It’s not hard to find the aspect of Joe’s Backyard that sets it apart from other barbecue joints. Indeed, at 2.5m long it’s exceptionally hard to miss. Imported from South Africa, just five minutes in front of the braai was enough for Caterer Middle East to be scarpering from the intense heat. For executive chef Andrea Way Grandville, it’s a tool that allows him to create dishes superior to those in a normal kitchen
Having worked with French and Thai cuisine which Grandville says helped him to “open my palate”, he moved on to Australia, Texas, South America, and South Africa, all countries which play a big role in what he’s doing at the newly opened concept, with both meat and techniques coming from these nations.
He says: “Joe’s Backyard brings a little bit of the best all the countries I’ve been to. We select mainly the top quality but the secondary cuts. Other restaurants concentrate on the top cuts, we do the opposite, we bring back the secondary cuts that people don’t use and we concentrate on the techniques.
“With secondary cuts if you don’t have the technique and skills to cook it then usually they’ll tend to be dry or not the most tender. I bring the best out of them and I am able to give you a nice piece of meat with great flavour and you don’t pay a big price for it.”
Grandville points to the braai’s ability to bring out the natural smoky flavour of the meat, while his experience in Australia taught him the differences in using certain types of wood to cook with. “When we are smoking the fish and the meat we use two different kinds of wood. One is oak and one is olive tree. Olive tree is more delicate for fish especially.” Pointing to his vast experience in countries well known for their barbecuing, Grandville says he brings “quality, authenticity, and simplicity” to the role and this will be evident in the just launching Braai Brunch with “typical South African dishes including potijekos, boerewors, the desserts, all traditional from South Africa. We’ll even bring the beer from South Africa and we’re making our own biltong”.
It’s not all international fare at Joe’s Backyard however, with Grandville engaging the support of local outfit The Mattar Farm for fresh sausages including lamb and zaatar, beef chorizo, and chicken and cheese. Grandville even speaks of hosting a collaboration brunch between the two of them.
For now though Grandville is working with a multi-national team at Joe’s Backyard, something which hasn’t always been easy but he feels he’s found the right mix.
He says: “So far it’s been very challenging to find the right stability within the team in the kitchen. I’m actually really happy because I have a mix of nationalities within the team in the kitchen. It’s better because everyone brings new ideas, everyone brings the best out of each country.”
Plans are afoot for future Joe’s Backyards already, with Grandville saying expansion plans are part of the reason why the menu is simple in its nature — so it can be easily duplicated at each concept.
BIG BRAAI: At 2.5m, the imported South African Braai can handle anything. EXECUTIVE CHEF: Andrea Way Grandville is the braaimaster at Joe's.
GOOD WOOD: Grandville uses different types of wood for different flavours.