Carnivores rejoice! There’s meat and more meat at Hippo Creek African Grill. If like me, you prefer a range of vegetarian and pescetarian options on the menu, you’ve come to the wrong place. Well I did know what I was getting in for as I’d checked out the website beforehand, and was happy enough with the other options available. Unfortunately the seasonal menu advertised on Hippo’s website was different to the one on offer the night we went last week, so this limited my choices.
The venue at Hillarys Boat Harbour is a two-storey affair straight out of Africa. With stone and wood decor, animal sculptures and tribal wall hangings, you imbibe the atmosphere the minute you enter.
I’d come with a group of friends as I’d been curious about the South African-owned venture since it opened in Perth some years ago in Scarborough. Although that branch has long closed, the Hillarys eatery appears to be going strong.
Hippo Creek has its signature dish menu abounding with meat options, and a seasonal menu with wait for it….more meat options.
Two of our group chose the chicken Assaghai; chicken thighs on skewers which rather disconcertingly arrived on contraptions suspended over the table, and which were accompanied by bowls of mash.
Your slabs of meat come with fries or mash, and if you want greens with that, you order a bowl separately. No messing about in this place; it’s all about the meat.
The marinated Moroccan style chicken with harissa on a bed of couscous was my choice. The chicken although moist, was over-seasoned and salty, while the couscous with its pearls of pomegranate and slivers of sun-dried tomato, was pleasant enough. The harissa was a mild, yellowish paste and not the gutsy red sauce I was expecting.
The pork ribs were also ordered and arrived as a massive slab of ribs on a board. Another friend had the Scotch fillet which again, was a thick slab of meat on a board, with the ubiquitous bowl of mash.
There is a huge range of steaks on offer here, and you pay according to the age and the marbling factor. My guess is that Hippo Creek has its loyal band of meat lovers who come here for their fix.
Although my meat-loving friends were reasonably satisfied with their meals, our group of eight was not overly enthused about Hippo Creek. We had the benefit of two Entertainment Cards which reduced our bill by 25%, but if not for that, we thought the prices rather steep for a no-frills and no-extras meal. We had a 45 minute wait for our mains, and although one of our group asked for the dessert menu, no-one returned to take her order. Waiting for drink orders initially also took ages, and I approached the bar at one point only to be politely told to wait at my table. Overall, this mid-week experience was pleasant enough, but that was largely due to the venue’s ambience and the dinner company.