>> Springbok Bar & Grill | Eat the World Los Angeles

Thursday 14 November 2019

Springbok Bar & Grill


EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was updated on 09 January 2021 to include a pick up order at the bottom. An updated version (20 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
At the beginning of the month, a rugby team known as the "Springboks" became the champions of the world for the third time, a record they share with only one other nation. They had to go through the host nation of Japan on their way to victory in the final against England. This beloved team from South Africa, named after the elegant antelope found in southern regions of the continent, won convincingly.

While the time differences between Los Angeles and Japan made it difficult for fans to follow the matches live, this Van Nuys institution was the rugby home it always is, showing the most important matches on replay in the morning, especially those of the Springboks.

Spotted in the parking lot.

Disregarding the US flag on the main sign above Victory Blvd, the flags of six other nations tell the story of what originally makes this sports bar run. Besides South Africa, the flags of Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Wales, and England all represent places where rugby is cherished and talent is highest. Nowadays the many TVs mounted to wood-panelled walls at the bar are also used by fans of football (Galaxy, no LAFC please) and American football, as well as baseball and basketball.

A look at the menu reveals all the sports bar favorites a Dodgers or Rams fan might want, but a fun reason to come is for the sprinkling of foods from South Africa, a true hodgepodge itself. In addition to wings and burgers, there are hints of peri-peri, samosas, and Durban curry.

One way to stay in the zone of a sports bar while sampling a South African favorite is by eating the Jan Van Riebeecks boerewors roll ($14.95, above and below), named for a Dutch colonizer from the 1600's. This all beef sausage is made in house but in the style of a typical South African link, which has standards of low fat content, spicing, and never using offal or processed meats.

While it may not be grilled over charcoal as tradition dictates, the sausage still has a nice smokiness and is full of flavor. It is paired with the tomato and onion gravy they call "train smash." The roll is essential, a delicious fluffy bread with crisped exterior, hardly an afterthought.

Naidoo's Durban chicken curry ($14.95, above) is the sports bar version of what might be typically served in a hollowed-out bread bowl and called bunny chow in South Africa. The version here has a pepper next to it on the menu and warns that it gets spicy, but that is all relative. Thankfully the non-heat spicing within is complex and delicious, and the coconut shavings make for a really tasty creative dish.
In addition to unique foods, the bar also welcomes anyone in and has a very friendly atmosphere. It can be rowdy during important games and Sunday for American football, but come during a down time and settle in for their South African fare, plenty of beers, and become a regular.


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