Their dishes are neither sosaties nor kebabs, but two newly opened restaurants in Durban are all about the skewered food.
Gazi is a light and bright souvlaki cafe in Umhlanga Village’s Chartwell Drive. Its name was inspired by the vibrant industrial gas district in Athens and is also a nod to the gas and coal-fire cooking method used at the restaurant. The speciality is skewered, coal-roasted Greek-style food. The decor is breezy, with a white rock facade dominating the main wall, white wooden chairs and accents of rustic wooden knick-knacks, setting the Greek-Island-cafe theme. The menu is simple, promoting the sharing of meze mixes. Gazi’s tzatziki sauce is fresh, its pita bread crisp and the keftedes (Cypriot-style fried lamb meatballs) are a treat. The chicken or pork kalamaki (a type of souvlaki marinated in lemon and olive oil) is a good introduction to this style of cooking. It’s a great lunch spot for sitting in the pavement area, sharing a large meze platter with friends and finishing it all off with a strong, sweet Greek coffee.
In Durban North, Sean Beatt, the owner of Wok Box in Mackeurtan Avenue’s buzzing new restaurant hub, has just opened up Durban’s first yakitori bar next door. This is a Northeast Asian style of street food. Red lanterns suspended from the ceiling, bamboo cups sitting on the counter and a brightly painted anime-esque street-scene mural all add to the ambience. A small kitchen and bar open up onto a very casual dining area with bench seating. Yakitori’s skewered pork, chicken and Korean sausage are served with a peanut dipping-sauce that, along with bowls of noodles, dim sum and pot stickers, is the focus of the menu. It is all an invitation for sharing, schlurping and happy chatter or, as the menu cheerfully describes it, “Comfort food. Drinking food”. Yakitori also offers a well-stocked bar with craft beers, sake and Japanese whiskies. Kanpai!
031 561 1967
Words & images: Shirley Berko