Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bellevue Market

Bellevue Market is the place to be tomorrow evening. Every last Friday of the month you can wine and dine underneath the stars while listening to live music. My first visit to the market was last month and I am so sad that I am missing tomorrow night as I am on call :(

Bellevue Market
 
It starts at 16:00. Perfect to head over straight after work. Start off with a glass of wine, craft beer or even gin cocktails. My favourite was a pomegranate flavoured gin. While you are getting in the mood browse through various clothes and décor stalls.  There's ample seating but if you want to be more comfortable bring a blanket and make a picnic of it!

It is always gin'o clock!

Food wise they cater for all. For the adventurous tuck into delishous curries or pulled pork burgers. We enjoyed a delicious vegetarian pizza that we spiced up with some jalapenos and onion marmalade. As the cold showed face this week you can even tuck into some hearty soups and maybe take away some for the week?

Delicious pizza!

Before you leave be sure to grab some dessert on the go. I left with a few cupcakes and my weakness, a pecan nut tart.

Loved the fairy lights!

Bellevue Market, the perfect place to start your weekend! See you definitely next month!
 
 
Location: 5 Bellevue road, Kloof
Time: 16:00-20:00
Like them on Facebook
 
 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Weekend to the Midlands

The Midlands is a short 90  minute drive from Durban. Perfect for a weekend away or even a daytrip.

My husband and I decided on a whim one Thursday evening to head to the Midlands for the weekend because I had an entire weekend off, which does not happen often.

Early the Saturday morning we jumped in the car, ready to explore. It was a cold and rainy weekend, perfect weather to head inland ! The Midlands is beautiful this time of the year with the orange/brown autumn leaves dominating the scenery. It was awesome to wear a winters coat for the first time in months because you rarely need it in Durban.

"We" (my husband) were on the hunt for craft beers so our first stop was at Bierfassl for "breakfast" aka beer tasting. Bierfassl is an Austrian/German  restaurant and pub established 15 years ago.  They offer over 35 craft beers from all over the world including local brews for Notthingham Road Brewery.

Bierfassl
 
My husband enjoyed the tasting platter of Notthingham Road Brewery. It is six beers for R45.  He usually prefers the largers but the darker ales really impressed him. We were the only people in the restaurant but we were there rather early. It seems like a popular spot as the majority of the tables were reserved for lunch. We had breakfast here. It was fine but nothing exciting. I think to really enjoy their food you must go for the authentic German lunch which is only available from 12:00.


Enjoying the beer tasting

 

A breakfast burger and bacon pancakes topped with a cheese sauce


After enjoying the beers from the Nottingham Road Brewery we wanted to visit the source. About 2 km from Bierfassl  is the Nottingham Road Brewery company at Rawdons Estate. It is a small space with a shop where you can buy the beers, beer bread, beer cheese ect. It was a really cold day so we were not keen to stand on the deck and taste beer but if the weather behaves the deck outside the brewery can be a great place to sip on a few cold ones.


Outside Nottingham Road Brewery



Next to the brewery is the Boars Head pub which was very inviting with its roaring fireplaces. We stopped here for some wine and beer. The husband then also enjoyed some of the rugby that was on. (I was reminded often that it was a big weekend of sport : / )

 
The roaring fireplace was the best!


We were on the road again and passed by a variety of curios shops, deli's ect which is especially present on the Nottingham Road. I've visited the Midlands before and one of my highlights was the Blueberry Café so  naturally this was our next stop. It was after all tea time :)
 
It is a beautiful space surrounded by fields where the majestic nguni cattle roam. Adjacent to the restaurant is a small shop where you can browse and spend on stylish leather and wood items. The last time I visited we purchased beautiful nguni placemats.

Inside the cosy Blueberry Café

 
Just look at that uninterrupted view!


 
So in keeping with them name we wanted to indulge on blueberries so for "tea" we enjoyed blueberry cheesecake and scones served with a blueberry compote. The cheesecake was very sweet and if you know me,I can handle sweet stuff. The scones however were light and fluffy!
 

