What’s cooking with Ernie?
Durban - Billy Suter talks to golfing great Ernie Els, owner of Durban’s popular Big Easy restaurant at the Hilton Hotel. Where he talks about his food and drink likes and dislikes, and what he gets up to in the kitchen.
What meal is your favourite - and what is your least favourite?
My favourite meal is steak. Least favourite? That’s a bit trickier because I like most things. I’d say anchovies. I definitely avoid those.
What is your first food memory?
My mom’s home cooking, specifically her oxtail. They’re happy memories. My brother Dirk and I used to eat so much when we were growing up that she almost couldn’t make the plates big enough.
As a child did you ever develop a taste for unusual foods or unusual combinations of foods?
I used to love scrambled eggs on toast with a blob of strawberry jam on the top.
What’s the first thing you ever cooked?
Choppies on the braai - very happy memories. Thinking about it, not much has changed since then.
What is the dish you tend to cook most often?
Steak on a braai. As I said, that’s my favourite meal in the world.
What do you like and/or dislike about attending dinner parties?
I’m okay with dinner parties. Obviously, you want a nice crowd in there and to have a bit of fun. If it gets real quiet, I’m not so keen on that.
What has been your biggest kitchen disaster?
There have been a few, but I’ve learnt my strengths and my limitations, so you’ll only find me in charge of the braai these days.
What has been your biggest culinary success?
You won’t be surprised to hear that all my culinary successes have me standing at the braai. It’s something I enjoy doing, cooking for the family or for my buddies; enjoying a few beers or a bottle of quality red wine. That’s the good life, man.
How serious a wine fundi are you, and what is your favourite tipple?
I’m very serious about my wine; it’s a passion of mine and, of course, also a serious business for me.
We’re producing some wonderful wines at Ernie Els Wines in Stellenbosch and that’s always my go-to choice, especially our signature wine, a Bordeaux-style blend based on cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
We’ve won quite a few awards with that one. If I had to choose something else, it would be a top-quality red wine from the Napa Valley in California.
What kitchen utensil can you simply not live without?
A steak knife … but you probably guessed that already!
What’s the most kitsch thing in your kitchen?
Not really my department, but honestly I don’t think my wife, Liezl, does kitsch.
What are some foods you simply refuse to try?
None. I’ll try any food once.
What is your favourite restaurant in Durban and what do you usually order there?
The Big Easy Winebar & Grill, obviously. We pride ourselves on the quality of the steaks. I’ll take the “Big Easy” burger any day, as well. That always hits the spot.
Fave cooking ingredient?
What marks the most memorable meal you’ve had?
That’s a tough question. Travelling as much as I have these past 25 years I’ve been fortunate to enjoy just about every cuisine under the sun, beautiful food from all around the world. It’s one of the biggest perks of the job we do.
Who is your favourite celebrity cook?
Don’t have one … but one of my favourite restaurants is in the US - the Key Grill in Palm Beach, Florida. They make a spectacular grilled Chilean sea bass, with sauces on the side.
What do you rate as the sexiest of all foods?
They say oysters, don’t they? I’m not really a fan, to be honest.
What do you tip in restaurants?
I’m a good tipper. I really dislike meanness.
Have you/would you send a dish back at a restaurant if you were not happy with it?
It would have to be pretty bad, but yes I’d send something back, or maybe just order something else. I wouldn’t make a big deal of it. Anything with anchovies would definitely go back, though.
I would have to go for chocolate ice cream.
Read the full article on IOL
"A Hole In One"
International Golf star Ernie Els launches his Big Easy Winebar & Grill, at the Hilton Durban hotel
"Els, who jetted in from Johannesburg between tournaments, moved easily amongst the crowd, excited to have him in South Africa's coastal city of Durban, bumping into old friends and chatting to guests at the party, many of who couldn't resist the opportunity of a "selfie" with the sporting icon.
Although the restaurant has been operational for three months, this was the first time Els had seen the final product...giving it his "stamp of approval," during his speech to the gathered audience.
He also praised the vision and innovation of the various partners involved in the project; the Hilton Hotel Group, the design team of Therese Virserius and the restaurant opening team.
With Head Chef, Janine Fourie at the helm, the restaurant's culinary emphasis is on fresh, locally sourced produce, free range and organic meat and fresh seafood. With a commitment to farm-to-table delivery, the menu is a taste sensation from across the nation, delivered to perfection. The Big Easy serves a fresh, seasonally driven menu, sourcing ingredients and produce from artisan suppliers and featuring classic dishes, authentic local specialties and Ernie's personal favorites.
Alongside Ernie Els signature wines, the bar is stocked with an extensive collection of selected quality wines, many of which are available by the glass, and feature up and coming wine-makers. Wine aficionados will also be able to enjoy the entire Ernie Els collection, comprising 10 wines, as well as Ernie Els Vintage wines from 2002 and 2006.
