Eggs are cracked and dropped into bowls, before they are whisked with cream; all kinds of cured meat are precariously sliced and laid out on already groaning cheese boards. Mimosas, bloody marys and coffee are prepared. And because it’s Bart Bass’s legendary brunch, there’s Beluga caviar.
A decade later, that episode is still one that many think about when they talk about brunch and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is credited for making the meal mainstream. Not that it’s new. No. Brunch is the favoured meal of those who choose to sleep in and wake up when it’s too late for breakfast and too early for lunch. Brunch then became a thing.
It has gone from simple eggs Benedict, toast and bacon served with bubbly spiked with orange juice, to berries and cream topped waffles, customised cereal bowls, perfectly poached eggs, salmon gravlax, various pastries and smashed avocado on sourdough toast.
The Instagram worthiness of your brunch has become as important as the meal.
If it’s not worth sharing, then it’s probably not worth eating, goes the adage.
Brunch culture in Durban has also boomed, with many restaurants offering their take on the now popular meal. With so many great brunch restaurants, these are the ones I suggest you go to.
PARC CAFÈ, 394 Esther Roberts Road, Glenwood
Few would disagree that Parc Café serves some of the best food in the city. It’s almost always the first option when you think about where to go for some delicious food in a relaxed setting.
Parc is even more legendary for their brunch. I suggest you try the really popular Not-so-Benedict, which is their poached eggs, bacon, lemon hollandaise and capers served with rye or potato-and-rosemary ciabatta bread from Glenwood Bakery.
There are vegetarian and vegan options too.
Tue-Fri: 7.30pm to 4pm and Sat-Sun: 8am-2pm
ANTIQUE CAFE, Churchill House, 93 Churchill Road, Windermere
Some say Antique Cafe is the best kept secret in Durban and I tend to agree. It’s become the one spot I always suggest when people ask me for a restaurant that won’t be filled with people.
Housed in the charming Churchill House, Antique Cafe is known for its great coffee, pastries and, of course, brunch. I would suggest you have their Mediterranean shakshuka, made with brinjals, vine tomatoes, onions, garlic, red peppers, avocado and served with their paratha flatbread.
MAHÃ CAFÈ , 5 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Point
I don’t think there’s an establishment that has rocked the Durban food scene like this café. People aren’t even turning up their noses that the eatery is in the Point area. It’s probably one of the factors that lends the venue its popularity.
And nothing beats the food by chef Charlie Lakin. From their freshly baked breads and pastries to their varied breakfast menu, it has endless options. I suggest their roasted heirloom tomatoes on grilled sourdough ciabatta, rocket and purple runner beans topped with a fried egg and chorizo crumble.
Mon-Wed: 6am-4pm. Thurs -Sun: 6am-6pm.
North of Durban
MARY & JOE, Shop 9, Lighthouse Quarter, 14 Chartwell Drive, uMhlanga Rocks
uMhlanga Village is littered with great restaurants and Mary & Joe has to be one of the best on the strip. It’s comfy bistro vibe is what has made it popular with so many Durbanites, as has its menu.
From personalised omelettes and eggs Benedict to a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, brunch is serious business here. Porridge is having a moment and Mary & Joe have cleverly capitalised by having it on their menu. Try their creamy oats with stewed cinnamon apples, coconut cream and toasted almond flakes.
OSCARS Cafe Hillcrest, Shop A7 Lillies Quarter, Old Main Road, Hillcrest
Oscars is synonymous with good food, locally sourced and produced. It’s one of the first restaurants in Durban that prioritized artisanal produce and it’s evident in the food they cook, the freshest ingredients means the best food.
They have an extensive breakfast menu ranging from smoothies to health breakfasts, pastries and, of course, their brunch worthy meals. It would go with their Oscars Bagel, which is an open bagel topped with bacon, grilled onion, mushroom, poached eggs and grated Parmesan.