It was tea time and wine time somewhere in the world :)

 
Delectable treats!


Before you leave remember to visit the bathroom :). The scenery is definitely something special.
 
We headed towards our accommodation for the evening situated near Mooi rivier. I was very excited about where we were heading. Hartford House has been on my radar ever since they were featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list .

Hartford house was established 130 years ago. It situated on a prestige's horse farm. As soon as you enter the gate you will instantly feel relaxed. Pair that was great hospitality and beautiful comfortable rooms one night here will feel as if you spent a week. On arrival we enjoyed some MCC and the rest was history... let the weekend begin :)
 
Beautiful lounge area

 
Outside dining area

 
One of the pool suites

We booked in at one of the pool suites. It's a stand alone suite with a wood burning fire place, massive shower, bathroom and a lovely couch where I spent the entire afternoon lounging in the sun and finished my book. Check out their website for all the accommodation options and tariffs. Option range from rooms in the hotel to lakeside suites perfect for families or a group of friends.
 
Our lounge area

 
Beautiful bedroom

 
Where I spent most of my afternoon

If you can't stay at Hartford house visit them for a 2(R190) or 3(R270) course lunch or afternoon tea served at the Tijnhuis. It is a place you cant miss out on.
 
The Tijnhuis

 
Great to stroll trough the garden and see where they grow their produce they use for meals.


We saved ourselves for the 5 course dinner. When we checked in I saw the menu and this foodie could not contain herself with excitement.
 
We started off dinner with some MCC in the beautiful lounge. Then we were welcomed by Chef Constantijn Hahndiek who explained all the culinary treats that awaited us.

Nothing like a glass of MCC to start off the evevning


I was very intrigued by this menu because there were ingredients on it I have read about multiple times but have not had the opportunity to taste such as pak choi and black pudding. It really was a culinary experience where I learned so much.  Below is the 5 star menu
 
 

Artisanal bread served with butter and chicken liver pate
 
 
 
Butternut and Chicken soup
So as you can see this is not your typical butternut and chicken soup. This was actually a butternut consommé which was so clear and loaded with flavour served with juicy chicken roulade. This was one of my favourites because of the excellent consommé!
 
 
 
 
Scallop served with black pudding, parsnip, barley and sharon fruit
I love watching cooking shows and black pudding is a regular ingredient seen especially on the British cooking shows. For those who don't know what black pudding is, it is  essential blood sausage. I've never had this before so I was excited to taste it especially because it is also commonly paired with scallops. This dish also produced my entertainment of the evening when I explained to my husband what he was eating :) I really enjoyed the combination and would definitely eat it again!
 
 
 
Tuna fresh from the Northcoast served with lemon grass, rice crisp and pak choi
The majority of ingredients used at Hartford House are either grown at Hartford self or imported from local suppliers that are within a certain range of kilometres of the farm. We were spoilt with fresh tuna from the north coast which paired perfectly with a lovely lemon grass broth
 
 
 
Wildebees served with garlic pureé, quince, burnt carrot and cocoa nib
This was the only dish that did not receive a 5/5 because the meat was a bit tough although cooked perfectly medium rare. The cocoa nib was also too bitter for my liking.
 
 
TWG Rooibos
  This homemade rooibos ice cream was out of this world. Really one of the best ice-creams I have ever eaten. This paired perfectly with a smooth and airy chocolate mouse topped with sugary meringue

 
 

After this mind blowing meal we were in for one last treat. Chef Constantijn  used liquid nitrogen to make a  paprika flavoured type of honeycomb. The most entertaining part was watching all the other guest "fuming" at the mouth!

Chef in action

Happy diners :)


Thank goodness after this delicious meal our room was only a few meters away.

The next morning we went for a walk on the estate followed but another delicious meal. There was a breakfast buffet table with fruit, cheeses, meat and pastries. From the menu we indulged on homemade nutella crepes and a full English breakfast.

