The menu for the Africa kiosk at this year’s Food & Wine Festival left vegetarians and carnivores alike upset with their removal of the Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pocket, a flavorful vegetarian option that wasn’t a dessert, cheese, or faux meat (vegetarian “food” options are limited to a small handful). Apart from being delicious, it was also a large portion for the price, making it a great Festival value.
Returning to the menu are the Beef Tenderloin Tips, which comes served Berbere-style with Okra, Jalapenos, Tomato and Pap (a corn-based porridge). Replacing the Spinach and Paneer Pocket is the clearly-not-vegetarian South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms.
Despite losing the Pocket (why couldn’t they just add a third food option?), I was still interested in the South African Bobotie. My bobotie experience has been limited to the Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom, where it features beef. It can also be found on the menus at Boma and The Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Flavorwise, I liked it, but the texture of the eggs was a bit spongy. I figured this was because of its preparation to be served on a buffet, and was hoping F&W’s would be different.
Fortunately, it was. Matt doesn’t like eggs, but he managed a bite or two of the Bobotie, aiming the fork towards the middle. There was plenty of turkey and aromatic spices to help make him forget there were eggs. This would make an excellent start to your day as it has a very brunch-like feel to it.
I was also impressed by the amount of turkey in the dish (though this was ordered on preview day, and that can always change throughout the festival). I thought there was a nice balance between egg and turkey, but there weren’t too many mushrooms in the dish.
We haven’t ordered the Beef Tenderloin Tips, but anticipate the dish will be as good as 2013’s, adding a little bit of heat to the menu.
For something new, I think the South African Bobotie is a solid dish and worth a look. I think the flavor profile is one of the more interesting ones of the festival, and if you’re a fan of the flavors served at the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants, you’ll probably want to give this a try. While I’m not sure it’s a “must revisit” for me, it’s still on the list of possibilities once I make my way through the plethora of other foods.
We’ll keep you posted on updated reviews from Africa as the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival continues. What have you tried from the kiosk, and what did you think? What are you looking forward to trying?