Eat Out critic Nikita Buxton visits an icon in Durban, Unity Brasserie and Bar.
Best for: A lively dinner with friends
Cost: Average price of a main course is R85
Serves: Meaty fare and modern flavours
Star rating: Food 4, service 5, ambience 4
The food here is hearty and unpretentious without being boring. There’s a definite nod to Durban’s local flavours and produce, and it makes for some darn tasty grub.
Kick things off with the popular deep-fried olives, perfectly cooked salt-and-pepper squid, and sweetcorn samoosas. If the appetiser list seems too daunting, go for a Unity platter, for which you can pick and choose. The marinated mushroom and parmesan bruschetta are definitely an unsung hero, while the sizzling garlic prawns are plump and beautifully seasoned.
From carefully cooked steaks to spot-on ribs, the mains are meaty and packed with flavour. You can’t go wrong with a burger here, either. The avo and jalapeño version is always a good pick, while the pulled pork sliders are everything you want in a bun: smoky, spicy and saucy with a sweet bite of juicy pineapple. Vegetarians will not go hungry: The veg burger with a chickpea-and-feta patty is one of the best in town.
As for seafood, the golden, beer-battered fish and chips will give a fish shop a run for its money – especially with the home-made tartare sauce.
If there’s any room left after mains, the beer-and-honey ice-cream sundae is a deliciously appropriate choice, and comes with peanut brittle and mini chocolate-dipped sugar cone. The cheesecake here also deserves a high-five.
Locals often drop in at Unity for drinks and it’s clear why. The craft beer selection is impressive, with a good showcase of Durban’s very own That Brewing Co. beers. There are also some chalkboard specials with local ciders and quirkily named cocktails like the Fawlty Basil julep. If it’s wine you’re after, a list with easy-drinking favourites will please – and nearly all are available by the glass.
The staff are on the ball and attentive. Whether you ask for a bottle of wine from big sister, Café 1999, or simply drop a fork that needs replacing, there’s always someone willing to help.
The long wooden beer-tap-lined bar takes centre stage, with a wall of interesting spirits and mixes behind it. The decor is simple yet on-trend with cool charcoal hues and steel and wooden accents. Large windows offer ample light during the day.
Look out for the excellent weekday specials and happy hours.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.