Some of the beautiful horses in the farm

 
The estate has a few walking paths you can enjoy

 
The jetty near the laskeside suites.

Delicious homemade nutella served in pancakes topped with crispy bacon


Although we only visited for one evening we felt as if we rested for a week which is enough evidence that a visit to Hartford House is one extraordinary experience. We can't wait to go back!

I am heading to the Midlands again in August and can't wait to tell you about the other must visit places!

For now thank goodness it is almost weekend :)



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Durban Burger Joints

Durban is spoilt for choice with craft beer and burger bars. I've visited two of them and let me say this now... I am not going to choose between the two! I loved them both :)


What striked me from the start at Republik was how warm the initial reception was as well as the overall friendliness of the staff. I felt comfortable from the start which is great for their business because then I can easily eat, drink and be merry!
 
They've got ample seating inside and outside. Both times I've visited we sat on the veranda. Perks of the forever summer here in Durban :)
 
 
Hello Republik
 
 
Now they have a big selection of beers. Familiar ones I recognised from Cape Town was CBC, Darling brew and Devils peak. My tasting companion (now Husband yay) enjoys Weiss beers and ordered the CBC Amber Weiss (twice haha)! It is an old favourite which did not disappoint.  Other beer variants available are ales such as the Van Hunk pumkin ale, largers such as the Jack Black Larger and pilsners.
 
Cheers!
 

Now I am not a beer fan but what made me very happy was their bubbly selection that ranged between R35-R38/glass . Now this can be very dangerous in my case because I LOVE bubbles. I enjoyed a glass of the Miss  Molly and the L'Ormarins and don't think I will ever order anything other than this when I visit them!

They've got a great red and white wine selection and all wines are available by the glass or bottle. I love this because I often want to start my evening with a glass of white and switch to a glass of red wine when I enjoy my food! Some of my favourite wine farms from Stellenbosch namely Brennaisance and Warwick feature which helped with some of the "missing home sadness"!

Now lets get to the great part- the food! When you visit Republik you have to eat a burger. Yes there is a salad option and chicken strips but you will miss out on the best.
 
There are a few steps you follow when your order:
Step 1 Choose your base: Bun, non-bun or a large garlic grilled Portobello mushroom(my favourite)
Step 2 Choose your patty: Chicken, beef, lamb, vegetarian or ostrich?
Step 3 Choose your burger toppings from the black board. They have a big variety of toppings ranging from caramelised onions to different types of cheeses. It's difficult not to go overboard!
Step 4 Choose your sides : Zucchini, truffle or shoestring fries.


Below: Beef burger served on a Portobello mushroom  with zucini fries



Top right: Chicken burger with shoestring fries


I always choose the Portobello mushroom beef burger with zucchini fries and just change the toppings to keep things interesting. It's delicious! You really don't need a bun to enjoy a burger. My tasting companion begs to differ though :)
 
Flip over the menu and be tempted by milkshakes and sweet desserts such as churros served with barone and a milky bar sauce. Now I recently enjoyed churros in Barcelona and they were more light and airy than those from Republik but is still delicious dough dusted with cinnamon sugar that can be smothered with chocolate sauce? We does not enjoy that!
 

Chocolaty churros!

 
As you can see from the above you are in for a good time at republic. Visit them for a date or as a big group. They cater for both!
 
Inside Republik

 
 
Contact them at 031 573 1429 or info@republik.co.za
Visit them at Unit 8 Broadyway, Durban North
Like them on Facebook
Follow them on Instagram
Tweet them @republikdbn



We popped into Unity bar after work in the middle of the week. It was relatively quiet when we were there  so I can't comment on atmosphere but friends who have been there on a Friday evening said it was awesome.
 
