There is a fine tradition amongst old friends of meeting for tea and cake. So, when a friend says “Where should we meet?” what do you say? I thought I would give you some ideas about the best cake spots in Durban as many of us would have resolved to see our friends more often in the new year.
On Friday, I met up with an old school and university friend at Nourish in Westville. I have often been to Nourish in Kensington Drive in Durban North and was a big fan when it was in Musgrave Road but the Westville restaurant is the original and I had high hopes. I wasn’t disappointed. I ordered the chocolate cake covered in melted Belgian chocolate. Often, restaurants skimp on the chocolate sauce but at Nourish, the cake arrived almost drowned in real melted Belgian chocolate, not watery Robertson’s squeezy sauce trying to masquerade as the real thing, a bit like a gawky teenager dressed up as James Bond for a party. No, this was the real McCoy and I was delighted. The cake itself was fresh and fluffy and served as two layers separated by a filling of strawberries and cream and topped with the sauce. I was completely in heaven and will be back for another portion soon. My friend had scones, which arrived with generous portions of cheese, jam and cream on the side, allowing you to fill up your scone to your taste. We’re talking cake here, so I am not going to comment on the rest of the menu – it’ll give me an excuse to go back for a meal (and cake for dessert, of course.) Nourish is in Salibury Ave in Westville. Call them on 031 -2666 124.
As regular readers will know, the Antique Cafe is one of my favourite spots. Tea is served in antique crockery as you sit outside in the garden listening to a water feature trickle gently in the background. On a rainy day, you can sit inside and admire the vintage decor which is eclectic and unusual. There is always a surprise discovery, no matter how often you go there. In terms of cake, the Antique Cafe has two great options, in my opinion. First, the chilli-chocolate hot pot is fabulous! This decadent treat is a cake with a chocolate-volcano type centre which is returned to the oven as you order it. This results in a real experience: as you push your fork into the sponge to take a bite, chocolate erupts from the centre. The element that makes this cake noteworthy is the fact that it is chilli. Very chilli. In fact you can feel it burning your gullet all the way down. Now, this is not as unpleasant as it sounds as the taste of the chocolate is intensified by the chilli. It’s delicious, honestly. If this non-curry eater can manage, so can you. The bee sting is the other cake offering worth a mention. A bee hive shaped dessert, it is served smothered in cream and is quite delish, too. The Antique Cafe is at Churchill House, just off Windemere Road and can be contacted on 031 303 5959.
If that chilli chocolate hotpot sounds divine but you really don’t fancy the chilli, Spiga D’Oro has a chocolate volcano without the chilli which is quite a treat. Served covered in patterned wax paper, it is rich and decadent and I have often been unable to finsih it. It is filled with real chocate which comes oozing out throught the cake and tastes like manna from heaven. Yes, it is that good! Try it next time you are there or go especially for it. Spiga generally needs no introduction, I am sure. They are one of the best authentic Italian restaurants in South Africa and are always busy, even after an extension of their premises. Us regualars are delighted with the increase in capacity because we are able to secure a table much more quickly these days as Spiga does not take bookings. This is not a problem as it has a great vibe and you are quite happy to stand at one of their high pavement chairs having a drink while you wait. At afternoon tea time, however, you will find a table very easily as the busy time is dinner. Spiga is on Florida Road and you can call them on 031 303 95 11 (but only for take away orders – no bookings, remember!)
I have had one other remarkable slice of cake recently, at Fortune’s Cafe in Windemere Centre. The cake in question was three layers of fresh light chocolate cake smothered in Bar One sauce. Not all Bar One sauce was created equal and you get many that are simply posing as the real thing. This however was the real deal. How can one tell? Bar One has a lot of caramel and if the saucei s truly melted Bar One, it takes on a caramelly texture which is quite different from chocolate icing. The portion was generous and the price reasonable. Windemere Centre is also very pleasant. They often have a pianist playing and it doesn’t get very busy. They have a Checkers, Clicks and Mr Price so it is a good one to remember when you want to just pop in for a few things. Do stop at Fortune’s for the Bar One cake, too. Fortune’s can be contacted on 031 312 0773.
Another obvious place for divine cakes is the Oyster Box’s high tea. This is probably a pricey option for a catch up session but there are few treats that can beat it. Click here to read more about my high tea experience a couple of months ago.
Have you had any great cakes in Durban? Please let me know if you have and I will bodly go out and sample. As you have guessed, this will be a great hardship but I will do it for all of you, my readers… I believe the high tea at the St James on Venice is wonderful so will sample that soon and let you know. Happy tea times!