Secret Diner: Beautiful food in a beautiful coastal setting
Where: Fairmont Zimbali Resort, Zimbali
Open: Sunday to Thursday 11am-5pm, Friday to Saturday 11am-9pm
Call: 032 538 5000
Email: [email protected]
On a beautiful winter’s afternoon, a friend and I descended on the new Beach Café and Bar, the latest offering from Zimabli’s five-star Fairmont Hotel.
Gone is the old Mexican restaurant. In its place is a really sophisticated but relaxed pool-side bar, complete with loungers under white umbrellas. It really is a stylish and beautiful setting, with TripAdvisor written all over it.
On a perfect sunny day it would make an ideal lunch getaway for a group of friends or special occasion.
Fitting for the setting, the menu takes in a range of healthier light meals you would expect from a great cafe menu, all made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. And to say the bar is well-stocked would be an understatement. You’ll find an excellent wine list, range of cocktails and, of course, Champagne.
Starters might include salmon fish cakes with ginger, coriander and apple in a lime and lemongrass mayo (R115). These were most enjoyable. Panko crumbed prawns with a pineapple and chilli salsa sounded good, as did the tuna poke bowl with all the sushi-type condiments. We also enjoyed the grilled calamari in a lemon butter with cucumber ribbons and avo (R85).
Light meals include a prego roll, or salmon wrap and even a range of artisanal pizzas or home-made burgers. There are also some interesting snack baskets, one with chilli cheese rissoles, another with crumbed chicken strips, but we couldn’t resist trying the pork ribs (R135) which were excellent. These just melted off the bone and were packed with a flavour punch. I will order these again.
With its beach setting, naturally seafood features prominently, with fish, salmon, prawns, calamari and combos of them all present. And there’s a proper Durban lamb curry that nods to the city’s culinary traditions.
What was interesting was a range of shisa nyama-style platters served with either pap, chips, and chakalaka or stir-fry veg. Think chicken kebabs, lamb chops and boerewors, or fillet steak, wors and ribs etc. Another enjoyable way to share food around the table over a few drinks.
My friend spotted the sesame coated seared tuna with sake-glazed soba noodles and wasabi mayonnaise (R185) and was fulsome in its praise. It was a very good dish, taking in a range of Asian flavours, the tuna perfectly cooked. I enjoyed my fillet steak cooked medium rare in a mushroom sauce, served with some very good rustic chips (R185).
Desserts are limited, but include a traditional tiramisu, a trio of fruit sorbets with fruit coulis, and malva pudding (R80), which was enjoyable. They do, however, offer home-made Belgian waffles.
The stylish space is not only open to guests at the Fairmont, but bookings are essential so you can get a gate access code to the hotel via WhatsApp.