A Guide To Delicious Durban
Ahhhhhhh BigCity Dwellers…… you’re here… no no don’t be shy, step inside, grab a pair of fabulous sunglasses, a mohito and possibly a bunny chow… “A bunny chow?” I hear you ask…Why yes a bunny chow! A delectable, Durban speciality (yes Jozi it’s cute that you try, but shame…. it just isn’t a Durban bunny), of mouth-watering, eye-filling, spicy curry enveloped in freshly baked bread. But there is bunny-chow, and there is Bunny-Chow! And we are here to draw back the curtain, and show you the difference.
Durban is a little like a kaleidoscope.
Depending on the way you look at it, your view changes. Durban is also, immensely pleased with itself. Not in that supercilious, snobby way that Cape Town is, but in more of a humble, middle-sibling kind of way. Slightly apologetic, but shyly proud, and with excellent reason. We aren’t going to talk about the amazing beaches, the simply gorgeous promenade which, since being upgraded for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, has seen more traffic than a Stones concert, or even the traditional, and still excellent touristy type places… we are going more… local….more select….
Everyone knows of Florida Road, one of the coolest places in Durban to relax and have a drink, and there are really great places there worthy of a mention, that sadly they aren’t going to get in this story. What we will mention here is the simply great Drop Kick Murphys. Why are they so awesome? Well they have excellent craft beers on tap, the vibe is relaxed, but fun, and they serve a late night menu from 9:30 to 11:30pm which is absolutely scrumptious! If, however you make it in before that time, try the cup o’ bacon.
Seriously! You have to try it! Bacon in a cup. With cheese.
Now we know that you know the stadium. And we aren’t going to suggest that you go and bungee off the top or do the Skycar (we know you have already when entertaining your endless in-land relatives down on hols), what you may not know however, is that nestled on the south-west side of the stadium is a little restaurant called Peoples Park. With a huge open area in front of the eatery, as well as a kiddies play area, this is an ideal place to bring the offspring for a quietish lunch or some run around time. Of course this part of the stadium is also a great place to go for a run, or do some outdoor exercise, as there are tons of steps, climbs and grass (for lying down and stretching….or snoozing).
On the subject of delectable deliciousness with heaps of street cred, have you been to the Market?
Nestled in cool, tree-lined Morningside, down Marriott road, is possibly my favourite Durban eatery of all, Market. We aren’t sure if its intentional but the entrance looks like a paved driveway and you are always pretty sure you are about to happen upon Aunty Griselda in her dressing down. But then at the end of it, you hear the tinkling of a fountain, and a garden opens up before you, complete with droopy trees whose long whispy branches threaten to tweak your hat, and twinkling lights. The food is remarkably good and the home-made juices practically burst with flavour. My favourite meal is always the lamb burger with a mint and feta crust, it’s simply to die for! There are lots of vegetarian meals too, which makes this the only place I take my vege-friends.
Venture over the N3, towards Ye Olde Durban (that is Glenwood) and a neighbourhood delight awaits. Mooki Noodles at 190 Brand Road, Glenwood is a secret, closely guarded by the natives. We don’t want to tell you about it, in case you come there with your Jozi salaries and ruin Mooki by making it become all fancy. The food is delicious, think Asian Fusion, the portions generous and the prices reasonable. The décor is arresting, with large graffitied imagery, and the language is definitely South African. It’s a fun place, with great food and a good vibe.
As we turn our eyes eastwards towards the lapping of the shore, there are the more tourist focussed places to eat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are rubbish. In fact Circus Circus on the beach front gives you a gorgeous view of the promenade and the beach for a little sea-side people watching.
Mix that with some divine cocktails, some snacks and you have the perfect Sunday afternoon recipe.
While Bike and Bean on Country Club Beach offers a different kind of atmosphere.
Nose twitching coffee, baked tarts of deliciousness and various other bounty is available. You can also hire a bike and go for a morning cycle along the beachfront.
They are open from 6am – 6pm in Summer, so there is no excuse to not drag yourself out at dawn to watch a miraculous sunrise over our gorgeous Indian ocean.
Photos by: Ocean Driven Media. With permission from United Maverick Magazine