Venues

The Glenwood Restaurant

The Glenwood Restaurant
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Cost
R75 avg main meal
Ambience
Hip & happening
Food
Bistro fare, Italian
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Shirley Berko

Food
In reverence to the simplicity of honouring the main ingredients of a dish, chef and restaurateur Adam Robinson, of the renowned artisanal Glenwood Bakery fame, offers up his latest venture, another homage to the combination of water and flour. And this time it’s all about pasta.

The dishes are very reasonably priced, which aligns with the conservative portions served. But each mouthful is worth so much more. Durbanites associate Adam with his talent with bread, coaxing soft pillows of dough into fresh, thick-crusted treasures that sell out in minutes; but it’s clear by the pasta served that his skills are not limited to yeast and starters. Gossamer-thin sheets of open ravioli drape Mediterranean vegetables, the butternut and feta rottolo is worth having twice in one sitting, and the squid ink black ribbons of tagliatelle knotted around the steamed plump mussels cling to them like seaweed on the rocks – these menu items uphold the ethos of celebrating simple ingredients.

The main menu is short – a single page – and as uncomplicated and simple as the dishes it represents. Its unassuming black and white typed page belies the incredible flavours each dish serves up. It demonstrates that the items on it are all cooked fresh, handmade and prepared perfectly. There are also nice daily specials, three each for starters, mains and desserts, made from seasonally available produce. As the price of a starter, roughly R40, is about the same as a cocktail at other establishments, it’s a great idea to order more than one item and sample more of the menu.

The offerings are also, surprisingly, mostly vegetarian, but your palate won’t miss the protein once it tastes what’s on offer. For those who must have meat, there’s the prerequisite steak and veg on offer.

Drinks
The wine list features some interesting and well-loved labels from local estates. There are also some delicious cocktails on offer.

Service
The service is efficient and unobtrusive with the hostess, Adam’s daughter, Adelaide Robinson, taking time to engage with diners and ensure a pleasant experience that extends beyond the food.

Ambience
Set inside an old home with wooden floors and white walls, the atmosphere is cosy and comfortable. The white linen elevates the dining experience to a more special and occasional feel beyond a bistro or café space.

And...
On Sundays they do roasts. Open just for lunch from 12pm to 3pm, there’s a feast to be had, but booking is essential.

(September 2016)

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  • Nikita Buxton

    Food
    The Glenwood Bakery team has kicked off a new dining venture in Durban’s Berea suburb. Named The Glenwood Restaurant, the space is headed up by master baker and chef Adam Robinson and is inspired by his fascination with all things pasta.

    To start, the antipasti boards are large and laden with Italian delicacies. The meat version boasts six kinds of pork and beef charcuterie as well as a luxurious bacon-and-chicken terrine. The vegetarian platter is flush with marinated peppers, artichokes, shiitake mushrooms, olives, tempura courgettes and two perfectly boiled eggs drizzled with a creamy aioli for a touch of richness. Don’t forget the famous bread from Glenwood Bakery – you’ll be chomping on bread sticks and chargrilled ciabatta before even thinking of your mains.

    Speaking of mains, the star of the show here is the pasta, which house made by Adam and his co-chef, John Stayner. Adam’s talent with flour shows: each plate is filled with silky, perfectly cooked strands, sheets and rolls of pasta glossy with sauce. The tagliatelle with cherry tomatoes, basil and cream is a thing of beauty. Plump tomatoes are slow-cooked and broken into the cream, making the sauce blush in colour and bursting with flavour. (It was hard to resist licking the plate.)

    The butternut-and-ricotta rotolo with pine nuts is covered in crispy sage and has a familiar comforting flavour, while the fried potato gnocchi with pop-in-your-mouth peas and bacon is moreishly tossed with parmesan. There’s also an open herb ravioli with ratatouille, olives and beurre blanc for vegetarians, and a robust, rich parpadelle special with red-wine-braised chicken and shiitake mushrooms for something a little heartier.

    Desserts change regularly, but on our visit we are treated to puffed-up soufflé beignets served with a simple dark-chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. There is also a delicate madeleine pastry paired perfectly with saffron ice cream and coral-coloured poached quince, which makes for a light option after the carb-rich lunch.

    The menu is incredibly reasonably priced and almost feels a steal with such beautifully rich and delicious food.

    Drinks
    The wine list features some interesting and well-loved labels from local estates. There are also some delicious cocktails on offer.

    Service
    Adam’s daughter, Adelaide Robinson, is the efficient and effervescent front-of-house, leading a team of knowledgeable and friendly staff.

    Ambience
    Situated in a cosy old Glenwood house that has a slight Victorian feel, the space is warm, welcoming and full of light. Old windows open up onto the veggie- and herb-filled garden, where guests can be seated. The décor is simple yet classic.

    And…
    On Sundays they serve a robust lunch in addition to the pasta dishes. Think roast sirloin, crisp pork belly, or roast leg of lamb with poached garlic and beans.

    (May 2016)

User reviews

  • Decided to try Glenwood restaurant after reading good reviews on the food. Really disappointing food and pricey. Wont be going back.
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  • We had a little end-of-year work lunch at the Glenwood Restaurant, the website made everything sound wonderfully delicious and authentically Italian however, much to our dismay, it was the worst food we've ever had. No points for the antipasto. The pappardelle was like lasagne sheets, tasted like brown stew chicken and my ravioli was swimming in butter...so gross. It doesn't help that the kitchen is basically apart of the seating area...no air con or decent fan. Just an all-round disappointing eating experience coupled to exorbitant prices.
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  • Having recently eaten at the Shortmarket in Cape Town and Marble in Jo'burg, I have to say as fussy diners our meal at Glenwood was delicious and up there with the best. The waiting staff were attentive and helpful and the bill modest for what we had. We will be back and are busy singing the praises of this spot. Well done and thanks.
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  • The pasta at Glenwood Restaurant is perfection and I love that the menu changes weekly. My personal favourite is the delicate tomato tagliatelle with a dash of cream and parmesan. The anti pasti platter is also always a winner, especially in large groups.

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  • My husband and I had a date night here after reading the welcoming, artistic webpage of the Glenwood restaurant. The restaurant looked beautiful from the outside, but once we stepped inside the gates we felt like trespassers. The host, without so much as greeting us, told us that the restaurant was full and shooed us outside. My hubs and I sat uncomfortably for fifteen minutes, discussing whether we were causing an inconvenience and wondering whether we should leave. Eventually a waitress arrived, speaking cheerfully over her shoulder to her coworkers but turning back to us with a scowl, returning our attempt at conversation with sullen one-word replies. We made our dinner requests and the food was magnificent! The simple sophistication of our tortellini was nothing short of art- compliments to the chef. The herbs were fresh and aromatic, the sage butter was scrumptious, and the pasta was positively newborn. I would highly recommend the juice concoctions; as previously stated, these cooks understand the nuance of combination. However, we ate with side-glances from the staff and I joked to my husband that perhaps this is where they place the poor who come begging for food. Unfortunately, our bill did not reflect this attitude. Where was our sin? We had dined with discretion and manners, obeyed the rules of restauranteering and its proper attire, and paid a lavish tip. Perhaps those best suited to this environment must be icy themselves to enjoy the place. That's okay- but we'd prefer the greasy fries and burgers sold with a smile one street away from the Glenwood Restaurant from now.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Lunch

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