A formidable feast awaited us at a media breakfast at Harvey’s Umhlanga. Andrew Draper, (newly bushy-bearded) chef patron of Harvey’s, had recently initiated a bit of a summer upgrade to the venue and the menu, introducing lighter decor to match the new lighter menus.
Black brocades and crystal are now offset with a pastel avocado palette and peace lilies dotted around, a sidewalk rustic kitchen garden is arranged outside, all cuing a more casual day time atmosphere. The light lunch and breakfast menu reflect this, as well as in the prices, which are comparable to most establishments in the area, with dishes ranging from R35 to R80.
The regular bacon-and-eggs fry up is on the menu, but that’s not what caught my attention. It’s the stuff you won’t find served for breakfast anywhere else that deserves real mention. In typical Harvey’s style, there’s a variety of imaginative dishes to tuck your face into.The savoury polenta porridge, richly flavoured with cream and parmesan shavings, is a hero that slays any beastly hunger. It’s got crispy bacon and slow roasted tomatoes on top, drizzled with the signature Harvey’s emerald-hued basil oil, and tucked just beneath are two poached eggs, buried like the sublime yolky treasures that they are.
The poached eggs are superb. Seriously. Few breakfasty things grate my clichéd carrot worse than a badly poached egg. And the ones here are perfectly done and come on a variety of surfaces and accompaniments – in porridge, on ciabatta, resting on waffled chip potatoes or a Provençal bean casserole.
For less rich, lighter items, there’s a few options. The fruit platter with seasonal home made fruit sorbet, seemingly innocuous in description, is a painter’s palette of colour, visually glorious and equally flavorful, suited to becoming a still life muse.
The parma ham and papaya plate is also visually arresting and seriously noshworthy.
And one of my favourites is the vegetarian dish. Slow roasted tomatoes with courgette fritters, Danish feta and a Choron sauce (tomato Hollandaise). I’d just get that with a poached egg and that’s me satisfied.
For banters, there’s one or two options as well. But the intriguing thing for me was the dairy-free coconut cream cappuccino. I gave that a try out of curiosity and it’s surprisingly quite good. Only problem is that you need to keep stirring, or the closer you get to the bottom of your cup, the stronger the coconut flavour gets, which can become quite cloying.
Overall, a great upgrade on all fronts and a considerable opponent in the breakfast terrain. Durban’s come far from just serving R20 fry-ups. Those certainly have their place, but when you want to indulge in a lil’ summin’-summin, there’s now a good variety of spots where you can dive into a perfectly poached egg, especially this one.