Durban’s Umhlanga Village is known for its intimidating choice of eateries. The latest one to open up on Chartwell Drive – Fourteen on Chartwell – comes from the foodie brand behind Vovo Telo and Tasha’s. The new gastropub serves up modern pub grub and a killer craft beer selection. Already a popular spot for afternoon drinks and boozy dinners, Nikita Buxton heads to this buzzing hotspot to see what all the fuss is about.
Average main course: R100
Serves: Contemporary pub grub, cocktails, craft beer
Best for: Working lunch, after-work drinks, festive weekend dinners
Parking: Umhlanga Village tends to get quite busy, so take a taxi or try to get there early to nab a spot in one of the surrounding parking lots.
Star ratings: Food: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 5
The large and slightly overwhelming menu offers modern gastropub fare with a good layer of comfort. To start, go for the tender and lightly crumbed salt and pepper calamari, paired with a delightfully tangy chilli ginger jam, or the halloumi, fig and prosciutto spring rolls (although the chilli dipping sauce is slightly-too-sweet). The copper pots of cider-soaked mussels were also flying out the kitchen – definitely a good sign. For a simple light lunch, the jaffles are definitely the way to go. They are a tad on the small side but are packed with flavour and served with a good portion of fries. The BBQ pulled pork option is smoky and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Other tempting fillings include Durban chicken curry and bacon, brie and cranberry.
The ‘signatures’ section on the menu boasts a few intriguing options, which includes the popular pie of the day. If you’re a big seafood fan, the grilled prawns are excellent. Perfectly pink and plump, they’re dusted in moreish Szechuan pepper and served with roasted garlic aioli and a side of golden fries. The lobster mac ‘n cheese is one of those trendy dishes that you either love or hate. The creamy pasta is served on a plate rather than baked in an oven dish and has generous pieces of delicate lobster on top. The dish is rich and luxurious with a gruyère cheese sauce and a crumble of crispy herbs, carrot and leeks. The sauce, however, is surprisingly smoky – perhaps from a smoked cheese. It doesn’t state this on the menu; so bear this in mind if you are not a fan of smoky flavours.
Desserts include decadent options like Eton mess, Bar One spring rolls and a hot fudge sundae. We decided to go for the lighter sounding Mojito cheesecake. Fresh and zesty from the lime, it was a good, simple fridge cheesecake, but lacked that mojito zing. There is also a selection of indulgent sounding spiked milkshakes for those who want an extra alcoholic kick with their dessert.
It’s a gastropub, which means the drinks list is pretty comprehensive. The craft beer and cocktail offering is impressive as are the wines (albeit a bit pricey).
The gleaming wraparound bar takes centre stage and striking low-slung lights and brown leather booth seating add a sophisticated feel. Reminiscent of a swanky 70’s hotel, the space is adorned with palm tree wallpaper and colours of green and gold. It’s stylish and retro with great acoustics.
A little nervous at first but friendly and efficient.
Try the flights of beer served with cheese or German sausage bites for a fun mini beer and food pairing.