Shouldering sidewalks, on the corner of streets, facing onto parking lots, Durban is dotted with little pockets of hidden, chef-owned-and-run restaurant gems. One such corner is between Esther Roberts Road and Ayott Avenue in Glenwood. Quiet and unassuming, this spot conceals and reveals two exceptional contributors to the city’s food scene. The artisinal Glenwood Bakery, run by acclaimed UK chef and baker, Adam Robinson, and Parc next door, run and operated by siblings Brett and Lara Gentles.
Parc owner and head chef Brett Gentles
The restaurant first started to blip on the radar with their breakfasts and salads, including the “eggs not-so-benedict” – beautifully poached eggs with mushroom or bacon, resting on a slice of next door’s rosemary potato bread, and smothered in an utterly decadent lemon hollandaise. And after that, once in a while, a paired wine evening was occasionally hosted. The description of the dishes presented during those evenings had me drooling with jealousy, so I made a point (read: nagged a friend) to let me know when the next one was so that I could throw my money at them and feast.
First one of the year was on Thursday night, March 16th. And we were there like ravenously hungry bears. Longridge Wine Estate was presenting the paired tipple for the night.
The first course was a foie gras with a sesame flatbread, a vanilla sesame paste that was like a creamy tahini-meets-peanut-butter taste, and a crystallised orange peel marmalade. This was paired with the Longridge Chardonnay. The wine neutralised any acridity from the marmalade, making the dish sweet and citrussy, highlighting the soft and buttery richness of the foie gras without overpowering it. I am a grape reprobate and cant identify notes in wine, so I Googled it and turns out that this chardonnay comes with its on marmalade and vanilla profile. This explains how it counterbalanced the stronger flavours so well.
The second course was a pork and plum terrine, with a rosemary chutney, green beans and flaked almonds. This was sweet and juicy and I could have had everyone else’s plates of it too. This was paired with a Driefontein Syrah – a red! Look at that – we have finally left the 80s behind and in the new millennium real chefs are pairing red wines with white meat and kicking ass, like this dish and pairing did. So there.
The main followed, a third course offering of lamb loin, bulgar wheat, roasted bell pepper sauce, wilted spinach and lavender, and pan jus. The lamb and bell pepper was an incredible combo. A smokey sweetness that was like a flavour hug to the lamb. I just wish I’d had more of it on the plate. It was delicious.
The final course was the dessert. It was a Rooibos panna cotta with stewed fruit chutney combined with a wild honey and citrus sauce. I am not usually a huge fan of panna cotta, as it tends to be made so gelatinous that you can bounce it off a wall. But there was no danger of this one being capable of that as it seemed to have not set, unfortunately. However, I couldnt fault it on flavour. It delivered on promise, the sweet milky rooibos flavour married gloriously with the tangy compote, underpinned by that ambrosia-like honey sauce.
We paid R500 pp for this one. This included four courses and all wines. To find out about future events at Parc, you can go to their website here: www.parc-cafe.co.za
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