To complement the wine selection, a comprehensive portfolio of local craft beer, fine whiskeys, cognacs and cocktails is available, ensuring that there is something for everyone. Sommelier, Eric Botha is on hand to add his considerable knowledge and advice to the dining experience.
The interior of the restaurant focuses on comfort, with a contemporary South African aesthetic. The Chefs Table and tastefully appointed Private Dining Room are welcome additions, to the usual restaurant layout.
A lounge, with large screen TV monitors, for watching...golf (and other sporting events) and a large Bar with an impressive wine bottle display forming a dramatic floor to ceiling backdrop, dominates the space at the east end, while the dining area, looking onto the large Open Kitchen, is unobtrusively cordoned off by the "bottle wall."
The Els influence can be seen throughout with many personal touches, including custom-made furniture and a feature wall filled with memorabilia, replica trophies and images giving the venue a homely ambiance; while in the Private Dining Room, guests have the opportunity to sit down in comfortable style, as if in the company of "The Big Easy" himself.
Outside, the stylish Terrace is ideal for al fresco dining and chilling. A foliage wall, as well as locally sourced furniture and accents, honors South Africa's rich artistic heritage and natural beauty.
Over the coming months Big Easy Winebar & Grill will be introducing Sunday Jazz Sessions, regular events and wining and dining specials. "
Read the full article on Beijing Reveiw
"Nine More Restaurants Announced For Upcoming Brickell City Centre"
"Uless you've been living under a rock, you're well aware that the behemoth Brickell City Centre is close to opening its doors. The billion dollar project in the middle of — you guessed it — Brickell, will feature 500,000-square-feet of retail and restaurant space.
Yesterday, nine new restaurant concepts were announced to a lineup that already include Pubelly Sushi, Pasion del Cielo and Uruguayan restaurant Quinto La Huella. Those restaurants coming to City Centre include mall staple like Häagen-Dazs (naturally), juice bar concept Dr. SMOOD, French bakery Calissons du Roy René, lobster roll creator Luke's Lobster, South African "lifestyle" restaurant Big Easy Winebar & Grill, along with an American Harvest, DAVIDsTEA, Santa Fe and Taco Chic. No final opening date has been announced. Stay tuned for more updates."
Read the full article on Eater Miami
"Big Easy Local Flavour"
Omeshnie Naidoo chatted to Swedish interior designer Therese Virserius, responsible for the look and feel of the Big Easy by Ernie Els, which was christened by the golfing legend himself at the Hilton Druban recently.
Hauled into a minibus taxi with kitchen staff, interior designer Therese Virserius went on a six-week adventure around South Africa, absorbing local culture, before she could begin work on the Big Easy restaurant at the Hilton Durban.
Commissioned by South African golfer, Ernie Els, (dubbed the "Big Easy" for his tall stature and fluid swing) the winebar and grill is the second in a series of global franchise restaurants being designed by Virserius.
Taking her cue from the longstanding Big Easy in Stellenbosch she designed the Big Easy Malaysia, Durban and is busy working on Miami.
Virserius is a global citizen, who, apart from the privilege of a round-trip across the country, understands the dynamics of creating a world-class venue with a distinctly local brand identity.
Born in Sweden and having lived everywhere from Europe to China, she has two studios (www.virseriusstudio.com) - one in Paris and one in New York. She's worked extensively in Las Vegas, on projects such as the 12 billion dollar CityCentre Las Vegas.
Speaking from the Big Easy at the Hilton Durban, where it is located, she said creating a global brand was all about submerging yourself in local culture, developing an overall impression and then interpreting it.
"I saw a great deal of the landscape and people and found it earth, rustic and layered,” said Virserius.
“As a foreigner when you think of South Africa you think of a safari and animal print, but I wanted to steer clear of cliché. Instead, with leather being so easily accessible and favoured by Els, I chose to incorporate it into the furniture, which we had locally manufactured.
"There are leather armchairs, sofas and bar stools as we've varied the settings. "We've even used cane, but interpreted it in a very contemporary way.
"I like to think of a restaurant as a stage set and then aim to create different scenarios for the different players -it helps make each visit unique and helps create different moments."
She said layers were other important elements in design for her. The shell of casual screed floors and rustic brick walls is layered with bamboo and rope ceilings; there are rugs, cushions an other accents too.
The final element in her design philosophy is the unexpected. The restaurant has numerous "rooms" or private spots, divided by "wine walls" or other "screens". The result is a surprise at every turn, perhaps, a chandelier made from wine bottles or wall art made from bottle corks. "If a space is not layered or interesting, it can get boring very quickly, my advice to any aspirant decorator is to avoid flat decor schemes," she said.
