The Joint Jazz Cafe is the newest eatery on Durban’s beach front, under the creative genius of prominent Durban chef Brendon Newport.
The aim is to bring the township vibe to the city by serving shisa nyama (meat, braaied the township way) along with the warmth and welcome that is traditional to township taverns.
It’s as close to a real township experience you are going to get outside a township. Their clientele is also a true reflection of our Rainbow Nation. So, whether you are a tourist, a holidaymaker or a local, this could be right up your street. Although The Joint has been only open a few weeks, it’s already bringing in the cool crowd – and that’s because it’s a seriously cool place.
It has an upstairs lounge that plays jazz and township music and a downstairs restaurant that boasts a décor that is clean, collected and reflective of African creativity.
The menu offers a range of top quality meat, including wagyu wors, and promises a real South African braai experience. They also make their delicious sauces fresh daily and offer quirky takes on traditional African sides like pap, mfino and chakalaka. Think Afroslaw; coleslaw with candied pecans, baby mfino and yoghurt mayo. Yum, yum.
But there are other choices on the menu. There is a pretty good breakfast selection that includes a fry-up with beans, pork sausages and sweet potato toast; fruit and muesli; a Bombay bicycle breakfast (pork sausage, bacon, egg, chakalaka and greens); and Zulu flapjacks.
There are also some seafood choices along with wors rolls, burgers, chicken livers, salads, tacos, and prego rolls. Obviously not a huge selection for vegetarians, but you can fill up on a health salad or chakalaka with corn pap.
We lunched there one Sunday, five days after it opened. It was after 2pm when we arrived and the place was pumping and pounding, thanks largely to the music from upstairs. The music, which is LOUD, is played mainly on weekend afternoons and evenings as well as weekday evenings. Loud music is part and parcel of the township vibe, but if that freaks you, go before 2pm and the music won’t intrude. I promise.
I started with chicken wings, R40 for 200g, with chips. Probably my best wings ever. Succulent wings served in an amazing delicious spicy sauce made in their kitchen. Really yum. The chips were fantastic too.
The daughter, the bunny queen, opted for a chicken bunny, R60. She loved the flavours and the tender chicken, but said there could have been more sauce and that the potatoes were on the glassy side.
The son-in-law ordered a lamb rib and beef chuck platter, R150. His side of choice was steamed mfino (spinach) and roasted peanuts. He enjoyed his meat very much. His only quibble was that the chuck was slightly chewy, but said the flavours were great and the meat cooked perfectly. He loved his spinach side and the complimentary pap and chakalaka. Now, every shisa nyama joint has its own version of chakalaka and The Joint’s was up there with the best. In fact all their sauces and marinades were stunningly good.
My choice of main was a Zulu line fish wrap; crispy coconut line fish served with greens, feta, avo and peppers, R65. The line-fish was lovely and fresh and the homemade mayo excellent. The taco was hellishly difficult to eat, though, unless you have a very large mouth. Not a thrilling dish, taste wise, to be honest, but fresh and bursting with healthy stuff.
Overall we had a fun experience and wonderful service from our waiter James. There were a few small glitches, but understandable considering The Joint had been open only a few days.
The Joint Jazz Cafe‘s formal address is 98 OR Tambo Parade on South Beach. It has, naturally, panoramic views.
They serve craft beers.