Succulent chickens sizzling in the rotisserie

Delicious mussels

16 Chartwell Drive, Granada Square, Umhlanga
Call: 082 688 1310
Open: Noon-10pm daily. Cocktail hour 4pm-6pm weekdays

Frank Chemaly and a friend reminiscence over tapas and more at Pintxada. This review first appeared in the Independent on Saturday

A foodie friend wanted to tell me about her holiday to Spain and all the delicious tapas options she’d had there. So we decided to meet at Umhlanga’s very own tapas bar for lunch. To get us in the mood.
Pintxada is a stylish restaurant with distinct dining areas. You enter past the rotisserie with the cooking birds making a tempting statement. The front tables spill out onto the piazza, very European in style, while the bar is a meeting place for many locals. Cocktail hour in the late afternoons is always a hit in the village. In the back, the dining is more formal and intimate, but you can still be part of the vibe and scene.


Ukrainian architect Dinara Kasko uses her design skills to make edible art (pictured below). And it started with a 3-D printer. This is an edited version a story first published in The Independent, London on June 15. Find useful links at the bottom of the story.

There can be few artisans as original as Dinara Kasko. A Ukrainian architect who originally studied the geometry of buildings and furniture, Dinara embarked on an ambitious mid-career change when she decided to apply the things she’d learnt at university to baking cakes.
“I’ve only been baking for five years,” she says. “I just started out making ordinary cakes, but then I thought, why not try to do something new and special?


Reception area at Vasco’s Restaurant with a reception desk modelled on a Zulu pot

All you can eat seafood at Vasco’s Restaurant, which is prepared to your personal pleasure

Ingredients to build your own perfect salad

Vasco’s Restaurant
Hilton Hotel
12-14 Walnut Road, Durban
Call 031-336-8100

The Hilton hotel has relaunched its buffet restaurant and invites diners to go on an adventure with both local and international flavours writes Ingrid Shevlin

Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama may have had only the briefest contact with Durban, but it was enough to inspire Vasco’s, the new restaurant at the Hilton Hotel in Durban.
According to a local tourist internet site, the explorer took one look at the dense Mangrove swamps surrounding Durban’s bay, named the bay “Terra do Natal”, (Christmas Country) and promptly left, having already established a good enough port at Maputo.
But I suppose you could say the restaurant’s food is designed to be as adventurous as the explorer himself and to celebrate the wonderful fusion of Durban’s cultures as well as the best of South African and international contemporary cooking.
Basically, Vasco’s is a buffet restaurant that includes an on-the-spot tandoori oven and a live cooking station. There’s also a limited al a carte menu.
The theme of the all-you-can-eat buffet changes nightly. On Friday, the night we were there as guests of the Hilton hotel, it was seafood. On Saturdays it’s curries while the terrace sometimes hosts braai evenings.
Most people love buffets because it’s easy eating – you can choose with your eyes – it’s a relatively cheap way to eat, you have access to many different dishes and flavours and there is no limit to how much you can eat.
I personally prefer to eat al a carte because I find the range of choice at buffets somewhat daunting and because the food sometimes hangs around a bit, curling at the edges. .


The dramatic moment our chateau briand is flamed in brandy

The dramatic moment our chateau briand is flamed in brandy

Chateau briand: enough steak to feed a rugby team

Chateau briand: enough steak to feed a rugby team

32 Floor, John Ross House, Central Durban
Call 031 368 2275

We promised food writer Frank Chemaly an adventure and pretty much ended up with a disaster. Terrible service and lacklustre food. I think the Roma Revolving should be euthanised. Frank hopes he never has to return, but he does offer (below) his version of the classic Avocado Ritz in the spirit of something good can come of something bad. Here he offers his view of our experience. Below is mine….. 

Was promised an adventure. We were going to dinner on Saturday night. Don’t know where, do know when. “Pick you up at 6.30” read the SMS said. Sounds like fun. And so our chariot arrived and started heading for town. Hmm. Cargo Hold? No. Buds on the Bay – no. Julios on the Bay? Big no. That’s not an adventure. That’s masochism. Royal Natal. No, that was
plan B. The Ace Butchery? We all laugh.


Deconstructed baklava

Deconstructed baklava. Or perhaps reconstructed. Whatever, nothing like the traditional baklava you know and love

54 Adelaide Tambo Drive, Durban North
Call 031 007 0375

Nikos offers hearty, tasty food that is perfect to share. Great place for a celebration, writes Ingrid Shevlin

Nikos is a fun and vibey place to eat. It  was pumping the day we lunched there – and that was four days after its opening. Diners poured in and out in an endless stream and staff rushed around madly like headless chickens. But there was an order to it all and our food came out the kitchen surprisingly quickly. Too quickly in the case of our mains, which arrived while we were still eating our starters
But no matter. The food is so mix-and-match that all the flavours blended together seamlessly. For instance, I topped my chicken souvlaki with dollops of htipiti dip and loved it.
I was lunching with friend Meleney Cunniff, the daughter and the granddaughter. Lovely Lilly may only be six months old, but she is already a seasoned diner, even if she does bring her own food. In this case pureed butternut, carrots, sweet potato and chicken.
Eating out with a baby can be challenging and Nikos is a little too crammed and frenetic to make it a comfortable place to take babies or toddlers and all their paraphernalia. Remember that. But we coped, thanks to our waitress, Bridget, who was outstandingly efficient and patient.
But Nikos is not without its peculiarities – and it’s far from being fine dining.
Serving food in enamel dishes, for instance, is charming. Up to a point. And if you are going to offer tea, get some teapots.