If you like your coffee rich and strong Duke & Duchess is the place to go. Oh, and you can also pick up a motorbike to take home. By Ingrid Shevlin
DUKE & DUCHESS MOTORCYCLES
2, Outlet Park, 59 Meridian Drive, Umhlanga
Call 031 584 7411
Open: Monday to Saturday 7am to 4.30pm (closes 1 pm Saturday)
I was trawling through the internet trying to find a menu for Duke & Duchess, the cafe part, but found nothing. Nada. They didn’t even have one on their own Facebook page.
This was in an attempt to keep you informed. So, sorry.
Instead I came across a short insert about the cafe screened by iTEN TV for their programme called Hashtag Durban, which was painful. A young woman asks the cafe manager, Scott (no surname given) a couple of questions, and he answers. There’s no interaction, no chatting or responding to the answers. It was like they were reading from a script.
But don’t let that put you off. Duke & Duchess Motorcycles is a really cool place that primarily sells motorbikes. It just so happens they also serve great cafe food (thank’s to Scott, who’s surname is actually Bain, who is also a chef) and seriously good coffee.
So good they won top place in the North Coast category in this year’s Cafe Society competition run by the Sunday Tribune (the competition I started).
And I can vouch that their coffee is pretty good. And pretty strong too, so it’s not for those who prefer a South African milky. As far as I remember they use a Colombo brand, Aggressive Chocolate. So, while it’s strong it’s not bitter and the foam and latte art are perfect.
I went there one recent Saturday with a friend. It was packed. In fact we took the last table. The clientele was mixed. Young and trendy predominately, but also some stylish older people. Like my friend an I.
Not enough bikers in black leather and tattoos, though. Now bikers look like everybody else.
I met a “real biker” when I was writing an article on Durban’s biker fraternity many years ago. He was young, German and wore his blonde hair in dreadlocks. He wore black leather from head (a cap) to toe (boots). The only flesh he exposed were his forearms which revealed his somewhat inept attempts at DIY tattooing. He had a minor fascination with me.
One night he suggested we go to dinner. We went somewhere in Musgrave centre, I can’t remember where now. As soon as we walked through the door, the restaurant literally fell silent and throughout the meal every diner’s eye was trained on us. It was awkward, but also funny. That’s a real biker.
Duke & Duchess’s decor is warehouse chic with high rafter-style ceilings and a mezzanine level where the motorbikes and accessories are displayed. There’s also a barber.
The cafe, downstairs, has mismatching wooden tables and chairs. There’s also a long counter with espresso machines and cakes and cookies. The day we were there the staff were kept running trying to keep up with orders. There was a great buzz.
I have an old menu and its pretty similar to what’s served now. Prices very reasonable. A seasonal fruit platter for breakfast with a mint and lime dressing, homemade granola and low GI oats served with roasted seeds and berry compote. Also the usual eggs and bacon.
My friend and I opted for half an avo served on a slice of toasted ciabatta, topped with two poached eggs and bacon, R56 each. It was presented and prepared perfectly.
There are also lunch options with the likes of prego chicken roll, open sandwiches, slow braised pork ribs and a bunny chow. Their cakes are good too. On an earlier visit Scott made a carrot cake with crushed pineapple. It was dense and delicious,
The coffee choices are wide, from double expresso, macchiato and cortado to Americano and mochaccino (with coca). Also iced coffee options.
If you like good coffee and food, Duke & Duchess is the place to go. If you want to meet a tattooed biker, I don’t know.