new location new chef

Rapidly expanding South African restaurant heads to The Woodlands for new location

Rapidly expanding South African restaurant heads to The Woodlands

Peli Peli Woodlands lamb chops
Great Karoo Lamb Chops. Photo by Kimberly Park
Peli Peli Woodlands interior
South Africa inspired the design. Photo by Sabrina Miskelly
Peli Peli Woodlands Bobotie
Bobotie. Photo by Dragana Harris
Peli Peli Woodlands interior bar
A look at the bar. Photo by Sabrina Miskelly
Peli Peli Woodlands steak frites
Steak frites. Photo by Kimberly Park
Peli Peli Woodlands lamb chops
Peli Peli Woodlands interior
Peli Peli Woodlands Bobotie
Peli Peli Woodlands interior bar
Peli Peli Woodlands steak frites

The Woodlands has a new destination for bobotie, grilled cauliflower, and hanging beef kebabs. Peli Peli has opened its fourth Houston-area location at The Woodlands Mall in a former Mi Cocina at 1201 Lake Woodlands Dr.

To go along with the new location, Peli Peli has made a major change in the kitchen. New executive chef Ryan Stewart hails from Johannesburg, where he founded Mozambik, a piri piri chicken restaurant with 15 locations across South Africa. Originally responsible for introducing piri piri chicken to Peli Peli Kitchen, the restaurant's fast-casual sibling, Stewart, has updated Peli Peli's menu to reflect current South African flavors and trends, including the addition of more vegetarian and seafood options. Even better, prices are lower across the ball.

"The food at Peli Peli is for everybody and certainly for diners looking for something different," Stewart said in a statement. "We’ve learned that all ages gravitate to what we provide because while the ingredients are familiar, the menu is unique.

Stewart's arrival means that founding chef Paul Friedman no longer leads the kitchen. In response to CultureMap's request for comment about Friedman's role with the restaurant, chief marketing officer Thomas Nguyen says that the chef remains a partner in the business but is no longer involved in day-to-day operations. The restaurant is excited about its future with Stewart and in its new neighborhood.

"We’ve wanted to open in The Woodlands for a long time,” Nguyen said in a statement. “It’s a dream scenario that we’ve found a location that will have everything we’ve always wanted in one space — a private dining room, bar, and beautiful patio featuring an ivy-covered trellis — all in a community similar to that of Vintage Park, where we got our start and have developed lasting relationships."

That dining room takes its inspiration from South Africa's Cape Dutch style. Diners will notice an overall cleaner look than the frenetic setting of the restaurant's location in Vintage Park, the Galleria, and Katy. Although it's located at the mall, the restaurant has its own external entrance. With 185 seats inside, including a 40-seat private dining room and a 30-seat patio, it will be able to accommodate almost any occasion.