"Even if your space is rustic, such as the restaurant with its hammered copper bar and loads of wood, juxtapose it with something sleek, such as the misty glass light fittings we have used." So layer, create moments and aim for the unexpected.
"Take an easy drink in Durban"
"Durban - Big Easy Durban by Ernie Els, is a new winebar and grill at Hilton Durban. Inspired by Ernie Els’s sporting passion and love of his homeland it echoes his effortless, casual style.
The new restaurant is unpretentious, yet sophisticated, and brings together great food, amazing decor and a laid-back vibe.
With a commitment to farm-to-table delivery, the menu is fresh and seasonally-driven with ingredients and produce sourced from artisan suppliers and featuring classic dishes.
Inside, the restaurant features a chef’s table, open kitchen, private dining area, memorabilia wall and large bar. Outside, the Terrace has an upper and lower deck for alfresco dining and cocktails and a retail shop stocking wine and other memorabilia.
Alongside the Ernie Els signature wines, is an extensive collection of selected quality wines, many of which will be available by the glass, featuring up and coming wine-makers. Wine aficionados will be able to enjoy the entire Ernie Els collection comprising 10 wines, as well as Ernie Els Vintage wines.
To complement the wine selection, a comprehensive portfolio of local craft beer, fine whiskys, cognacs and cocktails is available.
Sommelier Eric Botha said all their wines were enjoyable on their own and were even more satisfying when paired with one of Head Chef, Janine Fourie’s dishes.
He worked closely with Louis Strydom from Ernie Els wines to personally select everything for Big Easy Durban. Here are his favourites:
for easy drinking, and doesn’t need to be paired with food.
a perfect bubbly, perfect for any time anywhere.
a versatile wine that can be paired with almost every one of the dishes on our menu.
His Valentine’s Day selection is the Big Easy Rose, with hints of strawberry."
Read the full article on IOL - South Africa's Premier Online News Source
"Els Plans Durban Autism Centre"
Durban - Durban was likely to get a branch of Ernie Els’s American-based Centre for Excellence for children with autism, the iconic golfing star said on Wednesday.
Els’s son, Ben, born with autism, and Els and his wife, Liezl, have spearheaded the fundraising for the game-changing $35 million (R210m) Centre of Excellence in Florida.
Fundraising from golfing events had also taken place in South Africa for a similar centre for some three years, Els said on Wednesday before officially launching his Big Easy Restaurant at the Hilton Hotel.
The plan was to first start a school in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
It would be a satellite of the American Centre of Excellence, which opened in August.
“We have got to get the right site and maybe renovate an old house or build a school from scratch.
“We are going to need a couple of schools as this (autism) is becoming big.” And that could include Durban, he said.
The American centre was one-of-a-kind and included several features to aid research.
It also included a small par-3 golf course, which had just been finished, he said.
Earlier, Els posed for pictures with Chris Beukes, who won the inaugural Hilton Golf Classic last year, held to raise funds for Els’s South African autism project.
Els welcomed some of his own heroes to Wednesday night’s event, singling out rugby legends John Smit, Butch James and Stefan Terblanche.
He told the other local movers and shakers that: “I am golf and I got into the wine business by accident… and that has morphed into the restaurant.”
The Ernie Els Wines started about 16 years ago and his winemaster and maker, Louis Strydom, was on hand to explain how it all started and how the business expanded.
Read the full article on IOL - South Africa's Premier Online News Source
"9 Super Things To Do This Month"
The Big Easy Friday brunch is definitely among the top brunches in town if you’re looking for some good meats. You pick your meat and the chef grills it exactly the way you like it. The restaurant has a large terrace that overlooks the Ernie Ells golf course, so brunching outdoors in winter will be a treat. The variety of food is a good, but not over-the-top to leave you confused; from a Sunday Roast with Yorkshire pudding and South African Boerewors to live Thai cooking stations and a counter with fresh seafood to pick from, you’d be spoilt for choice. They’ve even got several vegetarian options, though meat is the main focus here. There's also a supervised kids area which includes a special buffet, entertainment zone with movies, popcorn and the ever popular face painting.
The new Big Easy Winebar & Grill at Hilton Durban is due to open in October 2015.
Echoing Els’ unique and easy style, Big Easy Winebar & Grill is unpretentious, comfortable and fun, the place to be among friends. It’s Farm-to-table, seasonally driven menu offers a combination of fresh from the grill food, local specialties and Ernie’s personal favorites, inspired by the cultural crossroads of South Africa. Alongside Ernie Els signature wines will be an extensive wine by the glass offering, featuring up and coming wine-makers.
