Coffee and cake worth the calories

Cyclists enjoying coffees outside the Humble Coffee “grab an go“ in Florida Road. - Oscar - Please crop the foreground out

Cyclists enjoying coffees outside the Humble Coffee “grab an go“ in Florida Road. - Oscar - Please crop the foreground out

Published Apr 1, 2023


Today a quick focus on baking… and coffee.

As we all heave a collective sigh of relief as cooler weather signals winter is on the way, coffee is very much back on the radar, and what better to pair it with than a little slice of home baking? Even if we have to spend more time on the treadmill working off those calories.

I have recently popped into a number of the city’s better coffee shops, so here’s three worth celebrating. No ratings, because they’re all worth a visit, and sorry, the bills have long since landed in the laundry.

Toasted cheese, artichoke and tomato pesto sandwich with rocket at Humble Coffee.

Humble Coffee

Where: 264 Florida Road, Morningside

Open: Monday to Friday 6am to 4pm, Saturday to Sunday 7am to 1pm.

Call: 071 003 9937

Humble Coffee has opened a “grab and go” in Florida Road, opposite Holden’s Spar. It’s a welcome addition to the street’s mix. Basically the size of a garage, there are three small perching stations down one side, a counter where the coffee machine takes pride of place and a few benches on the street.

While it might not offer the full range of exciting and organic, and largely vegetarian or vegan, breakfast of the mothership in Churchill Road, there’s a selection of toasted sandwiches and much of the fresh baking that makes this venue anything but humble. And, of course, there’s that superb artisanal coffee roasted here in Durban. I love its intense rich flavours and distinctly nutty aromas.

I thought the mature cheddar and beetroot toasted sandwich sounded interesting, but the barista said they were sold out, so instead I relished an artichoke, tomato pesto, mature cheddar and rocket sarmie, which was not only substantial, but a wonderful mix of flavours. The cheese comes from Creighton in the Midlands. I’d better not tell the Glass Guy, because this sandwich would never be available. Artichokes are his thing.

While watching the goings on in the street, I enjoyed a second cup. It was washed down with a slice of their banana bread made with Greek yoghurt. This was a wonderfully light and a tasty treat. Items like mini lemon meringues or Italian coconut and almond cake might appeal. I have memories of the pear and almond cake with crème fraîche I had at the Churchill Road outlet recently.

Inside the new Fat Frog in Glenashley.
Cappuccinos and mini beesting muffins at the Fat Frog in Glenashley.

Fat Frog

Where: 35 Newport Ave, Glenashley

Open: Monday to Friday 7am to 4.30pm (3.30pm on Friday), Saturday 7am to 12.30pm.

Call: 079 587 2325

The home of the bee-sting cake moved earlier this year, and Morningside’s loss is Glenashley’s gain. I recently popped into the bigger and brighter premises for my fix ‒ a really good coffee and a bee-sting muffin ‒ and found it busy. The Durban North ladies have certainly cottoned on.

The business of Claire Allen and Jenny Clark which specialises in home-cooked meals and fresh baking also serves simple toasted sandwiches and light meals like scrambled eggs and bacon on sourdough, and quiches. There’s a range of interesting cakes and, of course, excellent coffees.

I enjoyed a favourite ‒ a toasted cheese tomato and basil pesto sandwich ‒ while Jenny told me of her latest offering: toasted muffins with cheese. She hinted these might do some serious damage to her waistline.

I left with helpings of oxtail and butter chicken for another night although their range of home-cooked meals is substantial. The meatballs in an Italian tomato sauce are also a favourite.

The interior of Mary & Joe in uMhlanga.

Mary & Joe

Where: Lighthouse Quarter, 14 Chartwell Drive, uMhlanga

Open: Daily 6am to 6pm

Call: 031 561 6593

On the subject of baking, after a recent early morning job in uMhlanga, sans breakfast, I arrived in the village hungry and popped into one of the few spots I hadn’t eaten at in Chartwell Drive, Mary & Joe.

Part coffee shop, part bakery, but also serving light meals and cocktails, it was a hive of activity at this odd in-between hour. Staff were friendly and I was shown to the last table indoors on a miserable day. I was soon enjoying a lovely apple pie and a good, rewarding coffee. This was a firm, nicely spiced apple filling ‒ the apple had been cooked from scratch and wasn’t out of a tin ‒ in a soft buttery pastry with a generous portion of cream. I approved wholeheartedly. The blueberry pie too looked inviting.

This was after I had tried their eggs Benedict with bacon, which was exactly as it should be ‒ soft poached eggs, crispy bacon and a nice rich coating of Hollandaise. Breakfast offerings are substantial, from the super healthy fruit and muesli, to smoothies, to the full works English. Freshly baked filled croissants also feature.

Lunch may include the likes of interesting wraps of salmon fish cakes. I will pop in again when I’m next in the area.

Mary & Joe is also fur children friendly with well-behaved mutts even having their own menu, which included pup-uccinos and chicken strips.

Apple pie with cream and coffee at Mary & Joe.
Eggs Benedict with bacon.

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