This week Durban is host to the International Union of Architects World Congress, the UIA2014. This occasion has been the catalyst to the launch of all sorts of wonderful things, such as Rivertown as mentioned last week, and yielding offshoot intiatives like Instawalks, markets and, delightedly, pop up restaurants. There are two of them being hosted this week. And Today I went to visit one.
Zak & Tonic have positioned their little pop-up at a rooftop garden in the middle of Durban’s busy CBD. This garden intrigued me because after some research I discovered that it’s an intiative, called Priority Zone, that has been in existence since 2010. And I had no idea. It is situated on top of an “eco-bulding”, one that utilises rain water, worm farms, vegetable tunnels, solar energy, recyclable materials and a “green roof” by growing edibles and indigenous succulents. It is a 1300m² urban farm. It is awesome.
And what a fabulous setting to grab some nosh, enjoy the breeze and be surrounded by the city skyline while downing an ice tea. The murals are as notable as the surrounding greenery and view. A lot of love has gone into this place. To me this has largely been a hidden gem.
To enjoy the full benefit of this little eatery, I recommend booking in advance (I didn’t) and arriving in between conference lunch times, before or after 12:30pm -1:30pm when it is packed (which is naturally when I arrived, at peak packed time). They serve breakfasts, and its a fab spot for a late lunch because you can bring your own booze and there’s no corkage. Bring cash, and I advise you to read the blackboards (again, I didn’t – in the school of life, Im kind of a dunce) so as to get a clear idea of where to order hot versus cold food, which makes the experience much easier if you arrive when its busy.
I enjoyed a salad with a green dressing (a big bowl for R50) and washed it down with some home made ice tea (R12). The lady next to me ordered a creamy celery and blue cheese soup which smelled great and I lusted after her thick crusty bread (soup & bread: R40). I got chatting to some of the architects from the conference, I shared a table with two of them. What a nice bunch! Every individual I spoke to or stood next to was so polite, and so stylish. I really do need to upgrade from my hobo look, try wearing a shirt without holes in it one day. Maybe even brush my hair. One day.
There’s various menu items, hot & cold and the breakfast looks good. There’s also ‘Bush Pie’, made with slow braised impala, that I need to give a go.
It’s open 8am to 6pm until 7 August, so you guys have two days left to get your asses there. It’s at 77 Monty Naicker Street, just behind the ICC. Parking is easy, I had no issue, there’s loads along the pavement and there’s no meters (that I could see, otherwise..woops) and there’s friendly green-vested people keeping an eye on the cars.
For more info, you can check out www.zakandtonic.co.za/