They say first impressions last forever – I hope so. Candlelit tables sporting crisp white table
cloths, polished glassware and the signature left handed place settings greet diners upon arrival at Café 1999 on Durban’s Berea.
I am a sucker for the whole package – and
they have it ALL here. Fab décor – fab
music – fab service and a most importantly a fab menu. I was super delighted to be able to order a favourite wine of mine off
their impressive wine list and so we found ourselves sipping ice cold Ataraxia
by Kevin Grant in no time.
Their menu is exciting and different taking us on a whirl
around Spain, Italy and the Orient. Sam, our waitron, had us munching away on our starters in no time. I just love mussels and to have their fresh mussels in white wine and cream
was a joy and a testament to Sean and Marcelle’s commitment to seasonal and fresh ingredients. Their menu comes with a polite warning that,
should an ingredient not be freshly available, you won’t find it on your
plate. The Turkish figs stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in Parma ham –
were delectable “bocconcini” that
complemented our wine like a dream.
The restaurant was filled with smiley, happy people and the
ambient lighting and great music just turned our evening into an
uber-pleasurable evening. We were
blessed last Thursday evening in Durban – with a gentle cool breeze and very
little humidity. Everyone in the 80 seat restaurant was happy,
laughing and enjoying themselves and the cool air immensely.
We ordered the Chermoula grilled lamb loin medallions with
pancetta risotto and a warm feta, mint and pea puree finished with a rosemary
jus. The lamb was cooked perfectly and
was juicy and delicious. The risotto was
a little overcooked – but equally tasty.
I feasted on the fresh ruby red seared tuna with black beans and spinach
– the tuna was amazingly fresh and melted in the mouth. We shared a crisp and tasty salad of roasted
beetroot, apple, celery “leaves” and gorgonzola – which I particularly enjoyed.
Alas, neither of us could manage a dessert, but the gorgeous
young man at the table next to us happily rated his triple chocolate brownie
with white chocolate & poppy seed ice cream as “totally awesome”! All in all Sean and Marcelle have created a
restaurant to make memories in. It’s hip
and trendy and yet comfortable and relaxing (great chairs!)
They offer an amazing lunch time special at a
ridiculous R100 a head including
a glass of wine that changes every week – AND
they offer outside catering (check out their website here.) It’s clear
that they are passionate about their craft and it’s clear that they are
committed to great tasting, creative and beautifully presented innovative food.
Find out what else is happening in Durban here.
Café 1999 was reviewed by Janice Tripepi. Check out her INSANELY good food blog here.