Helurrr all you beautiful people. I come to you today, thoroughly refreshed and (somewhat) de-stressed following a small holiday to Durban. I know what you’re probably thinking, how could I take a holiday to Durban because that’s where I’m from, right? Wrong. I’m from Cape Town now… I’ve decided, it’s official.
Anyhoo, as the title suggests, this is a food review! Nom nom. It is no secret that I simply love food and take full advantage of every opportunity that I have to enjoy it. Which is why when got an email from my favourite Durban restaurant about a gourmet dinner menu – which was going to be launched around the same time that I would be in town, I literally jumped at the chance to attend!
A little back story…
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 3 years now, and we had our very first official date at this establishment. I wasn’t a very big eater back then (let’s take a moment to laugh at that), also I was a simple girl (again, let’s laugh). So when we walked in and were greeted by an amazingly dressed hostess and showed to our table, needless to say that I was relieved that I chose to ditch my sneakers and jeans for a leather jacket and formal boots. Fast forward a bit and we’ve been to Greedy Buddha every anniversary since – I guess it’s become a tradition now. Not just because we have memories of love and laughter there, but man do they know food! Every single meal that we’ve had there was authentic, reasonably priced and absolutely delicious!
So now that you’re aware of my personal attachment to this place, let’s start with this non-biased review. (insert giggle here)
A bit about the restaurant
The Greedy Buddha first opened in Durban North in 2013, inspired by South East Asian cuisine. After having a successful 2 years in business, they took to a ‘new home’ in Umhlanga, Durban. The setup is truly magical, draped in fairy lights, boasting a beautiful view of the Gateway Mall, yet giving you the feeling of being hidden – if that makes sense. It truly is such a romantic place and gives you all the feels (the good ones obviously), but it also has an awesome atmosphere for a casual gathering of friends, colleagues and family. Versatility is definitely a plus when looking for a good restaurant.
They have made changes to their menu and head chef over the past few years, so let me introduce you to the amazing chef responsible for this review.
Nilesh grew up in a small town on the North Coast of Durban called Tongaat. His first teacher was his mom, and even though he didn’t think of making a career out of culinary arts, she helped to instill some great qualities in making him self-sufficient. Originally a mechanical engineering student, he longed for a zest for life – enter Culinary Arts. (He didn’t choose the Culinary life, the Culinary life chose him)
He graduated at the top of his class at the International Hotel School in Westville and started his journey at the Urban Park Hotel. An opportunity to travel abroad presented itself, and Chef Nilo soared. He landed a job at the world famous Breakers Resort in Palm Beach Florida, where he gained invaluable experience and knowledge in the year that he spent there. He returned home to join Sun International as a Sous Chef at Windmill Casino and Sibaya Casino. However, he wasn’t quite done with the rest of the world – next stop: New Zealand, where he worked for a five star Retreat in the South Island which is named Te Wanoui Forrest Retreat. His team also won the golden plate award for best lamb and beef in New Zealand – Wowzers! Then it was off to Dubai, where he made Executive Chef at the age of 25 (the youngest that the group has ever had). He was tasked to run and operate The City Grill Steak House at the W hotel in Al Habtoor City, whilst also being a part of a team that managed 4 restaurants and a night club. He returned home, where he consulted for Time Square Casino in Pretoria as well as a Game safari lodge in Namibia. His most recent travels took him back to Florida for the winter season at a five star country club. He’s now the head chef and general manager of Greedy Buddha and wants to remain here to showcase his expertise in the local restaurant scene.
Nilesh hopes to inspire the next generation of young chefs by showcasing his talent coupled with perseverance and hard work.
Now for the food!
The Gourmet Dinner Menu was R289 (per person) for 7 courses. Trust me when I say that I was completely blown away by the taste of every single element and how well they worked together. From the peanut and chilli combination to probably the best tasting dhall I’ve ever had (sorry mummy) – it was an amazing experience.
