At long last, there's an option for South African fare that doesn't require a trip far outside the loop. Peli Peli seeks to make South African cuisine more accessible with the addition of a second outpost inside The Galleria.
Taking over the space last occupied by Gigi's Asian Bistro, the newest restaurant is a collaborate effort from owners Thomas Nguyen, Michael Tran and Chef Paul Friedman. Blending Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, and Indian cuisines, the dishes offered at Peli Peli are reflective of the country. It's an aspect Friedman, a Johannesburg native, strives to put front and center with signature dishes like the bobotie (a cottage pie featuring curried house-made sausage and carrot bredie, topped with a pastry lid and mango chutney).
The restaurant's design is attributed to Si Dang of Andria Design, whose previous work includes Moody Gardens, KUU Restaurant and Sushi Jin. A focal point is the domed ceiling inside the dining room. Mimicking the acacia tree of South Africa with leaves and branches, lights dim within an hour span to recreate a South African sunset. Another eye-catching feature are the paintings by artist David Garibaldi.
Peli Peli is open, serving guests who have made reservations online. The reservation-only policy continues through April 14. Walk-ins will be available the day after.