Back on the breakfast trail, but this time in the Morningside area, it seems I inadvertently ended up trying several toasted sandwiches ‒ but then, who doesn’t love a good toastie, especially when the bread is good and it’s oozing good quality cheese? And the coffee is top notch.
Where: 21a Churchill Road, Greyville
Open: Monday to Friday 7am-3pm, Saturday and Sunday 7am-2pm
Call: 071 003 9937
This little eatery at the bottom of unfashionable Churchill Road continues to defy all expectations. A veritable little oasis in what is a semi-industrial area, it offers a range of interesting and fresh breakfasts, many of them vegetarian or vegan. It also roasts its own coffee, a beautifully deep, rich and rounded brew. I admired the layer of lovely rich crema (corr) on my American as I took the first sip.
Then there is the home-style baking, and not just the conventional stuff like brownies and cheesecake, but a range that includes the eatery’s own sourdough bread, croissants, lots of little tasty sweet bite-size morsels, much of it gluten free for the intolerants.
The ambience is stylish, funky, buzzy. The digital nomads are out in force, sipping espressos before sending work to Singapore or Seoul or San Francisco.
The greeting is warm. You place your order at the counter, find a home and chill.
I had felt like eggs for breakfast and considered items like a breakfast burrito ‒ scrambled eggs, mushrooms, baby spinach, avo and cheddar in a tortilla ‒ or a breakfast bowl of scrambled eggs, avo, smoked salmon and nut sprinkle. Turkish eggs with whipped feta herby mushrooms and sautéed greens inspired too. There’s zucchini fritters with poached eggs and rocket. I was leaning in this direction.
For health nuts, there’s a variety of oats, including one with apple, and granolas. Smoothies, iced-tea coolers and freezers complete the health picture. There’s filled bagels, as well as French toast with fresh berries, grilled peaches and toasted almonds. Daily specials add interest.
But my eye spotted something you’ll find nowhere else in Durban ‒ a green chilli and mango toastie (R62). This was mature cheddar, red onion, mango chutney and pickled Jalapeños. What a treat! Great bread, great cheese and a really nice bite from the chilli. Yum.
I had to have a second coffee, and paired it with a good orange and almond cake with proper crème fraîche. I’ll be back for the fritters soon.
Where: 45 Lilian Ngoyi Road, Morningside
Open: Monday to Friday 6.30am-3pm, Saturday to Sunday 6.30am-2pm, Wednesday evenings 5pm-9pm
Call: 076 633 2993
A regular stopping point between home and office, I am a fan of its excellent coffees and proper bagels ‒ these are not bread rolls with a hole in them ‒ usually with salmon and cream cheese, although the hummus and roasted veg bagel is worth a visit. In winter, its home-made soups served with a couple of slices of toasted sourdough are another favourite.
Breakfast here ‒ served all day ‒ includes the likes of dippy eggs, or toast pastrami, roasted tomatoes and a poached egg, or a breakfast bagel with salmon, cream cheese, fresh leaves and an egg. Eggs can come with oyster mushrooms on toast, or there’s a full English, and naturally oats and granola feature too.
But my eye fell on the humble cheese and tomato toastie (R55). Served on their excellent bread, with top grade cheese, roasted tomatoes, fresh basil and mustard, this was a perfect lunch. There’s something about good cheese and mustard that works so well together; they give each other oomph, and the basil was an inspired addition, a Margherita sandwich if you will. A work colleague relished their salmon bagel.
Naturally, no trip here is complete without a take-home cheesecake, a loaf of ciabatta and a packet of Parmesan bread sticks. Often these don’t make it home.
Where: Shop 5 Moses Mabhida Stadium
Open: Monday to Saturday 7am-4.30pm
Call: 065 628 9560
In a hiatus between two jobs on North Beach, I discovered DesBaked Café at Moses Mabhida Stadium, a café outlet of Desiree Ngema’s bakery which opened in Pinetown in 2016. Ngema left the corporate world when she decided her “happy place” was creating beautiful and delicious “works of art”. Her bakery has flown ever since.
You may have bumped into her stand at some of Durban’s better markets.
The café is a tiny but modern coffee shop, fitted with a few tables inside and a few more flowing out onto the pavement. The even smaller kitchen counter has an array of beautiful cakes to choose from, along with a selection of simple toasted sandwiches. I eye out one with dark chocolate icing and a milk chocolate “ball” floating on top. There’s yummy looking biscuits, shortbreads and tartlets too. Then there’s the coffee machine.
I enjoy a lovely mellow but well-rounded coffee and a good toasted bacon and egg sandwich.
I had to try that chocolate cup cake ‒ I’d had Ngema’s red velvet ones at the iHeart Market and they were good. And I had to take home a packet of those delicious dark chocolate cookies. Another winner.
It’s a lovely spot to relax and take in the world. A guy comes out of the next door gym and orders a coffee. “I suppose after a hard session I can treat myself to a cake,” he tells the waitress.
I feel the same about the biscuits, and a treat they were.
The Independent on Saturday