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Boiler Room Café

Boiler Room Café
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Cost
R85 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Hip & happening
Food
Coffee
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Nicola Jenvey

Food
This funky take on a casual café dining experience serves locally sourced, seasonal cuisine with specials chalked on the boards around the voluminous double-storey restaurant. The building was the original boiler room when the Lion Match factory was built in 1900 and owners Graham and Gina Neilson have retained the industrial feel while modernising the space.

Whether you are wanting a quick bite to escape your work space in the surrounding office park or the opportunity to relax with soul food in the open-plan eatery, the dishes accommodate every taste and desire. Breakfasts range from duck and potato hash with spring onions and fried egg or spicy beans, smoky pork belly and cheddar cheese on an English toasted muffin topped with a poached egg for the adventurous to regular bacon and eggs or homemade granola with fresh fruit and Greek yoghurt for the traditionalists.

Lunch is another assortment of interesting main dishes like Cajun pork quesadilla with pickled cabbage, kewpie mayonnaise and coleslaw or salads including charcoal roasted vegetables, butternut, lentils and toasted almonds. Open sandwiches, made with homemade health bread, boast combinations like smoked salmon, crème fraîche, rocket and avocado or tuna mayonnaise, boiled egg, roasted tomatoes, olive tapenade and artichoke aioli for mouth-watering freshness and innovation to your dining experience.

Nibbles cover scones and homemade jam and cream, doughnuts, homemade banana bread and homemade sweet and savoury muffins in ample proportions for those just seeking a snack between meals.

Drinks
This is another funky experience, with tantalising milkshake flavours of peanut butter and banana, red velvet, hazelnut and chocolate, lemon meringue, popcorn and salted caramel or The Boris Becker (tennis biscuits and German ginger cake). Frappes, iced coffees, frozen chai lattes, fresh fruit juices and smoothies round out the standard coffees, teas and cold drink selection.

Service
Swiftness and efficiency are paramount, with waitrons and management keeping a keen eye out for customers’ queries and offering extensive explanations on anything requiring additional information.

Ambience
Boiler Room Café is industrial chic, welcoming and warm in a large airy room.

And…
Everything about this restaurant is unusual and strangely sensory, so worth coming out of your way to enjoy. The menu even states that patrons should let the staff know of any food allergies before ordering, accommodating dietary requirements.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    Graham and Gina Neilson have deviated from the high-end bistro food they prepare with aplomb at 9th Avenue Bistro to offer daytime diners beguiling back-to-basics café food. This is comfort food that evokes an emotional response. Breakfasts include the heady simplicity of a pork sausage and rosemary caramelised onion bun, and boursin cheese and black pepper omelette with chives and lemon-dressed greens. The creative weekend brunch specials are pure nirvana: duck liver crumpets with port-marinated figs and gorgonzola cream; crispy fried pork on bubble and squeak with fried egg and peach chutney; red velvet pancakes with ricotta and honey ice cream; and fresh tuna burgers with Asian slaw and pickled ginger mayo. Standout staples on the menu segue from chicken and bacon Caesar salad to deeply gratifying charcoal-roasted pulled pork bun with pickled cabbage and kewpie mayonnaise, or slow-roasted lamb wrap with hummus and carrot, offset by a minted cucumber salsa. They also stock Wicked Donuts. These gourmet orbs of happiness are beautifully presented on a wooden board under a bell jar. Flavours change daily, but the dulce de leche version is unadulterated bliss.

    Drinks
    Exemplary cappuccinos are offered in roasts of two different strengths while the decaffeinated brigade can opt for a smoothie – think pineapple and basil or banana and sesame – or choose from the best milkshake selection in town.

    Service
    An eager-to-please team is spearheaded by a hands-on manager, and Gina is often spotted on the floor.

    Ambience
    The café is ensconced in the original boiler room of the old Lion Match factory, which remains one of Durban’s most instantly recognisable landmarks. Located within a contemporary office park, it’s an unapologetically urban space that has embraced its industrial heritage and African roots.

    And…
    There is a generator, so Boiler Room Café is immune to load shedding. Also remember that no reservations are taken.

    (August 2015)

  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    There is something deeply profound about the food at Boiler Room Café. It’s not a cerebral experience or an unparalleled gastronomic revelation. Better than that, it’s comfort food that evokes an emotional response – perhaps it triggers memories, evokes childhood glee or takes you back to a time when fresh, wholesome ingredients were combined to produce food with integrity?

