Sunday, December 21, 2014

El Hombre, Florida Road

El Hombre in Florida Road (next to Spiga). Dropped in for a late lunch today and tried out the burrito and the taco. Ordering is fun, you pick your category (burrito, taco, nachos, etc), then main filling (beef, pork, chicken) and finally select from a variety of toppings, kind of like getting a schwarma.

 We tried the burrito with slow roasted brisket and the taco with pulled pork. Plenty of delicious salsa, guacamole and refried beans in there as well. The food was delicious, healthy and full of zingy lime and jalapeno flavours. Service was friendly, and the place was very quiet when we visited.

Washed it all down with an ice cold Corona, and finished off with the chili chocolate churros - don't skip them, they are moreish! Well worth supporting in my opinion. Tacos/Burritos are about R50 each, churros only R20.

Zak and Tonics Asian Pop-Up

Zak and Tonic are as ubiquitous in Durban outdoor dining circles as bunny chows or braaivleis. You’ve eaten their silky and elegant crepes at The Morning Trade at 8 Morrison. You’ve devoured their Super Steak Rolls at the I Heart Market, or their fragrant pulled pork buns at the Market in the Square. You’ve seen them at the Wonder Market, you’ve spotted them on rooftop pop ups, and chances are you’ve even been hosted by them at one of Durban’s always popular Secret Eats evenings.
This was a unique opportunity though to see what they could really do when given free reign over a menu and a kitchen, for two nights only with forty people dropping in for an Asian inspired feast.
The venue was The Foundry at 43 Station Drive – a renovated former clothing factory, and now a creative space that hosts workshops, studios and collaborative offices. For the night though, it had been transformed into a hidden Asian underworld. Two long trestle tables covered in cryptic Chinese newspaper and lined with chairs and benches were dotted with candles, while fairy lights illuminated the room and supported strings of airy origami cranes.
Zack and Tonic pop up restaurant DurbanWelcome drinks were strong and pink, and segued nicely into a cash bar, which was doing a roaring trade in wine, champagne and craft beers. Zak was everywhere, plying the guests with generous tray-fulls of pea and green tea croquettes with kewpie mayo, while waiters handed out painstakingly handmade sago chips with a peanuty Thai dip. The volume levels climbed as the room filled up, and soon we were jostling for places at the tables as a beautiful starter of Tonic’s take on kim chi and prawns was served on folded banana leaves.
Zack and Tonic pop up restaurant DurbanFor me, though, the magic was really revealed with the dim sum courses. Bamboo baskets of steamed buns (char siu bao) were unveiled, their plump soft roundness just asking to be broken open and enjoyed. Crispy chicken wontons were held aloft on chopstick points, and dunked in sweet dipping sauce before being eaten, and platefuls of dumplings circled the table, at first handed over grudgingly, and then more freely, as the extent of the bounty was revealed, with plate after plate distributed among the diners.
To be honest, the next course probably wasn’t strictly necessary – as we were already as full as the well-stuffed dim sum we had just demolished. The description of the beef short ribs had us ready for more, though, with cooking times of six to eight hours bandied about, and obscene details revealed about the meat falling off the bones. Let’s just say that you know a rib is tender when you can eat it with your chopsticks.
Zack and Tonic pop up restaurant DurbanFinally, we were presented with coconut flavoured ‘sunscreen’ ice cream topped with some kind of ginger snap, and an old enamel bowl filled with white rabbit candies – what is it with those sweets that makes the rice paper wrapping taste so good as it melts on your tongue?
Zack and Tonic pop up restaurant DurbanTired, sated, and buzzing with beer and good conversation, we trickled out to the waiting cabs, Uber rides and Good Fellas. There were hardly enough hours left for a good night’s sleep before it would be time for my Saturday morning park run ritual. At least I knew I would be able to pop by Moses Mabhida for a Zak and Tonic steak roll if I needed it.
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