The chef behind popular café Surf Riders has just opened The Joint Jazz Café on OR Tambo Parade in Durban, offering a taste of shisa nyama and local jazz. Eat Out critic Nikita Buxton heads to the shores for a taste.
Cost: R100 average for a main
Serves: Shisa nyama and Durban-style street food
Parking: Parking is mostly available during the week, but weekends are always busy on the beachfront, so rather get a taxi
Best for: A taste of good local chow and jazz on the beachfront
Star rating: Food 5, service 3, ambience 4
The menu at this new beachfront joint is designed by Brendon Newport of Surf Riders, with chefs Comfort Kweyama and Peter Simmonds tending the grills in the kitchen. Locals and tourists are offered a taste of 1930s-era shisa nyama, which features braai-style meat with local sides.
The ‘nyamalicious’ options are cooked on an open flame for a real braai flavour, and a secret basting sauce adds an extra unctuousness to every bite. Each portion of meat is topped off with a pat of farm butter before being sent to your table – a delicious touch.
The cuts range from traditional wors, beef chuck and brisket to free-range rump, T-bone and succulent chicken. You’ve got the option to mix and match your platter or opt for one of the signature plates. There are also burgers and wors rolls, and a hot and hearty bunny chow of the day.
The winners for us are the succulent chicken wings and chip bowls, as well as the Durban-inspired tacos. The chicken wings are sensational – possibly the best I’ve eaten. Plumped-up chook wings are doused in moreish secret basting and can be ordered as a main or a starter. We also order a chip bowl and The Joint hot sauce (a new craving of mine), which they cleverly combine, creating a saucy and fiery bowl of goodness. It’s messy, but in a good way. Pair this with a cooling afroslaw (coleslaw with candied pecans and yoghurt mayo), or delicious steamed mfino (African spinach) with roasted peanuts.
The tacos here are instantly appealing. They’re not done in a Mexican style, instead served as a cocoon of soft tortilla, wrapped up in paper to keep the flavours in. The Zulu line-fish wrap is filled with fresh snapper, fries and the most refreshing filling of home-made mayo, crunchy zucchini sticks, sweetcorn and afroslaw. (Clearly still being finalised, the menu did mention different fillings for this option, so do check on the day to avoid disappointment.)
The dishes come served on tin plates with a side of freshly chopped green chilli and chutney.
If there’s room for dessert, banana-and-rooibos waffles with honeycomb and lavender might hit the spot, or go for a fresh mango-and-mint smoothie.
There’s a good selection of craft beers with some Durban options, but the wine list is a bit of a let down when we visit. (Perhaps the final collection is still being fine-tuned?) Alternatively, there are colourful cocktails on offer from the upstairs bar.
The Joint has recently opened and staff seem a little nervous, but their eagerness and friendly smiles make up for it.
Visiting at lunchtime during the week might be a bit quiet, but the view of crashing waves just off the promenade, the music, and the eclectic SA decor make for an enjoyable meal. Alternatively, book a spot on a heaving weekend evening for a taste of local jazz.
The Joint does a mean breakfast, too. There are options like eggs with pork sausage, belly bacon and sweet-potato toast; Zulu Flapjacks with rooibos syrup and cream; and the Deluxe Hangover Roll with chakalaka, bacon and eggs.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
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