When the twins have triplets

Caesar salad with lashings of Parmesan.

Caesar salad with lashings of Parmesan.

Published Apr 28, 2024


Butcher & Wine

Where: New Salt Rock Centre, New Salt Rock Road, Salt Rock

Open: Tuesday to Sunday lunch and dinner

Call: 081 799 8750

It took us almost an hour-and-a-half to get to Salt Rock. The M4 was closed again. Durban North was a shambles. The N2 is clogged with roadworks and there are stop/goes at Salt Rock. But the drive turned out to be worth it.

Food writer Ingrid Shevlin and I were invited to lunch at the newly opened Butcher & Wine in the new Checkers Centre in the fast metropolising village.

The restaurant is owned by twin brothers Andile and Ayanda Ngidi, founders of the La Vie Hospitality Group, who will be remembered for the restaurant Dante in uMhlanga.

Marrow royale with crisp ciabatta.

The brothers have now opened not one, but three outlets in Salt Rock: Donna Modern Italian, Butcher & Wine and the Saint Yves Cocktail Bar. The three complement each other nicely. Donna is the most casual and even has a kids’ playground. It’s comfortable and charming and has a simple menu of good Italian staples.

The Butcher & Wine is a smarter affair with bottles from the wine list highlighted in display shelving all the way across the back wall. It’s all dark colours and serious intent with dramatic lighting. The cocktail bar is similar, a place to relax and chill before or after dinner. The three flow naturally into each other.

Prawn linguine in garlic, olive oil, chilli and lemon.

Andile is a charming and chatty host. We’re soon swopping food experiences.

The menu is small and naturally steakhouse-orientated, but covers most bases. There are about five starters and some salads, a selection of steak cuts ‒ rump, sirloin, ribeye, fillet and T-bone ‒ along with lamb chops and peri-peri chicken. Burgers, either beef, chicken, mushroom or falafel, complete the picture.

Four or five seafood dishes add interest, including an Asian-inspired salmon with lemongrass, ginger, chilli, coriander and soya; kingklip done in a lemon butter and caper sauce; calamari and grilled prawns. There are combos available for those who want to mix and match.

Rump steak with pepper sauce, crispy onion rings and chips.

If you feel like something a little lighter, there’s a full sushi menu, and some poke bowl options. Ingrid and I are just not big on sushi. But there was plenty of it leaving the kitchen.

For starters I was tempted by the springbok symphony ‒ slices of thinly sliced springbok carpaccio. There’s a calamari starter, chicken livers and something with brinjal slices. Instead I go for the marrow royale, topped with café de Paris butter and served with slices of ciabatta (R115). It’s a decent sized bone, deliciously rich and buttery, mopped up with those nice crisp pieces of toast.

Panna cotta with berry coulis and fresh grapes.

Ingrid falls for the Caesar salad (R105) which is everything it should be. Crisp Romaine lettuce, crunchy garlic croutons, anchovies and a generous coating of freshly grated Parmesan. Another salad that caught my eye was the tabbouleh tapestry, billed as a mosaic of middle eastern flavours dressed in olive oil and lemon juice. It’s something you don’t often see on Durban menus and a good tabbouleh is lovely. Next time.

For mains I look no further than the 300g rump (R210) with pepper sauce (R40). Sauces could have included the likes of blue cheese, mushroom or chimichurri. Cooked a perfect rare, the steak was full-flavoured, the hand-cut chips crisp and the sauce had a good pepper bite. It came topped with beautiful crisp onion rings.

A pleasantly boozy tiramisu.

Ingrid ordered the prawn linguine (R275) from Donna next door which was another winner. A light pasta done simply in olive oil, garlic, lemon and a hint of chilli. It’s exactly as she likes her pasta sauces, not swimming in cream or heavy, overly reduced tomato sauces, or worse, both.

The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, the combination of flavours very pleasing. I’m going to visit the Italian side soon.

We left space for dessert.

Butcher & Wine offers a cheesecake or that uniquely South African peppermint crisp tart ‒ yes it’s good to have childhood memories back on the dessert list ‒ but we spotted a couple of desserts on the Italian side. A good boozy tiramisu (R90) for Ingrid, and a lovely panna cotta (R85) for me. This was a perfectly light and wobbly milk pudding tarted up with good berry coulis and fresh grapes. What’s not to like?

Food: 4

Service: 3 ½

Ambience: 4

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