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The GINJA food experience



I had the opportunity to attend a GINJA food experience a few weeks back and this is how it all went down…

On arrival we were greeted by Chef Francois with a welcoming drink – the healthy option was a taste of Juiced Co.’s vegetable and fruit juices! They were really pleasant actually, and that’s coming from someone that only eats vegetables because I know I have to. Next on the list was a Wolftrap Rose, which would not be my drink of choice, but still fairly light and not too dry.

The “lunner” (lunch and dinner) table was set in an adjoining room; it looked like it had been taken straight out of the GINJA magazine! We moved to the dinner hall to get stuck in, but not before we had a little snoop around the large kitchen area which is set up as a food studio and is used for team building events and cooking classes (something I’d love to give a try!)

The first course was Haddock & Hake Mousse served with Raisin Relish and Home-Baked Seed Loaf, paired with a Wolftrap White blend. I must say, the seed loaf was so tasty I had well over my fair share!  The raisin relish had a sweet taste that complimented the food and would be something I’d like to put on a nice piece of cheese.

The second course, or palate cleaner, was a small Green Salad with Fynbos Vinaigrette. This little salad looked too pretty to eat; I felt bad breaking it apart. This feeling soon changed to delight once I had my first mouthful. It was delicious!! I’m not sure was it was about this salad that was so tasty, but it definitely had the underlying taste of parmesan cheese… and as I am sure you have guessed,I love cheese!

The main course was Traditional Tomato Bredie served with Green Pepper & Onion Flavoured Samp & Beans. This was honestly my first taste of samp and beans, and I have seriously been missing out!! The textures and tastes were on point! The bredie was a mixture of lamb and beef, and it fell apart in your mouth; I’m salivating now just thinking about it. The wines we had with the main course were Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2013 and Porcupine Ridge Syrah with Viognier 2013. These wines are definitely more to my taste. At this point in the evening the conversation at the table was in full swing. People at the table included chefs, bloggers, previous masterchef contestants as well as a few people in the media – all were great conversation.

When desert came out, everyone was quiet for a few minutes, only because everyone had their mouths full! Dessert was Koeksister Cassata with Pomegranate Relish. This is basically the best ice-cream you’ve ever tasted. The koeksister was still fresh and crispy, even though it in a pool of ice-cream. To accompany this sweet delight a La Motte MCC or JC Le Roux Scintilla 2008 was served. Chef Francois opened the bottle using a huge knife, slicing the top off (which I’ve only ever seen in movies!) I learnt this is called Sabrage: Sabering the champagne bottle. It was really amazing to watch, I had always thought the bottle was just being broken open! This way of opening the bottle actually leaves the top at a perfect pouring angle, almost like a built in speed pourer.

The conversation extended well into the evening, people were tweeting about the wonderful food and great company. On our way out we received a little goodie bag with some of the delectable things we had eaten in the evening, including that raisin relish (for my cheese of course) and parmesan infused olive oil. All-in-all this was a great experience and I would highly recommend the recipes that are put in the GINJA magazine!


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With nobody travelling internationally at the moment The Oyster Box’s Executive Chef, Kevin Joseph and his culinary Team, decided to take guests to exotic places through their food instead. So the Flavour-cation concept was born. Through a variety of food experiences ‘flavour vacations’ are put together to showcase exciting new tastes… literally on our doorstep.

With the Tapas menu (Spanish word for small savoury dishes), each item, has a main ingredient and everything else on the plate contributes to the overall taste sensation. “We looked at what is popular with diners,” says Chef Joseph, “such as oysters, prawns, sharing platters etc. and then added our own taste profile and flair to each dish, to give it an Oyster Box twist. The babotie spring rolls are an example; our steamed buns are baked in-house; the Oysters harvested from our own beds and the pear chutney and hummus cooked from scratch.” The menu also offers ample choice for Vegetarians.

Tapas will be on offer in The Lighthouse and Oyster Bars until the end of November, with new and exciting dishes being added to the menu on an ongoing basis, so that our guests always have something new to look forward to.

Alongside the menu, a wide selection of wine, beer, Champagne and sparkling wine is on offer. A special mention should be made of the House Wine Selection, from our internationally-acclaimed sister winery, Bouchard Finlayson in the Hemel en Aarde Valley in Hermanus. Known for producing exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and renowned Pinot Noirs.

The TAPAS Menu is served in The Lighthouse and Oyster Bars from 12:00-19:30 daily.

Booking is essential on 031 514 5000 or by e-mail

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Krispy Kreme’s NEW limited edition Jolly Holly Range




‘Tis the season to be jolly and with Krispy Kreme’s NEW Limited-Edition Jolly Holly Range is just that. Fill your homes with joy and cheer with the Caramel Pecan Pie doughnut, Custard Milk Tart Festive Tree doughnut, Candy Cane & chocolate doughnut and White Chocolate Kremey Chiller.

Brightening up your day is as easy as pie with the Caramel Pecan Pie doughnut. It’s an unglazed ring, dipped in a smooth Nestlé caramel treat, topped with crushed pecan nuts and a pecan nut Kreme swirl, topped off with peanut yogurt balls.

