Restaurant Kids Jungle Gyms. Attraction or parent trap?

imagesWe have a 2,5 year old energetic granddaughter who has developed a penchant for restaurant kids jungle gyms… especially Spurs. Jungle Gyms have certainly become a welcome introduction at various diners as they  allow parents to have a relatively uninterrupted meal while the little ones burn up some energy.

This blog post was precipitated due to the fact that I was encouraged to visit 3 different restaurants in one afternoon  in a quest to satisfy our Granddaughters appetite for this convenient form of entertainment.

However, I beg to ask whether these attractions have indeed been placed with another plot in mind… to keep us there longer? or to have us dragged there by our children? Sorry to those diners who don’t have a jungle gym as its quite evident who’s calling the shots when we decide to go out for a meal.

Parents are asking whether these Jungle Gyms are safe and if they are a breeding ground for germs? We have observed that all have minders in attendance who actively manage the behaviour of the kids. We particularly appreciate the face painting artistry.

So it looks like we need to arm ourselves with additional psychological weaponry to manage our granddaughters appetite for diner jungle gyms…

Maestro’s

Maestros-Fine-dining-logo21Eating out at Maestro’s is indeed a fine dining experience. Situated in a nondescript house converted to a restaurant in Musgrave, Durban, Maestro’s is a fine dining destination venue. Having eaten there once before and having personally met Chef Ismail Arbee, I looked forward to the dinner with the family to celebrate son-in-laws birthday. Maestros

Chef Ismail recommended the Prawn infused steak as a main meal preference which incidentally is his personal choice. Whilst not my selection (prawns and steak is not my ideal combo), son ordered it and enjoyed the tender 300g fillet and prawn mix that was served with mash.

The other dishes consisted of lamb curry, steak and grilled chicken. All the meals were thoroughly enjoyed but particular mention must be made regarding the presentation. Fine dining would certainly not be fine if both, the ambience and presentation of the meal was not of the highest standard. Chef Ismail scored well on both items. 

Being a fine dining experience, the meal prices are expectedly above average. As the menu is available on the internet, there should be no surprises. All patrons who make the reservation and special trip out to Maestro’s should know what to expect. 

The service is aimed to be good but it really depends on the waiter serving you. I have observed a general high quality of training and consistency that one would expect at a restaurant such as Maestro’s. 

Whilst not a frequently affordable destination for most folk, Maestro’s is a highly recommended halaal fine dining experience in  Durban.

Click here for Maestro’s contact details

House of Schwarma

House of Schwarma

This fast food outlet in the heart of Fordsburg’s CBD is conveniently located on the corner of Central and Commercial roads. An interesting mix of Syrian, Jordanian and Moroccan staff are happily there to welcome customers. Traditional Moroccon Schwarmas made on a Fala bread are top of the menu.

The most interesting part of the Schwarma meal is the selection of the fillings that ranges from Onions, tomatoes and cucumbers to pickled cabbage. Humuous, Garlic sauce and chilli are standard offerings to complement your meal. 

An interesting spin to the menu is fresh fruit juices. Made from fresh fruit while you wait. The Watermelon juice is amazing. The finished product tastes like the juice from an exceptionally sweet watermelon. At R15 for a medium cup, its great value for money.

House of Schwarma has a seating area outside the store. Sadly, Fordsburg has turned out to be a beggars “paradise which brings an unfettered stream of beggars while you eat. One can’t help but feel sorry for the beggars which would put a damper to any good meal. So, if you plan to visit the House of Schwarma, I suggest doing a takeaway.

The varied Moroccan bottled and canned products together with the TV thats permanently tuned into a satellite Arab channel provides a unique authenticity to this food outlet. In fact, it reminded me of a similar food outlet in the bustling city of Manhattan, New York, USA.

Subway Cresta Mall

Subway crestaAnother quick lunch meal that is interestingly interactive. One has to be personally involved in making choices that range from the selection of the type of bread (Italian, Wheat, Honey Oat, Parmesan Oregano) and then the best part…. 6 inch or footlong!!

Son decided to have the footlong AND upsize to extra meat (add R16). The attached image is the result of his Italian B.M.T (R49.90 sliced Beef, Salami and Pepperoni).

It turned out to be a protein filled zesty meal (JalapeƱos added to the zest).

Great company and tasty food is always a great combination.

Ocean Basket Trade Route Mall

IMG_2947Ocean Basket offers great seafood value for money. Our visit to Ocean Basket was a satisfying experience. Not much has changed since my last visit about a year ago – Same owners and friendly staff. 

The new seared Salmon on the menu is delicious. Whilst they have a local chef preparing the Sushi, its as well prepared and presented as a Japanese chef would. Ocean Basket is doing something right at head office in ensuring consistent quality is maintained. Note well that Wasabi (Japanese Horse Radish) is not served with the dish as the intent is not to taint or alter the succulent taste of the seared Salmon.

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 The owners were on hand to quickly remedy a potential issue with the lack of easily accesable chopsticks. 

In closing, a plea on behalf of our waiter… Kindly tip at least 10% (South African standard tip) when being served at a diner. Waiters rely on these tips to supplement a meagre basic income.

Taste of India

After eating a few times at the Taste of India in the past two weeks, this has been an overdue posting for what has turned out to be an excellent eastern food restaurant and takeaway. Located in a nondescript venue above a pharmacy and supermarket on Lenasia’s Flamingo street, Taste Of India is a hidden gem of a quality food diner. The Dall Makhni is prepared the traditional Indian style and well seasoned with familiar indian spices.Taste of India

The Tandoori Chicken Tikka (Quarter), priced at R28.00 is tasty value for money. With many chicken tikka outlets around, the freshly prepared, spicy chicken breast is on par with the best if not better. Together with the traditional naan, salad and tikka sauce, the 1/4 chicken tikka is indeed a dish to try from Taste of India.