When we arrived, we were greeted (as always) by a genuine smile and showed to our table. We were seated outside – which I absolutely gushed over because of my obsession with fairy lights! A few moments later, we were greeted by our waiter for the evening and he took us through what to expect. He gave us a few minutes after we ordered drinks and the first course arrived.
Here’s a blow-by-blow 🙂
- I was greeted by a bowl of delicious smelling broth, and right there in the middle, a perfectly filled wonton. The first time I’ve ever tried a wonton was right there at Greedy Buddha in July 2015. Since then, I’ve tried a few other places but in the words of Fabolous, “nothing comes close to the feeling of your first”. I have to admit that I was underwhelmed by the portion at first, mostly because I’m greedy, but man was I proved wrong.
- After minutes of praising the first course, we were introduced to the second – a ravioli. I don’t believe that I’ve had this before, but we’ve all watched movies so I’ve experienced it in some other way (visually of course). This one was particularly exciting for me because I had also never had crayfish. Shocker, I know, but I’m an Indian girl from Durban, of course crab curry is as luxurious as my seafood cuisine goes. Honestly, the smell of the seafood was slightly overpowering for me – but I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell (my boyfriend hates it lol). It was still yummy, and the creamy sauce that it came in balanced the flavors out perfectly.
- Lucky number 3. This one literally blew me away (I’m probably going to say that about everything from this place lol). It was a chicken skewer, smothered in the most amazing sauce ever. The actual chicken was so tender, yet it reminded me of tikka from back home. The peanut, chilli, coconut and candied nuts brought this dish to life. My taste buds were high-fiving each other. It.was.delicious.
- Then it was time for probably my favorite styled dishes. They rolled out a black plate, and on it was a serving of beef fillet topped with pesto, rocket as a dash of mayo. The entire plate was just so stunning and I’m afraid that my photograph does not do it justice. DISCLAIMER: I am not a food photographer because I’m too impatient to actually dig in. Personally, the beef was slightly undercooked for me (I prefer my meat medium-rare), but my boyfriend rejoiced! He literally said, and I quote, “this is the best beef fillet I’ve ever had”. He happily inhaled my portion as well, while I nibbled on the rocket and mayo.
- Enter sashimi. WOW.WOW.WOW. Another dish that I ate with my eyes first. I only started eating (and enjoying) sushi a few years ago, but boy oh boy, was this sashimi trio amazing. Each were paired with another flavor separately so you literally experienced a different taste each time. My favourite was the salmon on a bed of peas. Usually, I hide my peas under my napkin, but these were super fresh, super sweet and super delicious!
- Okay, this one right here, captured my heart. My little Indian heart. When I saw the description on the menu, I thought, ah another attempt at a curry. Personally, I’m a huge critic when it comes to curries, maybe because I have a particular taste that I expect. Can I just say that this curry was LEGIT! The lamb pieces were cooked to perfection, seasoned just the right amount and the gravy it was in – Magnifiqué! As if that wasn’t enough, it was accompanied by dhall. But not just any dhall, the best dhall I have ever had the privilege of licking off the bowl. I think I cried a little at the nostalgia this taste brought.
- The bitter sweet moment of dessert. Not just because of the elements in the dish, but because I was so excited to have dessert, and knew that was my final course. First up, there was an amazing scoop of chocolate ice-cream that took my breath away – smooth, chocolatey, creamy. Then, a decadent gooey in the middle chocolate cake. And lastly, an interesting fruity concoction. The top layer reminded me of jelly, but had such a beautiful fruity taste, that helped balance out the rich chocolatey heaven I found myself in. However, at the bottom was ginger, apple and some other herb that I can’t quite place. It left me so shocked because I mean, ginger. But not only that, it was refreshing and what I needed to end the night.
I’ve included pictures of each course in the order they arrived below. The description was taken from the menu, but feel free to drop me a comment if you need any more information!
Some other pictures that I managed to capture – although these don’t do the space justice! For more information and to book you reservation, check them out here.
What are you favourite places to dine at? Let me know 🙂
Until next time