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Review: Craft beer, jaffles and lobster mac ‘n cheese at Umhlanga’s Fourteen on Chartwell

Durban’s Umhlanga Village is known for its intimidating choice of eateries. The latest one to open up on Chartwell Drive – Fourteen on Chartwell – comes from the foodie brand behind Vovo Telo and Tasha’s. The new gastropub serves up modern pub grub and a killer craft beer selection. Already a popular spot for afternoon drinks and boozy dinners, Nikita Buxton heads to this buzzing hotspot to see what all the fuss is about.

fourteen_on_chartwell_interior

The bar at Fourteen on Chartwell. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Fast facts

Average main course:  R100
Serves: Contemporary pub grub, cocktails, craft beer
Best for: Working lunch, after-work drinks, festive weekend dinners
Parking: Umhlanga Village tends to get quite busy, so take a taxi or try to get there early to nab a spot in one of the surrounding parking lots.
Star ratings: Food: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 5

The Food

The large and slightly overwhelming menu offers modern gastropub fare with a good layer of comfort. To start, go for the tender and lightly crumbed salt and pepper calamari, paired with a delightfully tangy chilli ginger jam, or the halloumi, fig and prosciutto spring rolls (although the chilli dipping sauce is slightly-too-sweet). The copper pots of cider-soaked mussels were also flying out the kitchen – definitely a good sign. For a simple light lunch, the jaffles are definitely the way to go. They are a tad on the small side but are packed with flavour and served with a good portion of fries. The BBQ pulled pork option is smoky and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Other tempting fillings include Durban chicken curry and bacon, brie and cranberry.

The jaffle at Fourteen on Chartwell. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The jaffle at Fourteen on Chartwell. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The ‘signatures’ section on the menu boasts a few intriguing options, which includes the popular pie of the day. If you’re a big seafood fan, the grilled prawns are excellent. Perfectly pink and plump, they’re dusted in moreish Szechuan pepper and served with roasted garlic aioli and a side of golden fries. The lobster mac ‘n cheese is one of those trendy dishes that you either love or hate. The creamy pasta is served on a plate rather than baked in an oven dish and has generous pieces of delicate lobster on top. The dish is rich and luxurious with a gruyère cheese sauce and a crumble of crispy herbs, carrot and leeks. The sauce, however, is surprisingly smoky – perhaps from a smoked cheese. It doesn’t state this on the menu; so bear this in mind if you are not a fan of smoky flavours.

The Eton mess at Fourteen on Chartwell. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Eton mess at Fourteen on Chartwell. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Desserts include decadent options like Eton mess, Bar One spring rolls and a hot fudge sundae. We decided to go for the lighter sounding Mojito cheesecake. Fresh and zesty from the lime, it was a good, simple fridge cheesecake, but lacked that mojito zing. There is also a selection of indulgent sounding spiked milkshakes for those who want an extra alcoholic kick with their dessert.

outside at Fourteen on Chartwell

The beer and cider taps at Fourteen on Chartwell. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Drinks

It’s a gastropub, which means the drinks list is pretty comprehensive. The craft beer and cocktail offering is impressive as are the wines (albeit a bit pricey).

the exterior of Fourteen on Chartwell

The outside view of Fourteen on Chartwell. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Ambience

The gleaming wraparound bar takes centre stage and striking low-slung lights and brown leather booth seating add a sophisticated feel. Reminiscent of a swanky 70’s hotel, the space is adorned with palm tree wallpaper and colours of green and gold. It’s stylish and retro with great acoustics.

The leather booths at Fourteen on Chartwell. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The leather booths at Fourteen on Chartwell. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Service

A little nervous at first but friendly and efficient.

And…

Try the flights of beer served with cheese or German sausage bites for a fun mini beer and food pairing.

Have you tried spiked milkshakes or jaffles at Fourteen on Chartwell? Write a review to tell us about it and we will pledge a meal for a hungry child through Stop Hunger Now SA.

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