Cafe's have become popular spots over the last decade, people come there to hangout with friends, catch up over a cup of coffee, some come to make use of the WiFi and get some work done, I've even seen some play as a venue for business meetings. With Cafe's its always a relaxed atmosphere offering a small select variety of food and drink. Suncoast Casino in Durban has Cafe Vigor, you cannot miss it as it is situated right outside the main entrance to the Casino and on the main walk way through the complex, I've always enjoyed the food offered there but yesterday I was invited to sample some of the new items they've added to their menu. It definitely was a taste sensation and one that is authentic to Durban.
|Butternut & Feta Salad|
To start things off yesterday, we were greeted by Sous Chef Lyndon who was going to take us through each new item on the menu. First up was a butternut and feta salad. For me salad's have always been a side dish, never a starter or a main and many a time I would give a skip. I was pleasantry surprised by this one though. I expected the butternut to be soft and mushy but it was blanched and still maintained that crisp, along with crumbled feta, some leafy green and all brought together in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette.
|Creamy chicken and mushroom fettucinne|
Next up was a favourite of mine, creamy mushroom and chicken fettuccine. This warm pasta is perfect for a cold day with all wholesome flavours that make it the ultimate comfort food. The sauce was creamy but not rich, also another aspect I liked about it, the mushrooms were left rather big and chunky, many places dice the mushrooms to a smaller sauce and they shrink in the sauce. The chicken, tender and moist, encapsulating all the flavours, I could honestly eat that the entire day.
|Lamb kebab Korma|
They spoke about the new items wanting to display the authentic tastes of Durban and for the next item, this did exactly that. Many are used to the Lamb Korma dish that is served at many of the traditional Indian restaurants, Cafe Vigor has taken this dish and given it their own twist. Lamb Kebab chutney is a popular Durban dish and this is an interesting take on it but the chutney is substituted for a creamy cashew nut gravy synonymous to the Korma but with a Cape Malay flavour. This dish was out standing and I'll definitely be back for more!
|Hake & Calamari|
I'm a massive fan of seafood and I was glad to see that the next course involved that, after all we are at the sea so how can their not be some seafood? Cafe Vigor has take your standard fish and chips and zhuzhed it up by adding some spice to the batter and accompanying the hake with some calamari rings, served with a tasty, tangy tartar sauce. It was fresh, light and crispy, everything you would want from a dish like this.
|Spicy Chicken Livers|
Durban, much like it's weather, likes things hot and one of the popular starter on many menu's in the city would be Peri-Peri chicken livers, if you're a fan, you would be pleased to know that Cafe Vigor has it and made some adjustments to the flavours, as it's not Peri-Peri but rather Durban curry. With a mixed blend of curry powder and Garam Masala, it lifts this dish to a new level. It's warm, hearty and hits the spot.
|Butter Chicken Wrap|
There's no such thing as too much curry, especially if you're from Durban, so in saying that the next item was definitely very welcomed. It was created by our host, Sous Chef Lyndon, it is a Butter Chicken Wrap. Tender morsels of chicken, cooked in a creamy butter gravy, using local sourced spices from a popular Durban spiceworks, gives the curry a different dimension, it's quite a thick consistency so you don't have to worry about gravy dripping all over the place.. All this goodness is wrapped in a soft, butter naan.
Now if you're a vegetarian, you must have been reading this post and wondering, "well what about us?" , not to worry, Cafe Vigor has some items that are perfect for you. We were brought a vegetable fettuccine. Now I've eaten many bland veg pastas before, I can honestly say this was nothing close to bland! The creamy napolitano sauce had a great kick to it, and I amongst the crunchy veg, I spotted a green chili, adding that fresh bite to this great pasta dish.
To end off, we were served a starter, I know it may seem odd but I felt this was a nice wrap of this culinary journey we had taken earlier. Traditionally, tomato soup is served with a toast on the side to add that crunch and cut the acidity from it all, Cafe Vigor took this traditional starter item and added a nice spin to it, the soup is now a thick rich Chakalaka, full of local flavours and it is served with a toasted cheese sandwich to dip in. It really ties the whole dish together beautifully.
We had the option to end off our experience with waffles and ice cream but after being so stuffed from all the previous courses, I could only manage a chocco-chino. These are some wonderful additions to the Cafe Vigor menu and I enjoyed all of them thoroughly, you'll find me there back soon for most of them, starting off with that Lamb Korma!