Umhlanga's Chartwell drive, the ever growing buzz of the North just got another hot spot added to it. Well 14 on Chartwell has been open since last year November but I only got the chance to pay it a visit last night. If you were in Durban over the festive season you would know that the Village was the place to be, with the tourists visiting the warm beaches of the east coast, the bars and restaurants on Chartwell drive was the perfect escape for a bite to eat and a cold drink to quench the thirst. The place was buzzing and if you didn't have a table booked anywhere, chances were you were going to wait a long time or not getting a table at all.
Anyway, I walked passed 14 on Chartwell a number of times during my visits to Umhlanga and if you haven't seen it before, they've done a marvelous job with the decor, large windows let passers by gaze into the inside which is well lit, snazzy and has a lovely lounge vibe, it was always packed and made one quite envious if you were not inside.
A friend of mine was down from the UK and wanted to meet for dinner, this was the perfect opportunity to check the place out. Thinking that most people are back at work, I didn't think to make a booking, silly me. The place is still buzzing and we had to wait for a table, the staff were extremely accommodating, allowing us to wait on a table outside whilst one freed up inside, alternatively one could have waited at the bar, which is the main focal point of the establishment and they have quite a nice selection of spirits as well as great Craft Beer of the menu.
If you think the place looked great from the outside, the inside is even better! The layout is great with scattered tables mixed with lounged areas for large groups on the sides, as I said the bar is the main focal point in the center but the place has a nice flow and relaxed atmosphere. It may look fancy but it rather chilled, perfect for an evening of drinks with friends.
Onto the food, the menu is of a substantial variety, offering something for everyone's pallet and pleasantly surprised that it is very reasonably priced! For starters I ordered the Asian Lamb Riblets, which were char-grilled sticky hoisin marinade with nam jim dipping sauce. They were done to perfection, just about medium and the meat tender and succulent. I quite enjoyed the dipping sauce as well, a mixture of herbs, ginger and garlic.
It took me a while to decide on what to have for mains as there were so much on offer that I fancied, I eventually settled for the smothered chicken breasts. Two chicken breast, lightly grilled with spices, topped with a finger licking sun dried tomato, basil and parmesan cream sauce accompanied with pan fried gnocchi. It was full of flavour and that sauce was nothing short of exquisite, it had me wiping the plate with the last gnocchi I had.
The desert menu seemed quite tempting but after those two courses I was stuffed but I will be back for that Hot Fudge Sundae as it seems to be the popular one on the menu. Overall 14 on Chartwell is a winner in my books, it's a different and much needed offering to the Umhlanga scene. It's already quite a hit with the crowd and busy on most nights so be sure to book to avoid disappointment.
Address: 14 Chartwell Drive, Umhlanga Rocks
Telephone: 031 561 1017
Facebook: 14 on Chartwell