Deli SA (South African) in Kearny Mesa, San Diego is a hidden gem. Tucked away in an unassuming business park, lies a repository of good eats and delicious meat pies. They’ve been here for over 5 years, but I’ve only discovered them now. You should too.
Deli SA is run by owner, Graham Perkett. Over the past few years he has been growing slowly and steadily by word of mouth. Just recently he was featured in San Diego City Beat, and was recently on the Cooking Channel! Anyhow, I decided to drop by and see what all the fuss was about.
Inside the storefront is a small counter, a tiny market, and a single table. As you might guess, most people pick up to go, as Deli SA’s primary business is catering to local events or shipping savory pies to other cities across the states. Graham keeps a few pies upfront in the main case, but this is only a small sampling of what they have in the back. Because business has been picking up, Fridays and Saturdays have been deemed special days when they make fish and chips, and grill up some chicken on the BBQ. The fish and chips are apparently always are sold out, and this was the case when I visited on Friday at 1:00pm. With these days being more popular, they have started to setup extra tables and chairs in the parking lot in case you want to enjoy your meal onsite.
And now for the meat pies! I was very eager to try them out. I started off with the steak and mushroom, followed by the chicken and mushroom. (Cost of the pies are $7/pie). The pies are decent sized… definitely enough for a single person’s meal.
As the pictures reveal, the crust on all the pies is a golden brown with a flaky and buttery texture. Inside was a glorious mixture of beef and mushrooms. The beef was flavorful, tender, and hot. Jorgina thought the inside was a bit like beef stroganoff, but it was a great combination nonetheless.
Next up was the chicken and mushroom pie. The chicken was moist and flavorful. The flaky crust of the pie added a wonderful balance of textures and I kinda of liked this one a touch better. I could definitely pickup the richness of the cream with this one… delish! (Side note: I went back here the following day with a co-worker and he ordered the pepper steak meat pie. He gave me half of it and I have to say it was my favorite of the three.)
So, just in case the pies weren’t up to my expectation, I decided to order a chicken curry rice as well. This isn’t any plain curry rice, but a mild Indian themed curry made with fresh herbs and spices straight from the curry tree in front. The plate cost $10 which I felt was a touch expensive, but it was worth it to try. The chicken portions were decent and the stewed meat literally fell off the bone. There was a nice spicy kick to it, so I was happy to have rice nearby.
Before I left with my order, Graham was cool enough to give me a full tour of his establishment. He took me into the back kitchen area which was about 5 times the size of the store front. Back there he showed me his full sized walk-in fridge and freezer where he keeps his pies to ship all over the states. He had a couple workers helping to organize and produce the delicious meat pies. He also makes sausages, and different meat jerkys on premise.
He has a full size commercial oven with racks that rotate.
Once ready, out they come onto the cooling racks. From here they make their way to the storefront.
If you’ve never had a South African meat pie, you should try it. You won’t be disappointed. Good luck to you Graham as you continue building your tasty business.
Deli SA 8360 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Ste 112
San Diego, CA 92111