Monday5:00 – 9:00 pm.
Tuesday5:00 – 9:00 pm.
Wednesday11:30 am – 9:00 pm.
Thursday11:30 am – 9:00 pm.
Friday11:30 am – 9:00 pm.
Saturday11:30 am – 9:00 pm.
Sunday11:30 am – 9:00 pm.
45/47 Princess Street, Palmerston North Central
Little Savanna’s expert fitout gives this South African inspired restaurant a unique visual identity on the Palmerston North dining scene. With strong food and drink offerings to match, it’s a complete lunch or dinner destination in the heart of the city.
When owners Margie, a South African, and Andy Holmes, a Kiwi, moved from Johannesburg to New Zealand they missed the flavours of the traditional South African ‘braai’ or BBQ. With that they decided to open Little Savanna in 2017 and have executed the concept to a tee.
Little Savanna brings the braai inside with a flame grill. As Margie put it, “We use the best of New Zealand’s produce but cook it the South African way.” This is seen in Little Savanna’s bestseller, Espetada, which are Potugese style skewered meats. Choose sirloin steak prepared with the house’s top secret basting or chicken thigh filet with peri peri. These choice cuts are prepared on the grill and served on the skewer for a plate that is both familiar and something new, all at the same time.
The Espetada is juicy, delicious and perfectly balanced by the smoky chargrilled notes. These skewers come served with garlic and herb butter, carrot puree, broccolini and balsamic tomato and your choice of sauce; chimichurri, creamy mushroom, bernaise or green peppercorn sauce. The special skewer allows the butter to drip slowly onto the grilled meat, and it’s the kind of dish that gets even better with each bite as the various flavour profiles merge together.
Little Savanna also offers tasty dishes such as South African style pork ribs. These free farmed ribs are flame grilled with the house’s smokey BBQ basting, and local South African expats come in just for them. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, give the desserts menu a look, with numbers like the Belgian dark chocolate semifreddo with salted caramel and pistachio praline.
Excellent food, of course, deserves to be paired with excellent libations and Little Savanna has developed a drinks menu that more than does the job. The wine list is varied with bottles from New Zealand, France, Argentina, South Africa and beyond. If you suffer from indecision or would like to expand your wine palate, Little Savanna offers wine paddles of three or six pours. Thanks to special corking technology, even their finest wines are available in a paddle or by the glass. The bar also does excellent cocktails including the flaming lamborghini which involves a bit of fire and hospitality theatre.
While you wait for your meal, relax in this restaurant’s expert fit out featuring wood and steel joinery, plush leather couches around the fire and low lighting. Designed to mimic a sunset on the savanna, the restaurant delivers its own unique environment on top of everything else. So come for a drink and a snack, a business lunch or a special dinner, and enjoy.
Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Anna Briggs
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45/47 Princess Street, Palmerston North Central
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