    Breakfasts include the heady simplicity of a pork sausage and rosemary caramelised onion bun, and boursin cheese and black pepper omelette with chives and lemon-dressed greens. The creative weekend brunch specials are pure nirvana: duck liver crumpets with port-marinated figs and gorgonzola cream; crispy fried pork on bubble and squeak with fried egg and peach chutney; red velvet pancakes with ricotta and honey ice cream; and fresh tuna burgers with Asian slaw and pickled ginger mayo. Standout staples on the menu segue from chicken and bacon Caesar salad to deeply gratifying charcoal-roasted pulled pork bun with pickled cabbage and kewpie mayonnaise, or slow-roasted lamb wrap with hummus and carrot offset by a minted cucumber salsa.

    Boiler Room Café also stocks Wicked Donuts. These gourmet orbs of happiness are beautifully presented on a wooden board under a bell jar… in case of emergency, lift glass. Flavours change daily, but the dulce de leche version is unadulterated bliss. Here even the humble muffin is elevated to heady heights, as exemplified by the zucchini, spinach and feta muffin, served warm and topped with blocks of creamy cheese.

    Drinks
    Exemplary cappuccinos are offered in roasts of two different strengths while the decaffeinated brigade can opt for a smoothie – think pineapple and basil or banana and sesame – or choose from the best milkshake selection in town. They come served in glass jars and include flavours like popcorn and salted caramel, lemon meringue, and the Boris Becker, which is flavoured with tennis biscuits and German ginger cake, and topped with a flaming orange meringue. Thankfully, tap water is served sans a supercilious smirk and is quirkily dispensed from an enamel tea pot. Boiler Room Café is currently awaiting liquor licence.

    Service
    An eager-to-please team is spearheaded by a hands-on manager, and Gina is often spotted on the floor. The kitchen is efficient and service usually runs like clockwork. Waiters can sometimes be a little unsure of menu nuances and slow in clearing empty plates, but a genuine smile makes up for minor mishaps.

    Ambience
    The café is ensconced in the original boiler room of the old Lion Match factory, which remains one of Durban’s most instantly recognisable landmarks. Located within a contemporary office park, it’s an unapologetically urban space that has embraced its industrial heritage and African roots. A taxi mural and nine-metre-long park bench dominate the back wall, aloes have been planted indoors, double-volume factory windows dominate high walls, and metal chairs sit on concrete floors.

    And…
    There is a generator, so Boiler Room Café is immune to load shedding. Also remember that no reservations are taken.

    (April 2015)