Big Easy Winebar & Grill is located in a prominent location just off the lobby of Hilton Durban and also directly accessible from the Durban Convention Centre plaza. The Els influence can be seen throughout with the many personal touches that have been introduced. The Lounge area is stocked with wines from Ernie Els Wines portfolio and showcases a feature wall filled with golfing memorabilia, replica trophies and action images from Ernie’s 70-plus professional tournament victories; while in the Private Dining Room diners have the opportunity to enjoy a more intimate, yet still comfortable environment. The addition of Big Easy Winebar & Grill is expected to bring a resurgence of energy to the popular property, currently the only five star hotel in Durban’s CBD.
Earning his nickname ‘Big Easy’ as much for his effortless golf swing as for his big heart and philanthropic efforts, Ernie Els is synonymous with all-round excellence; pursuing the best in sports and leisure, while always staying true to his love of family and country.
“Having travelled the world and dined out literally thousands of times, I understand the essence of what makes a great restaurant. It has to have warm hospitality and a fun, relaxed environment – somewhere to enjoy spending time with friends and family over a great bottle of wine and a meal,” says Els. “The ethos behind Big Easy Winebar & Grill is to provide all of those qualities. This really is my kind of restaurant in every sense.”
Els goes on to say, “We are excited to be part of one of the world’s most iconic hotel brands through this partnership with Hilton and Durban offers the perfect launching-pad, with its laid-back vibe and idyllic weather. It’s a great fit.”
Simon Lazarus, vice president of food and beverage, EMEA at Hilton Worldwide, said, “At Hilton we have a passion for excellence in food and drink and have been creating amazing memories for our guests for nearly a century. We are always exploring ways to create new experiences and finding great partners who share our vision, while also being authentic to the local destination. In Ernie Els and his team, with the creation of Big Easy Winebar & Grill, we believe we have a winning combination for Hilton Durban, bringing something entirely new to the city.”
Executive chef Janine Fourie and sommelier Eric Botha have been handpicked to run the restaurant. Chef Fourie, who completed her professional chef diploma at the Granger Bay Hotel School in Cape Town, brings 16 years of local and international experience to her new position, most recently as Executive Chef at Knai Bang Chatt, a boutique hotel in Cambodia and aboard the Relais & Chateaux luxury cruise-liner, Worldwide.
Sommelier, Eric Botha, was mentored by well-known wine selector, Allan Mullins and has numerous Cape Wine Academy courses to his credit. Throughout the past 10 years he has gained valuable experience at The Vineyard, Singita Game Reserve and ‘Maze’ at The One & Only. Most recently Eric has held Sommelier positions at Bel Punto and The Oyster Box in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as consulting to The Chairman.
While the focus is on comfort, and creating a ‘home from home’ ambiance, the culinary emphasis will be on fresh, locally sourced produce, free range and organic meat and fresh seafood, with the restaurant open for lunch and dinner daily. The wine list, includes Ernie Els wines, and a selection of the best of the rest South Africa has to offer, as well as a local craft beer selection, the finest whiskeys, cognacs and cocktails.
The Big Easy project at Hilton Durban brings together a dynamic, international creative team. The vision of interior designers Virserius Studio, an award-winning hospitality interior design firm out of New York and Paris, was to create a space that was ‘beautiful, friendly and open, to ensure that everyone who visits will feel comfortable.’ The Big Easy Winebar & Grill in Durban, is South African in nature, combining several unique spaces, all tied together by inviting rustic elements such as wood-beamed ceilings, beaten copper, rich textured leather upholstery, brushed concrete and handcrafted furniture.
The open plan interior of the restaurant comprises a Chef’s Table and open Kitchen, where diners can get up close and personal with Chef Fourie and watch the chefs at work in the heart of the restaurant. A large bar with an impressive wine bottle display, a dramatic floor to ceiling backdrop and a copper bar counter, dominates the east end of the space. Outside, the Terrace with upper and lower decks, for al fresco dining and chilling, features a lush green foliage wall, as well as locally-sourced furniture and accents, honouring South Africa’s rich artistic heritage and natural beauty, where guests can fully immerse themselves in the magic of the outdoors and Durban’s idyllic weather.
Big Easy Bar & Grill at The Els Club, Dubai.
Meatarians rejoice – this steakhouse is big and it is easy. Named after South African golfer Ernie Els, AKA ‘the big easy’ who also visits the venue with fellow golfer Rory McIlroy, this restaurant serves up platters of fresh comfort food adorned with spices, herbs and ingredients from around the world. Keep your eyes peeled for Hollywood superstars like Will Smith, who might just be sitting at the table next to you, as you tuck in to the signature Big Easy Burger. Also give the babotie spring rolls and boerewors (traditional South African sausages) a whirl.
ON THE MENU
Boerewors in a thick tomato onion stew ‘chakalaka’ Dhs38
Red Deer Fillet Dhs195
Rooibos Tea Panna Cotta Dhs38
INFO: The Els Club, Dubai Sports City, 04 425 1000, Bigeasy@elsclubdubai.com, www.elsclubdubai.com.