While Durban is not the food capital of the country, it still boasts really good restaurants, with great food and depending on the vibe you are looking for, a great ambience.
Take the three recently opened restaurants in the city- Culture, Gourmet Inc. and Wish on Florida.
We recently attended the launches of all three restaurants to see what they are offering patrons this season.
WISH ON FLORIDA- 198-200 Florida Road Durban
Wish on Florida is a brand new restaurant that opened in a prime spot on the famous Florida Road strip. The address is the former home of the iconic Italian restaurant, Spiga and Wish will try it’s best to make sure it impresses patrons.
At the launch party on Thursday, the restaurant pulled out the stops to make sure they impressed their guests. Even the non-stop deluge couldn’t prevent Durban’s socialites and VIPs from making their way to the launch.
This is an Italian restaurant and it's evident that no cost has been spared becaue the decor already makes it feel homely. The chairs are comfortable and you also have an option to sit on sofas. The light fixtures are made of wood and they give the establishment a nice glow. During the day there is an open space that provides some great natural light, making it perfect for selfies.
The wishing well in the middle of the restaurant will be a favourite feature. Patrons can purchase coins and make a wish. It's a clever play on the restaurant's name... Or probably where the owners got the name of the restaurant.
So- the food.
For starters we had a focaccia, topped with cheese. I was really hungry when the food finally came (the event started late because of the rain), that I could have eaten the whole thing.
I loved how the base was perfectly seasoned (I tasted a bit of rosemary in the bread) and the cheese topping wasn't gooey, which I appreciated.
For mains I chose to have their basil pesto and chicken pasta. It's an Italian restaurant and with it being at the famous address, I wanted to see how well (or badly) they would fare.
I don't regret my choice. Even though I would have preferred tagaliatelle, I still enjoyed the penne pasta, which was cooked perfectly al dente and it wasn't swimming in the creamy pasta sauce. The basil pesto gave it the kick it needed to cut out the creaminess and provide the flavour.
The portion sizes are manageable, something the calory counters will be happy with.
I did, however, crack a bit of black better and some salt, which I rarely ever do.
I did wish that they had more options of alcohol free beverages. In the age where mindful drinking is a major trend and more people are choosing to not have alcohol, they should consider getting some de-alcoholised wines and non-alcoholic spirits and sparkling wines. They are widely available in the market.
Serving fruit cocktail juice doesn't cut it anymore. There are so many great mixologists who have created delicious mocktails that aren't laden with sugar.
I loved the service from the waitrons. I noticed that they have poached a number of good waiters from some of Durban's top restaurants and it's good to see they value great service.
They do need to beef up (no pun intended) their menu. It's very slim pickings (refer to the picture above) and that could be their undoing. Variety is king and if you want your patrons to keep coming back, give them options.
Even so, its probably going to be the hottest food spot in Durban this summer and I'm expecting for it to be where all the city's trendy, rich and somewhat famous, will be gathering during the festive season.