To my surprise, tucked away to the side of the 1st floor entrance is an entertainment hall that is perfectly suited for a banquet or reception. My visit today coincided with two events taking place later tonight in both, the main dining area and entertainment hall. The cost for the venue and 3 course meal, including drinks is simply R80 per head. This presents a simple option for a last minute event with great food to match.

I look forward to my next meal from Taste of India!

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Jimmys ‘killer prawns’

IMG_2820I was intrigued when I drove past Fordsburg today and saw yet another Jimmy’s franchise called “Jimmy’s Pizza”. It seems like they are trying to flood the market. For those of you that don’t know yet, there is also Jimmy’s Grills and Jimmy’s Fish and Chips.

Nevertheless, it was my experience at Jimmy’s killer prawns at the Zone in Rosebank that has inspired this post. It was a wonderful Sunday evening and as usual the Zone was packed to capacity. My husband and I were greeted by friendly staff that seated us and took the liberty of explaining the daily specials. We settled for two different platters of prawns, ‘Kashmiri’ style. The presentation of the food on arrival was flawless, the prawns were perfectly cooked and the spice was definately one of  a kind. The side dishes comprised of, a greek salad, thin crispy spiced chips, stirfry and my favourite of them all, the cream spinach and butternut.

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Panarottis Trade Route Mall revamped!

Panarottis

The revamp to the interior of Panarottis at Trade Route Mall brings a fresh change to a popular family Pizza destination. Panarottis is part of the Spur Corporation Group which consists of Spur, Panarottis, John Dory and Captain Doregos. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Panarottis also do an awesome steak (they too use the same Spur sauce! )

I am always treated to a medium grilled fillet steak which is always done to perfection! In fact, I literally ate my tongue (seriously bit it) the first time when settling into the most succulent steak I have ever eaten.

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The NEW kiddies play area is a welcome addition to the outside dining area which is conveniently positioned at the entrance and outside seating area. This arrangement allows parents (who don’t mind the noise) to be close to their little ones while enjoying a delicious meal from the varied Panarotti menu comprising of Pastas and Pizzas as their speciality.

Our favourite starter has always been the Avo Del Mare (Tangy seafood cocktail served with sliced avocado (seasonal) and garlic flat bread) which can be found under “Light Meals”. Don’t forget to ask for the prawns to be cooked as they generally serve them raw.

Whenever the owner was present, my visits to Panarottis has always been filled with the attention to my personal preferences and I have never been disappointed by their quality of the food or service from their waiters.

 

Akhalwayas Protea Plaza Lenasia.. buy it on credit

Akhals

Much to my surprise Akhalways Lenasia accepts credit cards! More importantly, another social media site “Ask Nanima” was the catalyst so I was informed. Apparently a post appeared on the site by someone indicating that if Akhalwayas accepted credit cards, they would definitely support them… well, a few dozen posts later, the chorus of voices was unanimous and the owners decided to take the good advice.

Yes, turnover did increase (if you were curious!) and the owners have not looked back on that decision. Surprisingly, the acceptance of cards is not overtly advertised… their are no customary “we accept….” signs. However, I was told that the signs were going up soon.

Sadly, I was unable to test the credit card machine due to connection problems (or my account was empty)… but I was not disappointed by the yummy slap chips and freshly fried Hake fish.

Mochachos Fordsburg is right on T

Mochachos

Mochachos Fordsburg is one of the few halaal franchisees that truly upholds its brand value and reputation in terms of quality. Whilst their chicken and chip spice is indeed unique, a gem in their menu (and not available at all stores) is their yummy T-Bone steak. Combined with their pap and chutney, its an unbeatable combination. A side garden salad is a fine complimentary addition to a wholesome protein filled meal.

You might find the chutney serving a bit too little but the friendly staff are always too happy to top it up for no additional fee.

Always ensure that you are a little early over peak periods such as lunch and supper as you may have to wait a little while for a free table. Like most fast food franchisers with a dining area, you order at the counter and the food will be brought to your table.

Mochachos Fordsburg also takes credit cards and is located on the busy Mint road in Fordsburg (diagonally across the Train),

Milkylane Lenasia.. an old time favourite

MilkylaneA sugar low must have driven us there. My wife and I met our son who had just knocked off work at Milkylane located at Signet Terrace, Lenasia.

A choca chino, mushroom cheeza, cinnamon doughnut and choco cookie whizzer later, we had our tastebuds satisfied, bellies full and sugar happiness all abuzz.

Milkylane in lenasia is still a family favourite with friendly staff, sweet menu and convenient location. (If you remember the original Milkylane at Grand Place then you too are getting old like me…;-)

Ninos Gateway… a refreshing change

Ninos Gateway

A business meeting brought me back to an abandoned restaurant destination. One of a handful of halal diners at Gateway, Ninos Gateway has experienced the typical “absent owner” syndrome in the past two years suffering from high staff turnover ranging from shift managers, kitchen staff and waiters over the past year;

Not any more as me and my business associate were pleasantly surprised to be met with Ninos manager Mikhaeel who turns out to be the son of the owner. Now this is different! So, in true form, I poured forth verbal construct that spoke to my past years running battle with poor food quality and service at the same restaurant.

Mikhaeel, respectfully listened and eventually challenged me to a possible positively new experience. I agreed to the challenge (despite my natural sense to suggest an alternative to the choice my host made).

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