Ring in the festive season with the Custard Milk Tart Festive Tree. It’s an unglazed shell, dipped in white chocolate, filled with a milk tart flavoured filling and decorated with a festive tree and a white KitKat finger.

Your holiday can be as sweet as candy with the Candy Cane & Chocolate doughnut. It’s an Original Glazed doughnut, dipped in chocolate icing and topped with crushed candy canes, smarties and milky bar chocolates.

Sprinkle some joy and cheer on your day with the Jolly Sprinkles doughnut. It’s an Original Glazed doughnut, dipped in chocolate icing and topped with festive sprinkles.

Baby, it’s HOT outside! Cool down with the delicious White Chocolate Kremey Chiller. It’s a Milky bar flavoured creamy chiller, topped with white chocolate cream and milky bar chocolate shavings.

These doughnuts and chiller are available in stores and via Uber Eats and Mr D Food from 1 December to 3 January. The doughnuts are also available at participating Engen garages & Pick n Pay stores from 1 December to 27 December.

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“The team from Dante approached me and asked if I would be interested in helping them with a project,” says interior designer Alice Kelly. “I was thrilled, but have to admit that the timelines frightened me! Once I realised that the bones of the building were good and even though the deadlines were really tight…I couldn’t say no.”  Built on the site previously occupied by the renowned Ile Maurice restaurant, Durban-based Kelly has been tasked to bring ‘a totally new restaurant and dining experience to life’, for the three owners Trent Varejes and brothers Andile and Ayanda Ngidi.    

“Dante is going to be something quite magical,” enthuses Alice. “We have NOT held back in any way. It is the type of place where you will simply feel at home and at the same time be taken on a journey that is exciting and unforgettable. This place has brought dining pleasure to many generations over the years, so we have added some life, love and colour to the venue for the next generation to enjoy.”

Combined with the strong visual aesthetic, the owners set out to find a chef who could interpret their culinary dreams for the space.  Enter another local Durban industry stalwart, Chef Marco Nico.  Well respected, uber-talented, forager and charcutier Chef Nico has over the past 30 years, owned and run many of Durban’s most well-known and popular restaurants.  

As Chef Consultant, Nico will together with Christina Martin-trained Head Chef Kyle Govender, bring to life the contemporary Mediterranean / Italian menu, with a South African twist.  Those that know Chef Nico and his slow-food ethic, will also know about his ‘local is lekker’ approach to food and you’ll find that in abundance on the Bistro menu on offer.  Chef Govender is well acquainted with the style and tastes of the East Coast, having worked at both The Oyster Box and The Beverly Hills, so expect to see an abundance of local ingredients, sustainably sourced meat and fish and the best of international… only when absolutely necessary.

Nico is excited to be bringing a whole new era of diners into a space previously recognised as one of Durban’s most famous dining spots.  Inspiration from the restaurant’s former life, can be seen in the way the building has been completely re-imagined to suit its new purpose.  Multiple venues on multiple floors offer something for every customer – from the island-style Verandah opening into the light and airy Restaurant, to the elegant Champagne Bar, tropical Oriental Bar and Cigar Bar, before stepping outside to a Gin Terrace and upwards to a show-stopping Roof-top Bar, with a 180 degree Indian Ocean sea view.

The re-incarnation of the building is ‘no accident’ according to joint owners Ayanda Ngidi, who together with twin brother Andile, have been dreaming of a venue like this ‘for as long as we can remember’.  Born and bred Durbanites, the twin brothers are well-known in local eventing circles having been the brains and energy behind The Social Pop-Up event co-ordination company that they started in 2011.

The third member of the trio, Trent Varejes, hails from Johannesburg but has known the brothers for 10 years. Discussions were already afoot for Varejes to become involved in the eventing business, when the twins presented him with an idea for a multi-storey, multi-function venue, on the Ille Maurice site, that had become available for long-term lease. Seven weeks later, their dreams have been fully realised, with the opening of Dante.

According to Ayanda, Dante, which means steadfast and enduring in Latin ‘fits with both our faith and work ethic’…it’s also ‘catchy’ he says, ”we thought it would be easy for people to remember.”  Combining their collective business experience and hospitality skills towards this one joint project has been ‘really exciting’, says Varejes.  “We wanted to create a ‘knock-out’ restaurant and I believe that with an amazing team, we’ve realised our vision.”

For the interiors, designer Alice Kelly has gone big and bold, with hints of the legacy and footprint of lle Maurice. All the existing restaurant tiles, balustrades, basins and a few mosaics have been retained to create the base of the story. “I have added moulded pressed ceilings for character, and layered with bold wallpapers, art, velvets, linens, chandeliers, chunky bamboo blinds, elegant light fittings and furniture. I think every colour under the sun has been used in this project…however it all seems to work together like a beautiful piece of tapestry.”

Spanning three exciting levels Dante boasts a Main Restaurant and Bar, Gin Garden, Cigar Bar, Oyster & Champagne Bar, Signature Bar and Rooftop Bar with hypnotic ocean views. Opens on 29 November from 12 noon and thereafter, daily for brunch, lunch and dinner; as well as for special events and private functions.   

Contact or call 087 1333263 to book or for more information.

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