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Freedom Café

Freedom Café
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Cost
R70 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Mediterranean, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
500

Critic's review

Tracy Gielink

Food
Like the setting, the menu is an anomaly. It takes inspiration from comfort food, Asian flavours, the classics and everything in between. Revel in breakfasts like eggs benedict on homemade bâtard (French bread) topped with wilted baby spinach, poached eggs and hollandaise, or zucchini fritters served on rocket with mushrooms and a creamy parmesan sauce. Try the fresh flavours of shaved cucumber wrapped around greens, capers, avo, salmon gravalax and feta with honey mustard dressing, or delve into the pleasures of slow-cooked pulled pork served on a brioche bun. Local flavours are recognised with the Durban burger – a spicy chicken breast topped with a pineapple and chilli salsa. Owner Lucy Markewicz also runs the Cake Lab so look out for mouth-watering baked goods.

Drinks
The perfunctory wine list offers sufficient choice for a daytime rendezvous. Shakes, spiked shakes, smoothies, cocktails and craft beer add considerable clout to the collection.

Service
Waiters are helpful when focused on the task at hand but can become distracted. That said, they are friendly, well versed in the menu and happily accommodate idiosyncrasies.

Ambience
A quirky creative space where a converted container forms the nucleus. It is home to the coffee bar, which is also used to display delicious cakes and a small dining area, but it’s the al fresco tables that are sought after. Tables are scattered under the trees between the container and old outbuilding that serves as a kitchen and make the most of Durban’s balmy weather.

And…
Breakfast is served all day.

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  • Service
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  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    Freedom Café is, thankfully, the kind of place that serves all-day breakfasts. Choices abound, but the buttermilk pancake stack makes for a wicked start to the day. Other options include the always-delicious zucchini fritters served on a bed of rocket and topped with mushrooms, a creamy parmesan sauce and a poached egg. Dishes are light, fresh and flavourful, and there is a noticeable Asian influence in dishes like the prawn roll served with nuoc cham dipping sauce and Vietnamese vegetable rolls in rice paper. The pulled pork served on a brioche bun with hand cut fries is the ultimate comfort food, or opt for modern classics like a New Yorker hotdog.

    Drinks 
    The succinct wine list is white-dominated and covers most bases; all wines are available by the glass. There is a smattering of craft beer and some delicious cocktails. Non-alcoholic drinks take the form of smoothies and an extensive tea and coffee menu.

    Service
    Waiters are friendly, helpful and well versed in the menu, if sometimes a little sluggish. Getting through on the phone can become an exercise in patience. Food is prepared with relish, but is done so in a small kitchen – so soak up the vibe, as orders may take a bit longer than the instant-gratification crowd is used to.

    Ambience
    It’s as much an urban hangout as it is a restaurant. The contemporary space revolves around a converted shipping container. Outside tables nestle under the trees in a quirky courtyard, making it a great spot to enjoy the city’s balmy weather.

    And…
    Don’t overlook the delicious baked goods.

    (July 2014)

  • Grab a coffee and pastry or something more substantial like lamb tagine or smoked ribs at this vibey spot. Zany décor features wallpaper, mirrors and lights. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    Former owner of Vanilla Café and owner of Lucy's Cake Shop, Lucy Markewicz brings her culinary skills to this container restaurant in the garden of one of Durban’s newest boutique hotels. Breakfasts include the usual takes on Benedict or super-fluffy organic scrambled eggs. At tea-time, you’re invited to some of the best baking in Durban, while lunches are light and leisurely.

    Wine
    A chilled list, compact, quaffable and accessible to the ladies who lunch.

    Service
    Young, manicured and competent.

    Ambience
    It’s the funkiest ‘mjondolo’ in town, with zany wallpapers, baroque mirrors and beaded lights inside. Spill out under the trees with herbs in brightly coloured plastic Dachshund troughs. Certainly a talking point!

    And...
    This is one of the trendiest spots to been sitting sipping a latte and digging into decadent pastries. They have bi-monthly specials, so pop by and check them out. (FC, October 2012)

User reviews

  • Quirky  little spot with delicious breakfast and lunch options. The fish cakes are a winning dish!

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  • Very cool!
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  • Great set up, but the unfriendly service, lukewarm drinks and incomplete order made it a very disappointing experience. The saving grace was the friendly car guard!
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  • I was really impressed with the layout and decor of the cafe, it created a cool atmosphere. The concept is great.
    However, the service was not the best. Firstly, we waited about 20min to get our drinks and had to eventually flag down a waiter to take our food order after waiting another 30min. It wasn't even particularly busy.
    My friends ordered burgers which were delicious.
    I ordered the pulled chicken taco which actually ended up being a chicken tortilla. I wasn't impressed.

    I wrote a comment on their Facebook wall which they then deleted. In my opinion, very unprofessional.

    It's a shame that a café with such a great concept, great dishes and full of potential can be overshadowed by bad service and an apathetic attitude towards well-meaning customers.

    Needless to say, I will not be returning.
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  • They have the most heavenly carrot cake...worth every cent. Oh and juicy burgers minus the grease.

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dog-friendly
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • WiFi

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