Don’t junk Durban’s latest restaurant strip
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The Junk Yard
Where: 34 Problem Mkhize Road, Berea
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 8.30pm
Call: 031 171 0934
Problem Mkhize Road on Durban’s Berea has suddenly become a haven of restaurants, most in the little old houses on the street, with tables spilling onto front decks or verandahs. A friend and I decided to explore the lively area.
There’s Smoking Joe’s, the burger joint which originally staked out a claim on the street, now joined by Smoking Mo’s ‒ a pizza parlour. Zaki’s Fish and Chips, more a takeaway, looks interesting and then there’s the Lunch Box and The Junk Yard. There’s also a bakery called Gourmet Station. We popped in here and debated having cheesecake for dinner. But as they said they would still be open that evening for a party of 20 ladies, we knew where we were coming for dessert.
Basically, from Woolworths all the way to the Bread Mill, the street is pretty much restaurants. Most are halaal.
The Junk Yard is another meaty burger-inspired joint, with four or five rough-hewn wooden tables in the front yard. Some of the chairs are old tyres with wooden boards put on top of them. It’s rustic.
Burgers and Dawgs are the thing here, whether smothered in cheese, wrapped in macon, or topped with their own slow-cooked pulled brisket. There is a fiery Mexican chilli chicken burger, another stuffed with mushrooms, and another with nachos and the like to add interest. There’s even a haloumi burger. And you can add any number of things to the burger options laid out.
We looked at what was billed a kuro prawns, as a tasty starter. These were done in pamko crumbs with charcoal or beetroot to make them black and red. It sounded interesting but, unfortunately, they were out of prawns that night. Chicken wings, chicken and chips and squid heads complete the picture.
My friend went for the brisket burger (R90) which was a pile of that pulled brisket in a sesame bread roll with the usual burger trimmings. I opted for the Junk Yard special (R120) which was a 150g burger patty topped with cheese, brisket, macon, cheese sauce and peppadews, which really felt like you’d thrown the whole kitchen sink at it. The chips too were loaded in cheese sauce and peppadews. It was so substantial, my friend’s staffie cross was going to have a little treat later.
We washed our meals down with really good coffee milkshakes, although the peanut butter version looks like it should be worth trying. Next time.
The Bill: R300
Where: 46 Problem Mkhize Road, Berea
Open: Monday to Saturday 8.30am to 7pm, sometimes later, Sunday 10.30am to 3.30pm
Call: 063 613 4768
And so we paid a visit to the neighbouring Gourmet Station, a delightful little coffee shop and bakery and the party of ladies was in full swing. Sitting out on the terrace we all ducked for cover under the awning as a long-threatening cloud burst dumped its load on Durban.
But it didn’t dampen spirits.
Cakes were limited at this time of the evening ‒ the ladies had obviously cleaned out some of the selection. Black Forest and Cheesecake weren’t available, but there were little mini chocolate cakes, and coffee cakes, and a caramel sponge and coconut sponge. A mile-high rainbow-coloured cake with cream cheese icing also looked inviting. As did the chocolate brownies and biscuits.
My friend enjoyed his brownie, although the chocolate icing made it quite sweet. My crème brûlée, while having the perfect crack through to the custard, was enjoyable although the texture of the custard wasn’t silky smooth. It had probably split at some point in the cooking process. It tasted good though.
Our coffees ‒ a cappuccino and Americano ‒ were enjoyable, although they lacked body. A little bit of work at the barista stand would improve them immeasurably.
Still, we enjoyed our evening.
The Bill: R140
The Independent on Saturday