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Revisit: 10 Degrees South

10DsosotiesWelcome to the one, the only, South African restaurant in Atlanta: 10 Degrees South.

The menu here, with all its unusual words, seems to be talking to you in a foreign language.

But the flavors speak a language you know — that of staid, familiar Continental cooking. Throw in some easygoing sweet-and-sour sauces and a basketful of South African wines, and you’ve got a nice, non-challenging, date-night kind of spot with a slightly exotic sense of dress.

Consider these cheerful  sosoties ($11) — an appetizer portion of skewered beef tenderloin served with a tangy, balanced apricot curry glaze. I was impressed that the first flavor wasn’t sugar. That said, 11 bucks seems a little steep for four bites of beef.

10DboerI had to order this sliced beef sausage ($9) after hearing the waiter carefully pronounce it with the right accent, sounding the “w” like a “v.” Boer-VUHRS.

You know what it was? Beef sausage swimming in a brown sauce that brought a strong whiff of Worcestershire as soon as it hit the table.

It was fine.

It was a sausage. In Worcestershire gravy. Fine.

10Drolls

The kitchen here likes to make spring rolls, several versions of which showed up on both the regular menu and  the specials list.

We chose the chicken peri peri rolls ($8.50), which came to the table crisp, chickeny and glued into a perfect chicken roll cross with a scoop of mashed potatoes.

But that ramekin holds spicy peri peri sauce that is sharp, spicy, a tiny bit sweet, maybe a little mustardy? I don’t know. I just kept dipping everything in the sauce — first the rolls, then the potatoes, then my bare fork, then my finger, trying to tease out all the flavors. It’s yummy. I want access to the peri peri pipeline.

10DbobotieMy friend and I split one order of bobotie ($20) for our entree. Perhaps South Africa’s most famous dish, it is a sweet ground meat curry topped with a rich custard a la moussaka. I remember my sister making a version of this dish with apricot preserves, bananas and ground lamb.

This one made with beef and plenty of plump raisins was less sweet and more to my liking. It did seem a little like exotic-flavored Hamburger Helper.

This was my first visit to 10 Degrees South since its 2005 renovation that replaced the former overeager, animal-print, safari-in-a-bungalow look with the this grand, airy, breezy dining room.

photo-15The back bar and outdoor patio seem really cozy. I think the next time I visit will be for wine, snacks and massive infusions of peri peri sauce on the patio.

8 comments Add your comment

Steve

April 22nd, 2010
4:03 pm

Haven’t explored the menu much here, but the bobotie is definitely a favorite that keeps me coming back. Sweet…savory…delicious! Kinda wish I had some right now…

Steven

April 22nd, 2010
4:05 pm

John you gotta run prizes with these “guess where this was taken” contests – I’d happily take a 10* South certificate ;)

-Steven

Steven A.

April 22nd, 2010
4:24 pm

John: A little Wikipedia research unearths that the “peri-peri” sauce gets its name from the peri peri chile native to East Africa.

Curiously, the Portuguese also have a chile-based sauce known as “piri-piri.” I don’t frequent a lot of Portuguese restaurants, but Boneheads, the only Raving Brands chain I’ll actually set foot in, bases its menu around chicken and seafood in (rather tasty) piri-piri sauces. A friend of mine is second generation Portuguese and she found the concept of a Portuguese-inspired fast food (OK, counter service) chain very amusing.

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Kirk

April 23rd, 2010
2:54 pm

Steven A. – the Piri Piri/Peri Peri similarity is not coincidental. South Africa was a common stopping point for ships travelling between Europe and the Far East/India and abcause of that, there are many different influences in South African cuisine, such as Portuguese and Indian. It definitely makes it interesting, and worth checking out for anyone looking for something diferent. 10 Degrees South has been one of my favorite Atlanta restaurants for a few years now.

Fred

April 24th, 2010
2:53 pm

I went there a couple of years ago after reading about them in an Atlanta magazine and asking a South African friend if they were A. authentic, and B. any good. He saifd yes to both questions so off we went. I really liked it. I like calamari but it is usually fried. I liked the way they grilled it at 10 South. My wife had the Kingclip and I had the ostrich. On a recommendation we had the Kingclip with peri peri instead of the lemon butter. It was awesome. I say we because my wife and I share each entree to “broaden our tasting experience.” We also had a very tasty South African wine but it’s been so long ago I don’t remember what it was, only that it went well with our food. I also forget what our second appetizer was, but it was good too. It’s one of those places where after we ate we told each other, that was really good we need to go back there, but never have……….. Maybe I will remember to now that this article has jogged my taste buds, I mean memory…….. I want to try the funky South African sausage and have some more ostrich. ………

S.C. Foodie

April 28th, 2010
9:03 pm

Oh, I’m such a fan of flavor and I love trying new cuisines. This place sounds like something I would really enjoy. I need to check out the menu on line. I’ll add this restaurant to my list.