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.
The menu is fairly simple, but it’s augmented by a specials board that is brought to your table. Here there is a dazzling array of tasty morsels that keep many regulars entertained.
So while I was being told of dishes of baby clams and impossible ways with mussels, we enjoyed a selection of very good starters.
The paella (available as a starter or main R65/R130) was as it should be and packed with good ingredients – prawns, mussels, calamari, chicken and chourico. The rice was firm and nicely seasoned with saffron.
We really enjoyed a light potato gnocchi with plump prawns in a mustard seed and cream sauce, while the grilled calamari and chourico (R55) is a dish we always order here. The calamari is firm and nicely coloured, the chourico having plenty of guts.
The menu takes in options like Portuguese shrimps with garlic and chilli – a warning this has quite a hit – or white anchovies and roasted peppers on crostini. Spanish meatballs on a rosti are popular as is pork belly with crackling and a shot glass of apple sauce, or pork riblets. Starters range from R35 to R70 with R120 for a charcuterie plank for two. We often never get beyond starters, ordering a number of plates and sharing happily. The specials board too always has something to tempt.
On a previous visit we enjoyed the lamb loin on pea puree and spicy Spanish-style chicken wings (R40). Enjoyable if a shade cumin heavy. We have also tried the duck breast with crispy pancetta and lentils in a rich mustard sauce (R70), which was an instant hit. The skin was crisp, the breast succulent and the sauce had great depth. We mopped it all up with bread and fingers.
Mains are from the grill or the rotisserie. Many a time at Pintxada we have simply ordered a couple of portions of basted roast chicken (R120), which is deliciously flavourful and succulent. It comes with roast veg, which have been cooked under the rotating chickens so it scoops up the fat. A good peri-peri sauce comes on the side. In fact, one friend has lunch here and orders a chicken to take home for the family. It saves her cooking.
Fillet and rump, lamb shanks, line fish and salmon are also available for those who want to have a definite main course.
This time round we decided to share the eisbein (R140) which was on the specials board. it was a monstrous serving, the meat succulent and the skin nicely crisp. It was served with a good garlic mash and some more of those roasted vegetables, with a good, although slightly salty, gravy.
We were stuffed, but no trip to Pintxada is complete without coffee and churros (R37) – the fresh finger doughnuts of Spain – served with ice-cream and a rich chocolate sauce. The creme brulee (R47) is one of Durban’s best. I couldn’t resist it.- July 2017