Welcome to Unity
 
Unity has a more extensive menu compared to Republik. It is ideal for post-work drinks because of their variety of appetisers.  If you are interested in a few you can make up a plank. 3 appetisers for R160, 4 for R295 and 5 for R235. Choose between dishes such as salt&pepper squid, jalepeno poppers,  spinach& feta samosas and much more.
 
They also serve curries and bunnies ranging between R42-R105.
 
We however opted for the good old burger and boy were they good. I enjoyed the Mexican which is a beef burger topped with cheddar, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos and tomato salsa(R95). It's a mouth full but delicious. The jalapenos is a great break between the creaminess of the cheese, guacamole and sour cream.  My husband enjoyed the classic bacon, avo and feta burger(R85).
 
They are not stingy with their toppings!
Dessert looked appealing. Think homemade beer and honey ice cream served with peanut butter brittle and a chocolate dipped sugar cone(R45) or a pecan & white chocolate brownie served with ice-cream(R55). Unfortunately the burger was too good and we had to skip dessert but we will be back. Unity praises itself that they shop and support local with a low carbon footprint as the result .

Drink wise I had a mojito which I did not enjoy. It was not sweet enough. My husband had a pale ale named "That Blonde" which was perfect for him after  a long day of work.
 
The beer was a hit!
 


Visit them at   117 Silvertone road, Durban
Contact them at 031 201 3470
For more information visit their website
Like them on Facebook




So both places have beer and burgers. Both are awesome. I would leave it up to you to decide which is better! For me, I just make turns between the two :)
 
Other beer & burger bars on the list:
 
 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hello, again

Wow, I can't believe it has been 8 months since I blogged. The last 8 months have been jam-packed with change. Last year I completed my final year of medicine and qualified as a doctor. In that time I was also anxiously waiting to be placed somewhere for my two years of internship. Needless to say after being third rounded, crying a lot and feeling hopeless I was placed in Durban.

I've never been to Durban. Funnily enough after one of my final year exams last year April I visited Umhlanga with my mom for 5 days. We did not venture to Durban at all. I think life was already prepping me and showing me signs for my future that awaited me.

At the end of November I was placed in Durban for my internship. I was scared yet excited. I was about to enter 100% uncertainty. Luckily I was joined by my then fiancé. God was good for us and within a week he also obtained a job in Durban.

Shortly after Christmas we made the big move to Durban. I remember driving through the Marrionhill tollgate thinking to myself... "What are we letting our self into? Unknown place, unknown people and away from our comfort zone??"

We moved into a flat in Morningside. Our first life lesson was learnt here. Don't make any property decision to quick. We move into a tiny flat with only one parking thinking to ourselves that we will definitely find some extra parking to rent in our complex. The following morning our one car was stolen.

We were gobsmacked. How could this happen to us? We left everything and everyone that was important to us. How could we be punished like this. That was where I learned how important your attitude is for your our own sanity.

I started working the 1st of January. Started my job with a first through the night call. I left work the following day at 17:00 thinking to myself this cannot be life?

After the car incident we decided to move. Luckily we found a place fairly quickly we could move into the following month. We were still under contract at our previous flat but the owner was very kind and told us as long as someone new will move in there wont be a problem. No one was interested in the flat initially and we did not feel pressured to move thinking we will pay double rent for maybe a month. To our surprise,  on a Thursday evening, were told to be out of our flat the Sunday. I was on call the entire weekend and we could only move into our new place the following week. Needless to say a lot happened that Thursday evening :) Our troublesome path however has been packed full of guardian angels and a family friend helped us move and store our belongings with a days notice.

We had awesome friends and family who supported us through this all. In between all of this we were also busy planning our wedding for April. Life was very busy.

So we moved in February and my mom drove up a new car for my fiancé. She also helped us to unpack our new place. ( Thank you mom)

Our wedding was getting close, work was busy but we managed to survive. Then a fire truck drove into our new car, I scratched my old car. This all happened two weeks before our wedding. By that time we just laughed. We refused that any of this will get us down. Yes, it was difficult but also necessary in a way. Life is though but there are worse things happening in the world.

