Conceptualized and created in 1996, Galito’s frame-grilled chicken was a well-loved secret in the Mpumalanga City of Nelspruit (South Africa) for a good seven years till it took flight and opened several branches across Africa, Canada and recently the Middle East.
We still don’t have Galito’s in Dubai, but in Abu Dhabi they have 4 (Galito’s Abu Dhabi branches are in Yas Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Marina Mall and Dalma Mall). We were in Yas Island last weekend, and I was therefore delighted to have received an invitation to try out the Galito’s branch in Yas Mall.
The restaurant itself looks very funky and inviting. The walls feature interesting artifacts from the brand’s South African heritage as well as quirky little Galito anecdotes to cleverly summarize the brand values and offerings.
Galito’s bases its menu offerings on traditional home-cooking, and the brand stands by its promise to use only fresh, natural ingredients. The manager on duty explained to me that unlike other food chains that have expanded rapidly over the years with mass-production of food created under commercial practices, Galito’s prefers to take it slow and easy and continue with its stance at offering the freshest of dishes at very family-friendly prices.
However, Galito’s has some major expansion plans up its sleeves and its UAE parent company, the Tablez group, is planning to open a total of 25 more branches in the next 4 years. 15 more branches are planned for the UAE, and another 10 for India. Good news: Galito’s will hit Dubai in early 2016!
Being South African, ofcourse Galito’s has Peri Peri! Our table had 5 different bottles, and these can also be bought for home use for as low as AED 12 per bottle.
At Galito’s you can choose your tolerance for Peri Peri heat from the scale below. We went with ‘mild’ for all our choices so that the dishes could be shared with my four year-old, but ofcourse I was smearing all my servings with the ‘Premium Reserve’!
Galito’s is a family-friendly restaurant. They have mummies in mind, and give little tots a welcome pack to keep them preoccupied. Thank-you Galito’s!
After a road-trip and a walkathon exploring Yas Mall, we were very much in need for a cool, refreshing drink to quench our thirst. Galito’s has a number of interesting mocktails on offer, and they generously gave us a sample of all 5!
I got creative, and used my Zara scarf as a backdrop. Doesn’t this click look so tropically pretty? 🙂
Here is a breakdown of the drinks from left to right:
- Melon Teaser: A light, refreshing muddle of watermelon and strawberries.
- African Blues: This bright blue drink looks like a Smurf got caught in the blender! Galito’s African Blues is an unusual mix of fresh lychee with peach.
- Kiwi Mojito: A fizzy concoction of sour kiwifruit with mint and soda. My hubby liked this one best.
- Coco Melaucia: This pale pink, highly hydrating treat features a deliciously light blend of coconut milk with fresh watermelon juice. I voted this one as my favorite!
- Laranja: ‘Laranja’ is the South African word for ‘orange’, and needless to say this drink is based on freshly squeezed orange juice, with a muddle of strawberries.
We started off our meal at Galito’s with a serving of their ‘Garlic Bread with Chick-e-Naise’.
This is Galito’s take on traditional Garlic Bread. These slices have been coated with a special mix of chicken and creamy mayo, and are topped with melted, stringy cheese.
The other appetizer we were served was Galito’s ‘Livers and Roll’. I am not a fan of liver, but the staff insisted we try it as it is one of Galito’s best-sellers.
One bite of this rustic bread with a big dollop of liver, and my husband proclaimed this was exactly how his mum used to make it! The chicken liver has been cooked with a generous portion of garlic. It is curry-like yet thicker in consistency to have as a dip with crusty bread, and the flavors of garlic and tomato predominate the liver making it very appetizing even to me, the liver-hater!
For those who opt for lighter starters, I would highly recommend Galito’s ‘Chili Bean Salad‘. This is a trio of beans that has been tossed together with french-beans, onion and a very special hot-and-sweet peri peri dressing. This salad may not be photogenic, but it sure is light, tangy and deliciously good!
At Galito’s ofcourse we had to have Peri Peri Chicken! The secret of Galito’s flame-grilled chicken lie in their special marinade. Using only the freshest of ingredients, the chicken is left to marinate for a good 24 hours in order to ensure the flavors are infused right into the bone.
I found Galito’s flame-grilled Peri Peri chicken to be succulently moist, and loved the tangy-hot flavors that came to play at every bite. With a well-marinated piece of chicken like this, you don’t need a separate dip to go with it!
We also tried Galito’s ‘Prawn Espetada‘. This is a serving of skewered prawns and chicken along with two servings of your choice.
We chose to have fries and rice for the sides. Pretty dry options I know! This was more for my daughter, we adults were more interested in the skewers.
One skewer is lined with prawns, the other boneless chicken. Each piece is sandwiched between grilled capsicum, and marinated with Galito’s signature marinades. Like the plate of chicken, both the skewers were loaded with the tangy-hot flavors of Peri Peri, and were beautifully moist yet charred on the outside. The use of fresh, natural ingredients definitely makes for a better bust of flavors.
Look who greeted us at our table as we were munching our way through the mains; the Galito’s mascot himself! He got my daughter very excited, and we had to oblige her with a few clicks with Galito.
And then came my favorite course of all; desserts ofcourse! Galito’s gets its desserts from its sister company, Bloomsbury’s which is also managed by the Tablez group.
We had their ‘Double Chocolate Fudge Cake’ and ‘Date Pudding’. I apologize in advance for the sinfully enticing clicks below!
The ‘Double Chocolate Fudge Cake’ was very, very moist and absolutely loaded with dark chocolate goodness. It was rich and moreish without being overbearingly sweet. This is not for the calorie-conscious, and although it would be tough, I recommend sharing this large, chocoholic treat.
I got so busy that I almost ignored the ‘Date Pudding’. I caught a glimpse of my dessert-detesting hubby devouring every spoonful and quickly swapped over our plates.
This pudding is dense, yet moist, loaded with dates yet not too sweet, and if the sweetness is not enough for you, there is a whole puddle of caramel sauce that goes with it! A cool scoop of vanilla ice-cream is served on the side for respite from all this richness.
We couldn’t do justice to both the desserts, and here I am wishing for a plate all to myself right now. The dessert portions from Bloomsbury’s are generously large, and after a heavy meal, it would be a good idea to share one between two.
Overall, we had a very memorable time at Galito’s and I can’t wait for the brand to come to Dubai! Will have to do Abu Dhabi trips in the interim. Their dishes are brimming with home-cooked flavors, and the simple secret behind this is the brand’s commitment at keeping their offerings as fresh and natural as possible.
Do try out Galito’s. A flame-grilled Peri Peri is light on the calories, and loaded with flavorful goodness. For more details, please check out their website.