Forget the parties and the fashion- a major part of the Vodacom Durban July is food and drink. Old friends meet up for brunch, dinner and sundowners before they go on a weekend long bender of debauchery and revelry. From those arriving at their hotels and deciding to meet up with friends at an upmarket shisanyama, to those who prefer a less known eatery where they can have some good food without it costing them an arm and a leg; there really is something for everyone. Since last year’s July, there have been a number of establishments that have opened up and have become quite popular with the locals. As most of you know, the best way to experience a city, is to be one with the locals. Stay away from the flashier nightlife (and brunch-y) areas and rather embrace the Durban CBD. You will be surprised what you will get to experience
Vascos- Hilton Hotel
Vascos is the Hilton Hotel’s new buffet restaurant. Before you go ‘next’, there’s also an a la carte menu if their buffet offering is not what you like. I am suggesting that you go to Vascos tonight because every Friday, they host a seafood evening. I recently went to the restaurant and not being a fan of buffets, I made great use of their on-the-spot tandoori oven and live cooking station. Try their spicy prawns and the freshly made naan bread. The buffet offering is quite extensive and if you are a fan, then you will feel at home.
Surf Riders Cafe, Addington Beach Promenade
Forget about the boring hotel breakfast and go exploring the town for a brunch meal that will induce envy. Sure, Surf Riders Cafe is prominent and not-so new anymore, but they are always adding new items to their menu, which makes it a different experience every few months. I always suggest that you go to a great spot that has amazing food before you hit the Greyville Racecourse and what better way than with Surf Riders’ famous burgers, their Benedicts- egg, avocado or bacon? It’s millennial avocado toast heaven. Plus it’s a balanced meal that should start your day off on a good note.
The Joint Jazz Café- 98 OR Tambo Parade (Promenade)
It’s the new upmarket restaurant where shisanyama meets African, Indian and Mexican cuisine and it’s quickly became a favourite with many Durbanites. Good food, an amazing view, plus great music? It’s a win-win for everyone. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a weekend of heavy partying. Tyr the Nyama Choma (Kenyan shisanyama) served in a taco.
127 on Helen Joseph Rd (Davenport)
Everyone is obsessed with Florida Road, yet just across the Berea bridge, there’s a street that I think is even better and that’s the old Davenport Road. Now Helen Joseph, the street has a number of great spots- coffee shops, a fine dining restaurant, sushi bar and of course BARS. On my radar is 127 on Davenport and it’s a cool place loved by the youth of Durban. It’s very cosmopolitan and the drinks are also great. Big on cocktails, even those of us who don’t drink alcohol, have great options.
Durban is starting to hold its own as a foodie city and we are slowly showing South Africa just how diverse our offering really is.