The Springbok

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
I was going to title this "Happy Hour: The Springbok" because I recently met some of my lady friends there for Happy Hour, but we technically did not participate in Happy Hour, as I don't think The Springbok has a set "Happy Hour," so we just had a happy [couple of] hour(s) at The Springbok, while not actually a "Happy Hour" with special deals and whatnot.

Another alternate title was "That Time it Took Kim AN HOUR to Drive 6.9 Miles to Meet Her Friends for Happy Hour because Houston Traffic is the Absolute Pits: The Springbok," but then that negative title would indicate that it was not in fact a happy [couple of] hour(s), when in actuality it was a very happy [couple of] hour(s), and it made seeing my beautiful friends and drinking the refreshing alcohols and eating the satiating noms all the more appreciated.

Does your head hurt?

Lets look at a picture of booze.

My friend Heather had been telling me I needed to try this South African pub located downtown, mainly because of their brussels sprouts. We finally scheduled a time to meet up for a happy [couple of] hour(s) with our other friends Kate, Ashley, and Leah after work one day.

Unsure of what drink to start with, I told our server that I am more into savory drinks like martinis, and that I also am open to a hint of spicy. I was presented with a "Hal-a-peno," created by a very talented man named Hal. Garnished with a lemon and baby jalapeno, the drink was light, refreshing, and had just the right amount of kick.

For food, we of course began with the highly acclaimed brussels sprouts. 

What makes this brussels sprout dish so unique is that it is strictly made up of the leaves. The hard cores (ha, hardcore...anyone...?) of the sprouts were nowhere to be seen, so what we were left with were the charred, crispy remains. They were wonderfully smokey and had a beautiful, wafer-y crunch to them. Squirting a little lime on them added a playful juiciness. They were so light that according to Ashley, the experience was "like eating air."

So we ordered a second helping, #duh.

As the old adage goes, no dinner is complete without a double order of carbs, so next we ordered the handcut fries with smokey aoli, as well as the slap chips with white vinegar and sea salt.

Pop quiz time: which are the chips, and which are the fries?

Yes, we were every bit as confused also.

I completely understand that America is probably one of the only English-speaking countries that refers to fries as fries and not chips (or chips as fries, and not chips? Does your head hurt again?). And that in a foreign pub, chips may very likely refer to fries. But but but...... since the menu offered fries AND chips, we were expecting a difference between the two. A "these are clearly chips and these are clearly fries" kind of difference. Maybe the distinction comes with the use of the word "slap," which is Afrikaans for drooping, not firm (why thanks, Wikipedia!). But darnit, we didn't think to Google it at that moment. So I'll help you guys out.



And let me be clear, both of these were great. Ultimately, I think it would be helpful for us patrons who aren't well versed in South African lingo to add a description under these menu items, but regardless we enjoyed the heck out of them. The creamy aoli with the crispy "fries" was smooth and tart, proving to be the perfect complement. And the salt and vinegar slap "chips" were pleasantly acidic and finger-lickin' good. Out of the two, I'd probably order the slap chips next time. Or both.

Because, #doublecarbs.

For my main entree I ordered the seasonal vegetable curry.

This dish consisted of mielie pap (African grits), assorted veggies, and a green curry, coconut milk, mango sauce. The grits are definitely not your standard Texas grits, as they had more of a porridge-like consistency. But the vegetables were firm, so the contrasting textures went very well together. I could definitely taste the coconut in the sweet - yet earthy - curry, and it also packed some serious - yet manageable - heat. Overall, this was an incredibly interesting, aesthetically pleasing, enjoyable dish!

The Springbok is a fun pub serving unique, inventive South African fare. The environment is warm and inviting, and the service is incredibly attentive. Go there for an enjoyable [couple of] happy hour(s), or maybe grab lunch if you work downtown.

But for the love of all that is sweet and holy, try to avoid that hour commute.

"That Time Kim was a Total Hipster and Pulled out my POLAROID CAMERA (!!!!) at a Bar to Take a Picture of all of the Alcohol: The Springbok"

The Springbok on Urbanspoon


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