Lucky at Lola’s

I’ve known the brain behind Lola’s Bistro since she was a little sister to a rather fabulous friend of mine (spoiler: fabulous runs in their family). So it was with great glee that I, along with a selected crowd of Durban’s best blogger crew popped in for a tasting dinner menu at Lola’s this week.

Here’s the thing you don’t know about Lola’s: It’s been a lifelong dream for Lisa to own her own coffee shop. After travelling abroad and saving up, she came home and opened up Lola’s coffee shop. After an interesting turn of events, that saw Lola’s being highly successful and then shut down by the landlord, Lisa didn’t take this as a sign to kill her dream. Instead, she grew it, and snapped up an opportunity to open a full-scale restaurant at Quarters Hotel in Florida Road.

Lola's Bistro Bar

It was good catching up with her, and my fellow fun friends but, once the food came out, it was really quiet. Why? Because when you have great (not just good, GREAT) food set before you, it’s impolite to chew and chat simultaneously. Giving us a glimpse into the menu, and the thought processes that go into creating it, I’m very certain that this new eatery is in darn good hands.

Lola's Bistro Interesting spaces


The highlights, for me:

*Gin and Tonic on tap from Standeaven Brewery.

*Wasabi Mash Balls – I’m told she dreamt about this creation and now you can enjoy them at Lola’s

*Espresso Brulee – way to ruin every other brulee I’ve ever had.

*Chocolate Lava Cake – the most melty-on-the-inside-magnificent-on-the-outside one I’ve ever had.

*Watching up close as I see my friend succeed at making her dream come true, despite a range of obstacles. She’s not deterred by them – she’s inspired by them.


The lowlights, for me:

*That I woke up the next morning and didn’t have a healthy stack of Wasabi Mash Balls to feast on.

*Dinner at home the next night was terribly boring.


Lola’s sets out to create a fine dining menu that’s affordable, while guests enjoy an amiable setting that’s not frantic, but friendly. Catch up with Lola’s online here and here but, do yourself a favour and go eat there (also, invite me along, please). 


Disclaimer: I was invited to enjoy a tasting menu at Lola’s along with a select group of Durban bloggers during November 2015. This is not a paid-for review. 


More on Camden031

I’ve written about Camden031 before but today was a pretty extra special day so I’m writing about them again (more on why I popped in at a later stage…). I’m writing about them this evening because, after a morning of fongoolery (it’s a word!) on all fronts, I popped in to get a little inside look at what makes this little black and yellow place tick, and they turned my Tuesday-that-was-all-too-much-like-a-Monday into a sweet day. Just for the record, because I get asked this, this is not a sponsored post nor was I asked to write it.

By now, thanks to a riproaring trade during their first few weeks of being open, you’ve probably heard the words “comedy”; “cuisine” and “good times” bandied about. But, as I learnt today, Camden031 isn’t just your typical night out (it’s open during the day too!)

I’ve known one of the brains behind it, Glen, for years. The other brain behind Camden031? Dave Boyter, who I met today. What’s become very apparent to me after chatting with both of them is that they have not ventured into the insane world of running an establishment with an “eyes closed and hope for the best” approach. Glen and Dave share a deep love for making fine food, and I fear that when I take my kid down there for lunch, she’s probably going to give me a speech about how my culinary skills could do with some work (Thanks guys :P). More than that, they plan for and actively participate in every facet of the establishment’s operations.

The Stanhope. This might just be one the best pictures I’ve ever taken.

Whilst their lineup of events has been, up until this point, primarily focused on stand up comedy and related entertainment, they’re not stopping there. Glen told me today:

“We’ve got a venue that can offer Durban a diverse set of entertainment. We’re looking forward to hosting musicians, comedians and a bunch of events that’ll give our city’s people a unique place to have a little fun”. 

In chatting to Dave, his extreme (he’s not just an excellent chef, he’s also into extreme sports!) devotion to getting things right and creating good in the world is evident. When I asked him about his approach to food, he said:

“Food is life…and life is life. We have to take the tumbles, try everything and confront risks. A lot of the time, very exciting things lie beyond taking that first step!”

As for the food (because, let’s be honest now, I like being fed…), that’s where the Camden031 team like to take risks. I enjoyed an incredible fig-grape-roasted-almond-camembert dessert that I’m currently daydreaming about it again, and sampled some of Dave’s incredible ginger vanilla vodka. He makes it himself, using vanilla pods brought in from Madagascar.

Dave and Glen

As for the rest of the menu, Dave and Glen create new menus each week, making use of fresh seasonal produce and experimenting with what’s available locally.

I want to eat this every day, for the rest of my life.

Maybe the best part for me about Camden031 is that it’s not just a night-time outing. It’s also open during the day for coffee, lunch, cocktails and – yes – there’s free WiFi. Many people have said that Camden031 will be the home of Durban’s comedy scene and I believe that too. But I think it’s becoming a little bigger than just a comedy venue – for me, who is not the late night joller she once was, I see this place as being the “nightclub that’s grown up”.

Camden031 has quite an event lineup over the next few weeks, including Thursday’s Diners/Drive-ins & Dinner, comedy events over the weekend and a scrub-up Sunday lunch too.

I’m looking forward to spending more time down at Camden031 and, if you’re in Durban, I think you should too. 





Another Spiga = Another Smile.

My family are wannabe foodies. In fact, we all share a common dream that if we could be restaurant critics, we’d have the ideal career for all of us. Spiga d’Oro – or, as us Durbanites know it best – as Spiga – is a firm favourite on our list of places to eat.

So when we heard they were opening up a second branch in Durban North, we jumped at the chance to try it out, on a quiet Saturday evening with a couple of other Durbanite food-lovers.

I love this deck!

Spiga D’Oro Florida Road is renowned for it’s late night hustle, excellent service and hearty food. Spiga D’Oro Durban North does not depart from that atmosphere, though. It expands upon it.

With the same menu as is served at the Florida Road branch, and the same smiling service we’re accustomed to, it was easy to settle in and select our dinners for the evening. But what is different, is the venue. This venue lends itself more to a relaxed vibe, and I can foresee it becoming a favourite family spot very soon. With it’s large deck and ample space for bigger tables, I think it’ll also be excellent for functions.

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Simply put, it’s gorgeous. Airy, with an interesting ceiling and skylights to let the sunshine in, it still retains that signature Spiga cosiness we all know and love. They’ve got big plans for this space, that will see them growing their operations into a variety of interesting things (you’ll have to wait and see – trust me, it’s worth the wait!)

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 14.17.01 PM

For the meantime though, go there. Go and enjoy that same Spiga love you’d expect and relax in their gorgeous new Durban North setting. You’ll find the Durban North branch of Spiga D’Oro in  Mackeurtan Avenue.