The Glenwood Bakery has established itself as the artisanal-bread baseline against which all other bakeries in Durban are measured, says Eat Out critic Shirley Berko.
Slow-fermented hearth-baked bread is freshly prepared before dawn every morning, and usually sold out before noon. But, as any reverent local knows, there’s more to The Glenwood Bakery than just that.
Simple breakfasts of soft-poached eggs, served with caramelised baby tomatoes on one of the breads, such as the coveted rosemary potato loaf, are representative of what chef and owner Adam Robinson, does well: simple, unpretentious food, with each ingredient honoured to perfection. Robinson has an almost constructivist approach to cooking: nothing is served that shouldn’t be on the plate. There’s no superfluous garnish, just the perfect slice of bread and the perfect free-range egg. No more, no less.
The Glenwood Bakery is open for pizza dinners every Monday and Tuesday, with pizzas ranging from about R60 to R70. Prices are extremely reasonable. The pizza menu is a single page of a few options, including antipasto, that changes each week depending on availability of seasonal ingredients. House-made ice creams are usually on the pudding list, with a rotating range of flavours.
Bring your own; otherwise, sip on freshly pressed juices and coffee.
Food preparation takes precedence over promptness, so if you are popping in in the morning, enjoy the free WiFi or the paper while you wait. If it’s the evening, bring a bottle of wine and some friends for a chat as your pizza bakes for dinner.
The bakery is abuzz with chatter, redolent with warm smells wafting from the oven, and occasionally punctuated by the hissing of the coffee machine or grinder. It’s cosy and comfortable.
If you are after a specific loaf, be sure to pre-order. The bakery can make anything from soda bread to challah.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Chef Adam Robinson has become synonymous with artisanal bread. Working from a very limited space in the back of the Glenwood bakery, and starting from 3.30am, Adam and his team prepare breads made from locally milled, unbleached stone ground flour and their aged mother starter.
What started out as just a bakery, one that served coffee and simple but beautifully prepared poached eggs and a few small items for breakfast, has expanded to much more to meet increasing demand. And it's not hard to see why.
Between 10am and 3pm you can snack on gourmet sandwiches, filled to bursting with fresh ingredients like Midlands cheeses, roast tomatoes, aubergine, cold chicken, hard cheeses, served on rye, ciabatta or rosemary and potato bread.
In summer, there's ice cream, made at the Bakery. From the simple and creamy vanilla, freckled with the pod seeds, to chocolate malt, salted caramel or a grapefruit sorbet.
Two nights a week the bakery opens in the evenings for pizza and burgers. The pizza bases are all baked in the same oven that the bread is made in, and the topping combinations are both uncomplicated and heady. Ranging from a basic margherita – which is worth ordering because simple is what Adam does best – to gourmet, such as artichokes, anchovies, parmesan and fresh basil and rocket. The prices are very reasonable, with very few items ever over R70.
Coffees are brewed from beans sourced from the city’s micro-roasteries, and teas are loose leaf. Juices are freshly squeezed.
Orders are placed at the counter and waiters serve the food. The setup is efficient.
It’s a casual affair, with a few tables inside, including a long communal table, and stools and tables propped up against the bakery window. There are tables and chairs arranged on the sidewalk outside and it’s a relaxing, continental pavement café ambience.
The pizza evenings are on Monday and Tuesday nights and patrons are encouraged to bring their own tipple, whether it is wine or vodka. There is no corkage charged.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.