The Boiler Room Cafe in Durban reviewed

The Taste Detectives check out a new Durban hotspot!


What is essentially a giant canteen to provide nourishment for the 3000 Office workers, is more like a triple volume industrial funk sun room with enormous slatted wooden doors that are swung open every morning. On the walls, more wooden slats with trees  planted inside. On the back wall there are two arty murals with a 9m long park bench below. A long subway tiled counter completes the modern canteen look. The Boiler Room Cafe is airy and oh-so-very-edgy.

The menu is chalked on several hanging blackboards for a quick in and out grazing experience. Perhaps it’s necessity for these office workers, but for me it’s an irresistible decision called “Must have”.

We kicked off with cappuccinos - excellent. This was followed by a Lamb Hotpot (deceptively simple), and Salmon Fishcakes. The latter was a tasty nibble with a dollop of zesty tartar, a few crisps and a green salad.

The hotpot was anything but, rather a Lamb Shoulder Lasagna, layered with sticky potato slices and carrots, floating in a delightful jus, cushioned next to long stemmed broccoli. I was intrigued by this clever dish. The red cabbage side was ever-so-gently pickled with a dash of jalapeño, resulting in a live wire dish. I wanted more of that tender lamb, a lot more. They topped it off with the crispy fatty bit of lamb. Stunning.

A Gorgonzola Pear & Pecan salad had a distinct 9th ave Bistro touch, in fact, this one tasted very much like the same one at their other parking lot in Avondale centre. Today they mislaid the candy nuts, but it was refreshing and naughty at the same time. Full on banting said my companions.

At this point we went into reverse gear and tried a Bacon & Egg bun with basil mayo. They also offer the same with Pork sausage and caramelized onions. This is on-the-go breakfast which you can polish off with one hand, while the other holds the essential cappuccino kick-start.

The pièce de résistance came in a container, a glass jar with Nutella cheesecake resting wickedly on none other than butter crumbled Oreo cookies! At this stage I ignored my dining companions as I held onto that glass jar for dear life. Inside were all the answers to the day’s pesky problems.

Would you indulge me for just another paragraph?

Nutella swirled into Cream Cheese and Cream with just the tiniest hint of lemon and vanilla, topped with a squirt of Cream and candied nuts. While the official answer was an Oreo crust, I beg to differ – something else was mixed in there, tilting it to utter decadence.  It was fabulous, nostalgic and comforting, and it was MINE.

If you’re nipping in for a business meeting, this is perfect fare. Portions aren’t huge, but appropriate for such occasions, priced in the 60′s and 70′s. And if you, like me, need a bit of TLC, just go for that cherry popping glass jar. I promise, all will be better in no time at all.

The Boiler Room Cafe was reviewed by The Taste Detectives.

Directions: Enter Gate 1 on Umgeni rd from the Northern side, go through the boom gates, straight ahead, then left, and left again into the parking lot. The Boiler Room is the building with the tall brick tower.



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