Photos by: 9th Avenue Bistro Website
Situated in 9TH Avenue, Morningside in Durban it may look like an average neighbourhood bistro restaurant but 9th Avenue Bistro is a must try. It is a fancy place in a fancy development of coloured stone that will never be allowed to discolour. I walked in on a Saturday night, and I was greeted by warm smiles from the staff as they showed us to our reserved table. The atmosphere was lively with chatting from pupils coming from every corner. The restaurant was filling up quickly and it was just past 19:00.
Their staff immediately came to our attention and he introduced himself by Mike and he was our waiter for the evening. He was very attentive even though he had a lot of tables he was attending to that night.He offered some water as he fetched our menus. For starters we ordered their homemade marlin bacon and soup of the day which was the chilli pepper tomato soup.
As we were waiting for the starters they brought fresh baked Half-baked Ciabatta bread and it was yeasty goodness and it was accompanied with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dip. Little did I know they would continue to exceed my expectations. The crust was crisp, flavourful and chewy. The combination was subtle and enjoyable. The olive oil was smooth and the balsamic vinegar gave it a kick of flavours to the dip. I had to stop myself because I knew if I gobbled everything I wouldn’t have room for the three course meal.
They brought the starter ‘soup of the day’ which was the chilli pepper tomato soup served with croutons and coconut milk. The soup was smooth on the tongue and flavoursome. The snoeked marlin it was my first time indulging on it and it exceed my expectations. The Marlin was well seasoned, not too salty and didn’t lack salt. It is that very rare thing: a beautiful dish that is both worth looking at and worth eating.
For our main we ordered the organic free range beef steak (Dripping chips, smoked garlic aioli, spinach, brandy green peppercorn sauce) and my favourite the grilled queen prawns (Thai Panang spices & coconut Basmati rice, lemon & garlic butter sauce) . The beef steak was smoked, medium well and it was cooked to perfection. The steak was chewy, tender, and easy to cut through and the garlic aioli complimented it very well. The spinach and the peppercorn sauce gave it texture and they were well seasoned. The Grilled queen prawns were perfectly cut throw the middle with just enough salt and pepper. The shell was brushed with enough oil, pink and opaque.
The last dish for the evening was the desert and it was the Vanilla Cream Brulee and a scoop of the mango sorbet. The Cream Brulee was done just right. The custard rich, smooth with the topping crispy and delicious. The diced pineapple brought a fresh take on the Cream Brulee and the short bread was soft and crumbly. The mango sorbet flavours were just right, it was creamy and it melted across the tongue.
Too often in spendy restaurants, the expense buys you an amorphous thing called an “experience”. You leave having been indulged by the staff. 9th Avenue feels like a rarity, because here it is the cooking – vivid, inventive, idiosyncratic – that is front and centre. A smart restaurant that’s all about food: it could just catch on.
9th Avenue Bistro taught me not to let appearances fool you, the décor may be iffy but the food is absolutely fantastic. This is a perfect place to dine as a group, family or simply when you are on a casual date night.