Every week I am going to try feature a restaurant or chef or food supplier that I feel is part of what makes Durban a great place to eat. And Jack Salmon is just one such spot. We have surprisingly few decent seafood-focused restaurants considering our location, and fewer still with the ocean in view, and this covers both. It’s only been around for a month but already has great buzz surrounding it and it’s easy to understand why. The whole restaurant, not just the food, is about celebrating the ocean. I loved the innocuous but delightful little touches in decor that cue this: a wall tiled with white pebbles, the blue and white labeled salt grinders – those subtle little details that set a scene instead of just emulate a style.
That careful attention to detail is extended to the food, naturally. The kitchen is helmed by award-winning head chef, John Porcelli and meals are cooked to order, fresh, no fish is out of the freezer, just straight out of the sea. I was invited by owner, Jason Roberts, and I was so impressed by his passion. The focus of everything is about food, drink and conversation. A relaxed fine dining experience. There are no TVs in the restaurant and no overly loud jarring music which I love, because a lot of places seem to enjoy inflicting their bad taste into your ears while interrupting a good taste in your mouth.
I had the Norwegian salmon fillet, which is grilled and then poached in a prawn seafood sauce. Normally, I am not a fan of poached salmon as people tend to overcook it, so admittedly I was skeptical but this was incredible. And it had an actual butterflied prawn on top – it was prepared in a way that looked like a butterfly, not just the technique. The fish just dissolved in my mouth. Every little bite was a treasure, especially with the sauce. It was perfectly seasoned, soft and just so buttery. I loved this dish so much, I wanted to take it outside and do bad things to it.
My partner in crime, Gareth enjoyed skewered bbq tiger prawns that were glazed and lightly grilled, and served on a bed of savoury rice and a sweet dipping sauce. Surprisingly, the rice competed with the prawns in flavour. Usually the rice is used to just bulk up the size of the dish but in this case it was a hard-working compliment to it instead. We left no grain behind.
The food here deserves a long, relaxed sit. It can take a bit longer to be prepared, but its worth it, really. It means you can get started on a good glass of wine, catch up with other guests at the table and enjoy the atmosphere. I see many poached salmons and bbq prawns in my future.