eYadini Lounge is a party venue, hosting events that become the talk of uMlazi, and it is during these sessions that it’s the best time to visit.
Set in a double-storey house, it stands out from its surroundings. At night the venue transforms itself into a dynamic nightclub, with sounds, DJ line-ups and… shisa nyama.
Mjay, aka Jabulani, is a hands-on owner who is charismatic and, understandably, popular with his patrons, adding as he does to the vibe and culture of uMlazi. He swears his meat is grilled in ‘the eYadini way’, and his menu includes a selection of traditionally inspired dishes with some more contemporary options.
The meat selection was fresh and well presented, with Mjay personally there to weigh my order. Options included lamb, beef, wors, chicken and liver, and stews of lamb and beef. The pap was well seasoned, and the dumplings soft and tasty. I also enjoyed the phutu with chakalaka, and the butternut – this was the only venue I judged that offered this vegetable, so I was happy. Otherwise the sides were a bit limited to green salad, rice and coleslaw. But, as I mentioned, this is a place to party, dance and live life… not to eat vegetables.
We chilled and people-watched from one of the decks overlooking the entrance, a popular place to see who is coming in, because this is a place to meet people and embrace life. With a large selection of drinks ranging from the quaffable to the outright expensive, it’s easy to have a party - and the food helps you have a great time.
My meat was perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside while still tender inside, which can be quite a rare occurrence at shisa nyamas. I loved the wooden serving boards and large knife with chillies and salt, because the whole appeal about shisa nyama is smooshing your fingers into the different textures, mixing the flavours and cuts and creating unexpected flavour explosions with each mouthful.
The food was reasonably priced and plentiful, and service was prompt and friendly. There are private executive rooms upstairs for the well-heeled glitterati, and the venue attracts a bevy of pretty ladies on party nights, where the dancing and the music can be as hot as Durban in February. (HOT)
We ate far too much, and licked our fingers in the way greedy people who love good food do, which is always a good indication. I will be looking forward to the next party night, and holding my breath for when my favourite DJ will be making an appearance.
Food costs around R100 per person. Drinks ranged from reasonable to very expensive and selection included big name brands. There is an ATM just outside the gate. Oddly, eYandini auctions off cars on the premises during the day. Ample secure parking available.
Judged by: Andrew Draper.