Big Easy Winebar & Grill | Media

Media Article Index

  • February 16th, 2017
    "Long Overdue ...but worth the wait"
    So Suter Bill

  • February 15th, 2017
    "Chefs and Foodies"
    Biz Community

  • February 11th, 2017
    "Grand Opening Party"
    Dining Out Miami

  • February 8th, 2017
    "No, Not That Big Easy"
    The Whet Palette

  • February 7th, 2017
    "Ernie Els Takes SA Cuisine to Miami"
    Tee Off South Africa

  • February 7th, 2017
    "Brickel's Newst Showplace"
    Miami Herarld

  • February 3rd, 2017
    "The Hottest Restaurants in Miami"
    Eater Miami

  • January 27th, 2017
    "South African Sensation"
    Digest Miami

  • January 25th, 2017
    "Four South African-Inspired Dishes"
    Miami New Times

  • January 2017
    "New Restaurants & Bars in Miami"

  • January 20, 2017
    "Take It (Big) Easy on Inauguration Day"
    Hungry Post

  • January 19, 2017
    "Awards 2017 Shortlists Revealed"
    Time Out Dubai

  • January 17, 2017
    "Big Easy Opens in Brickell"
    South Florida Online

  • January 17, 2017
    "14 Best New Restaurants"
    Tasting Table

  • January 5, 2017
    "Eat Your Heart Out"
    Dining Out Miami

  • December 20, 2016
    "The journey from South Africa to Miami"
    Video Profile

  • December 19, 2016
    "Delicious Downtown"
    Miami Culianry Tours

  • October 10, 2016
    "The world is head chef Janine’s Oyster"
    GET IT Durban

  • August 16, 2016
    "Seasonal Produce"
    Biz Community South Africa

  • May 8, 2016
    "Fine Dining Spots You'll Love"
    OK! Middle East

  • April 26, 2016
    "Capture The Sunshine"

  • April 8, 2016
    What's Cooking With Ernie?"

  • March 14, 2016
    "A Hole In One"
    Beijing Review

  • January 21, 2016
    Big Easy Miami
    Eater Miami

  • January 14, 2016
    Big Easy Local Flavour
    Daily News

  • January 19, 2016
    "Take An Easy Drink In Durban"

  • January 14, 2016
    "Els Plans Durban Autism Centre"

  • December 4, 2015
    Video Showcase
    The Socialite

  • November 16, 2015
    9 Super Things To Do This Month
    Gulf Family News

  • August 10, 2015
    Hilton Durban
    Ernie Els Hospitality

  • April 20, 2014
    Big Easy Dubai
    Ernie Els Hospitality

  • chris wessling downstairsloft creative las vegas

    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

    Biz Community

    Restaurant News
    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)."

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    photo credit brett hufziger

    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."

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    big easy miami interior element

    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."

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    chef maryna frederiksen

    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!"

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    big easy miami rib-eye steak

    Ernie Els wants you to try his steak at Brickell’s newest showplace

    Miami Herald
    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."

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    chris wessling downstairs loft creative

    The Hottest Restaurants in Miami Right Now,
    February 2017

    Eater Miami
    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."

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    linefish ceviche

    South African Sensation at
    Brickell City Centre

    Digest Miami
    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
    big easy miami

    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."

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    big easy miami king prawn

    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."

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    dylan rives food photography miami

    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."

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    itp media group logo

    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

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    dylan rives south florida

    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.

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    dylan rives food photography miami

    The 14 Best New Restaurant
    Openings to Check Out

    Tasting Table
    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."

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    chris wessling food photography las vegas

    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.

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    South Africa to Miami

    Video Profile

    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.

    dylan rives photography

    Delicious Downtown:
    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.

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    chef janine fourie

    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
    big easy durban seasonal salad

    Biz Community

    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.”

    Local Suppliers

    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
    ernie els big easy durban

    Dine Divine

    Fine dining spots you'll love
    Reviewed by Gemma White
    OK! Middle East


    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!

    ernie els steaks

    We highly recommend the steaks in this laidback eatery, and for dessert, the warm apple pie (below)

    ernie els warm apple pie

    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.

    winemaker louis strydom ernie els wines

    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

    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.”

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    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.

    Favourite dessert?
    I would have to go for chocolate ice cream.

    Read the full article on IOL
    ernie els durban hotel

    "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 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 (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
    big easy winebar & grill miami brickell

    "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
    therese virserius ernie els
    therese virserius photo credit: Jethro Snyders Photography

    "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 ( - 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.

    eric botha sommelier big easy durban hiltton hotel

    "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:

  • Dieu Donne Shiraz/Viognier
    for easy drinking, and doesn’t need to be paired with food.
  • Villiera Monro Brut
    a perfect bubbly, perfect for any time anywhere.
  • Creation Viognier
    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
    ernie els big golf swing

    "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

    Video Showcase: Big Easy Winebar & Grill

    Hilton Hotel recently welcomed the Big Easy Winebar & Grill and The Socialite was on set to showcase Durban’s latest hotspot…

    We celebrated the launch of Durban’s very first Big Easy Winebar & Grill restaurant to open its doors at the Hilton Hotel.

    The exclusive video showcase features the restaurant itself as well as interviews with Executive Chef Janine Fourie, Sommelier at the Big Easy Winebar & Grill Eric Botha, former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Delron Buckley, the CEO of Prosport International Mike Makaab as well as Olympian South African swimmer Charl Crous.

    big easy bar & grill dubai brunch

    "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.

    ernie els big easy durban

    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.

    ernie els big easy durban
    ernie els big easy dubai

    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.



    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,,