Now at last after four months our luck has turned around. I am married yay! We have adjusted to work, the environment and no "disasters" have occurred  recently.  If they are coming for us we are ready for them :)

We have embraced Durban and all that it has to offer! I can't wait to share it with you!




Friday, October 16, 2015

Halfaampieskraal


The motto at Halfaampieskraal is "The perfect place to do nothing at all!" and that is exactly what we did this past weekend.


Welcome to Halfaampieskraal


If you want to break away from the city, your fast paced lifestyle or just want to hang out with your family and friends this is the spot to do it! Situated outside Napier this spot is where you can 'farm' in style. It is 250 years old and still a working farm but you don't have to do anything :) You can just enjoy the beauty and sounds of the surroundings!

The unique aspect of Halfaampieskraal is their décor. It had to be such fun to source and style this place. You will discover something new around every nook and corner. Look out for a stuffed duck on top of the closet, a mirror decorated with springbok horns or even a peacock in the living room! Let me show you around!!

There are accommodation available inside the main house as well as outside. We occupied three of the outside rooms where two people can sleep per room. Each room is different and spoiled with personal touches...



Lounging area


My favourite piece in this room was the map!



How pretty is this shower!


Loved the modern and antique pieces together


Big bed fit for a queen!


Fresh flowers


Saturday evening treat!


So what can you do at Halfaampieskraal? Nothing, that is the best. We went for a walk to visited the farm animals, drank wine, played board games, read and laughed! They have a beautiful bar stocked with all the wine, MCC and spirits that you need. It works on a honesty system so you just write down what you drink and settle the bill later. You can also bring your own wine at R20 per bottle corkage but their prices are really affordable and their selection is great so there is no need.



Farm chickens


Babe!


Happy duck family!


Fireplace where we spent most of our time!


One of my fave board games, Yunomi


Beautiful bar that runs on the 'honesty system'

We were celebrating two birthdays and was treated with this meringue and nut cake in the afternoon!




For dinner we dined at the beautiful candelit dining room table on deep friend feta for starter. For mains we were treated to fillet with a mushroom semi glaze sauce, deep fried potatoes, sweet potatoe bake and  a medley of broccoli and beetroot vegetables. The food was out of this world and that semi glaze sauce was a major hit!

Table set for a beautiful meal


Deep fried feta served with a radish salad


Sweet potato bake


Beetroot, broccoli and baby marrow medley

Beef filet with mushroom semi glaze sauce

Happy diners!


Deep fried potatoes

We then settled in front of the fire to indulge in "fluweel" pudding. This is baked custard topped with orange marmalade and a chewy meringue layer. I am not a custard fan but I finished this and almost licked the bowl! The tanginess of the marmalade and chewiness of the meringue was the best! You can find some of these recipes in their "Halfaampieskraal Celebrates" cookbook.


 Piece de résistance!

After this stunning dinner we slumbered into our large and comfortable beds! The next morning we were woken by the farm noises and the aroma of coffee...


 
 
After a great night of sleep we ventured over to the stoep to sit in the sun and enjoy a refreshing breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice and fruit salad served with honey and yougurt. Breakfast did not stop there :) Scrambled goose eggs from the farm served with salmon, spinach and tomatoes was our final treat at Halfaampies.


Outside pool area perfect for summer!
 
Enjoying coffee on the stoep
 

Look at the beautiful walls!
 
Breakfast set-up
 

Refreshing fruit salad! So happy watermelon is back!
 
Loved the gold teapot!
 

One of the best breakfasts I have ever had! Delish!

Feeling rested and rejuvenated we already contemplated our return. It really is "hemel op die platteland" at Halfaampieskraal!

Rate: R1000 per person per night for dinner, bed and breakfast.
For more information  visit their website
Like them on Facebook
Contact them at rooms@kraal.biz or 028 452 1744