User reviews

  • A beautiful spot with beautiful food. Perfect for breakfast with friends. The pressed juices are incredible.
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  • By far one of the best spots in Durbs to go for a light meal, cappucino or enjoy one of their decadent milkshakes. Weekends tend to be busy at The Boiler Room but this has never stopped the staff from giving me great service and a fantastic brunch. The food is not fussy and whenever I have friends come to visit they always rave about their awesome burgers. The added bonus with The Boiler Room is it's location which allows for easy access to Station Drive so afterwards its great to go do a bit of window shopping and soak in the creative buzz of this new urban precinct. The Boiler Room is a winner in my book!
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  • I feel nothing but resentment towards the owners of the Boiler Room for making things that I have no choice but to eat. Too many “coffee dates” have gotten away from me, as a single cappuccino somehow escalates into a three-to-four-course insult of my capacity for self-regulation. Behind a façade of staff attentiveness, lies a diabolical system of manipulation – the friendly, and seemingly innocuous, “Would you like anything else?” is more of a taunt than a question… correctly translating to: “Would you like to maybe try the duck and spring onion hash, the braised short rib jaffles with gorgonzola and picked onion, or the pulled pork crumpets with smoky apple chutney and mustard crème fraiche, OR do you want to finish your cappuccino and go home… like a loser?” You’re then in a position of having to eat one (or more) of those courses, or not eat them and hate yourself for missing out. This seems like some kind of culinary entrapment? It would also seem that a glass of water or a coke would suffice as an accompaniment to the meal, but then you notice the milkshake menu and you can’t help but regress two or three decades. Umm yes… I do want to know what the red velvet milkshake tastes like… and the cheesecake one… and the Boris Becker… and the popcorn and salted caramel… and the bee sting. After a meal and five or six milkshakes, I generally slip into a kind of food-induced stupor that involves fifteen to twenty minutes of vacant, blissful staring and light drooling. While, to me, this a perfectly acceptable response to a great meal, I feel that it has contributed to what can only be described as a staggering inability to get second dates.
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  • I had the pleasure if eating at this amazing Cafe. Delicious food, great service and a cool vibe. Loved the huge doors and mural. The food had a special ingredient and that was the care and love that went into making the various dishes. A personal touch. The manageress was very hands on and saw that her customers were all taken care of. Will definately be back!
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  • 'Smaakvol' in al sy betekenisse!Boiler room bly een van my gunsteling restaurante.Middagetes of tema aande laat my tevrede elke keer.Met hulle kontemporêre voorbereiding van tradisionele elemente, smaaklike kos,goeie waarde vIr geld,vinnige en profesionele diens kan mens sien hoekom hierdie een van Durban se juwele is. Hulle hamburgers en milkshakes(veral lemon meringue) laat my mond water.Puik plek vir besigheids middagetes of vriende samekoms oor goeie kwaliteit koffie. Brigit Potgieter
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  • Love this space, I went to an evening function at the Boiler Room and it was magical. The venue at night is even more spectacular than the day. The service was friendly and efficient and I loved the quirky canapés that were served. My fav was the little baby bunny chows and little tin mugs of soup. A great spot for a 60th birthday - or any party.
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  • What's not to like about this fantastic café. I've eaten there several times now and I've not been disappointed. Their milkshakes are worth every calorie and they have my all time favourite salad; pear, pecan and gorgonzola. If you can you must go to one of their pop up nights, I went with some friends to their Karoo evening and it was 6 courses of delicious - plus you bring your own booze with no charge. Just being in the building was great, they light up the water tower and chimney and you feel like your somewhere special - not in the industrial area of Durban! It's a must visit whether for breakfast or dinner.
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  • Delicious food, great ambience, eclectic décor... The Boiler Room Café is one of my most favourite-est restaurants in Durban. It's very New York in style with its huge doors, high ceiling and warehouse-type size. Painted murals on the walls and its relatively obscure location in the back-end of the old Lion Match Factory make it a trendy, popular place with the fashionable Durban locals. The food is sublime; it's wholesome cooking with fresh ingredients and delightful combinations (you can tell the Boiler Room is the baby sister of 9th Avenue Bistro - simply THE BEST restaurant in Durban). You must try the milkshakes, and I think the burgers are the scrummiest in town. I feel ALL THE LOVES for this place. Divine!
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  • Best place for a variety of yummy milkshakes after a good surf! Love the cool vibe, the artwork and the doors are to die for!!!
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  • A great experience from the moment you see the gorgeous space! Open and airy, perfect for soaking up a gorgeous Durbs morning. Quick and friendly service, awesome coffee, and a playful and ever-changing menu. It's on our Saturday morning rotation, and never disappoints! If Graham is featuring anything Mexican when you're there, don't miss it - he must have tequila running through his veins!
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  • Super breakfast or brunch. Delish milkshakes!
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  • My absolute favourite place for breakfast or brunch. My partner ordered the super-soft breakfast bun with bacon and egg and a slathering of fresh basil mayo, while I tucked in to the completely comforting (great for hangovers!) bowl of huevos rancheros. The combination of spicy Mexican-flavoured beans and salty chorizo that is topped with cheddar cheese and a perfectly poached egg is irresistible and a toasted English muffin is conveniently served with it to mop up all the sauce. If you have space after devouring the savoury options, make sure you try one of their gourmet milkshakes. We shared a salted caramel popcorn milkshake and it was completely worth the calories!

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  • What a fantastic spot, hidden away in the original Lion Match Factory in Umgeni Rd, it has a cool vibe about it. I really enjoyed sitting there on a Saturday morning for their extended brunch. I had the most delicious pulled pork quesadilla and my boyfriend had an amazing burger. The milkshakes were delicious - loved the salted caramel & popcorn. Our waiter was super friendly. We will be back with friends!
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  • Interesting place,great setup and I LOVE THE IDEA!! I was snubbed by the initial waiter, there was a bug on the fresh cream and my donut was a tad dry so I dropped 1 star on each rating....but will definitely give it another go....
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Breakfast
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Wheelchair

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