I can’t decide if it is embarrassing or endearing that our favourite waitress, Sandra, knows our names, weekly schedules, short life history and breakfast orders off by heart. Needless to say, my best friend and I spend a large portion of our monthly income at this fine establishment and I have yet to be disappointed by the food, friendly staff or fantastically chilled vibe. Vovo Tello is undeniably a firm breakfast favourite. So, this is what 9am on a Sunday morning usually looks like; two cappuccinos, one with a double shot for the real coffee lover and two Eggs Benetello. One with scrambled egg and bacon. The other with poached eggs, bacon and hollandaise sauce. Yes, I have tried other things on the breakfast menu, but in my humble opinion you cannot beat the buttery toasted croissant, crispy bacon and beautifully gooey scrambled egg. And all of this early morning goodness for a mere eighty bucks. Sandra, we’ll see you on Sunday!
Molto buono! Delizioso! Authentic Italian at its finest. Carluccio’s Kensignton High Street was the perfect pick to eat our way into 2018. Welcomed by a staff wonderful waiters imported from Italy, just like their pancetta, we settled into our cosy table for three. After enjoying some freshly baked focaccia drowned in garlic and olive oil, as all focaccia should be, it was time for the main event. Enter the world class spaghetti carbonara. My oh my. Al dente spaghetti, gooey parmesan, crisp and salty pancetta, crushed black pepper and a sprinkling of flat leaf parsley culminated in one of the best plates of pasta I have ever eaten. I am a firm believer that there is always room for dessert, because dessert doesn’t go to your stomach but straight to your heart. And on that note, Carluccio’s coffee and hazelnut gelato will always have a very special place in mine. A rave review, well deserved, for a little piece of Italy right in the middle of London.
I have eaten enough pizza in my twenty-one years to know that Lupa Osteria’s “Spago” scores a near perfect ten. Maybe it’s the fact that dinner is an excuse to be surrounded by all my favourite friends and ice cold white wine. Or maybe it’s because all the good things in the world culminate in a perfectly crispy pizza. Whichever is may be, let’s take a moment to appreciate the Italian masterpiece that is the bacon, avo and feta pizza. Simple? Yes. My favourite? Absolutely. A golden brown, thin base, the perfect amount of molten mozzarella, toppings to die for and finished with a scattering of garlic and a sprinkle of parmesan. On a scale of one to transported to a warm cobblestone street in the middle of Italy, I feel like a tourist with every bite. Lupa, it’s a 10/10 from me.
Is over-cooking steak a cardinal sin? Yes. Is it wrong to ask for a beautiful piece of fillet to be cooked medium? I don’t think so. If a “medium” steak starts to graze on the onion rings on the side of my plate, can I be slightly outraged? Absolutely. Butcher Boys in Umhlanga has always been a family favourite and I have enjoyed many a great meal there. However, last week, was the exception. I have no problem splashing a bit of cash on a delicious dinner every once in a while, but if I am paying R160 for 200g of steak I think it’s only reasonable that it be cooked to my liking. In fairness, the kitchen fixed the problem relatively quickly and I’m sure they topped up my chips in the process. Negatives aside, my meal was definitely worth the wait and I would be happy to give Butcher Boys a second chance.
Saturday morning breakfast has become a bit of a tradition in my family. We have a few firm favourites, including Mayfair and The Press Club, and as creatures of habit we don’t tend to stray too far from the norm. Fabrica, a fresh new café has opened its door in the recently revamped Sunningdale Centre. So, with adventurous spirit in tow we set off into the land of the unknown. I was pleasantly surprised by their Eye Opener breakfast. The bacon was just the right amount of crispy, eggs cooked beautifully and not flipped over – thank goodness, a hearty pork sausage, some balsamic glazed tomatoes, a generous helping of fried mushrooms and a piece of golden brown toast, what more could you ask for? And all of this for a mere 49 rand. My dad is pretty difficult to impress, but with his nod of approval, I think Fabrica might just be our new normal.
“I’m hungry, let’s go for brunch”. These are a few of my favourite words to hear on a Friday morning. If you find yourself hankering for a strong coffee and a croissant the French would be proud of, I suggest you make your way to the up and coming bit of Umhlanga and fight your way through the masses to grab a table at Old Town Italy. Having tasted almost every item on the breakfast menu, I can confidently say you cannot go wrong. As much as I love bacon, I love chorizo more. The Shakshuka arrives in a perfectly vintage cast iron pan filled to the brim with onions, red peppers, cannellini beans and chorizo, all baked in a chunky napoletana sauce. Two baked eggs, with wonderfully oozy yolks, top the dish. It is accompanied by some crusty ciabatta, ideal for mopping up all the tomato-ey goodness. I have been well and truly seduced by the food, the feel and the fantastic coffee. Best brunch in town? Old Town, for sure.
Armed with my best friend and relentless ambition to taste Durban’s best smoothie bowl we set off in search of Surf Sessions. We waded through mases of surfboards and sunglasses which lined the walls of an unassuming surf shop in the heart of our vibrant city. Much to our surprise we were in the right spot and we placed our order with delight. The “Rio Bowl” in all its fruity glory was absolutely delicious. Filled to the brim with acai berries, bananas, strawberries and coconut shavings, I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful. The whole experience made even sweeter by the fact that this tasty treat works out to be less than 300 calories. So, there you have it. A glowing review of a hip and happening trend. I must admit, my initial thoughts on smoothie bowls were skeptical to say the least, but I can happily say, I am officially a big fan.
A yellow container that takes pride of place on the Durban promenade and an institution for surfers, early morning joggers and beach-goers alike, Afro’s Chicken Shop is an absolute favourite. My standard order of “lemon-y strips and tjips” never fails to disappoint. The local flavor only amplified by the wonderful surroundings. Hot sun, sticky air and perfectly salted crispy chips that are completely to die for. The feel of Afro’s is the epitome of Durban’s culture. Laid back, stress free and happy. And now for my final selling point, you can score lekker lunch for less than 50 bucks. I am a delighted customer and I will be back.