Restaurant Review: 9th Avenue Bistro

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Here is the answer to the question, you’re going ask yourself after you’ve read about our adventure at 9th Avenue Bistro…..

The Answer is: Going to 9th Avenue Bistro

Once again Gina from 9th Avenue and I ran into each other again. We’ve done this on and off several times over the last few years. Being that I have been in the hospitality industry for 12 years it was bound to happen. Most recently though we met again at this years Taste of Durban. What an event, come rain, snow or sunshine you can bet yourself Durbanites will come out for good food and craft. We’re an adventurous city, even if that means fighting gale winds and torrential rains.

None the less, Gina and her husband Graham, who both own and run 9th Avenue were present at the Taste of Durban using their magical powers and ways with ingredients to cook up some delicious meals and keep the crowd warm. If you haven’t read my post on Taste of Durban, click this link. As mentioned in the Taste of Durban article I thought that 9th Avenue really brought all of their “game” to the table. The booth was focused on the Boiler Room an extension of 9th Avenue and so artfully done, it was the warmest place to be on the day.

Look at this seating area…

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And this warm and welcoming lighting? 

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Or maybe these deliciously comforting foods? 

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Aaahhhh…… 

Well after that, Aidan and I had no choice but to go and check out the 9th Avenue Bistro in Morningside, Durban.

Gina and Graham were happy to have us come along and sample some of their amazing foods, little did we know what we were in for. 9th Avenue is situated close to the Avondale spar in Morningside, hidden in a quite corner. The entrance, layered with pot plants, flowers, wooden shutters and black and white furnishings. You all know by now how much love I have for exposed brick and 9th Avenue did not disappoint. Much like a lady in a Oscar De La Renta dress with a slit, showing off just enough skin to be sexy, but still a classic. That is how tastefully the decor and exposed brick is done inside 9th Avenue.

With a wonderful welcome from Dave and Rose we were off to a wonderful start. I noticed that there was a corporate lunch happening at the same time, and loved what I saw come out to the table. I think its the perfect setting for small company lunches and parties. Maybe something to consider for your Christmas parties? I would suggest sitting outside though, its a lovely shaded area, with great open furnishings.

Aidan and I were seated and started off with a lovely Olive and Oil mix, paired with “home made” Rosemary Bread. crunchy on the outside and perfectly soft and mouth meltingly soft on the inside. As I don’t like crunchy foods Aidan at most of it, while I cheekily ate the middle and left the crusts he he he he

Next we were offered starters, when the starters arrived I could have fainted and fallen off my chair. I had the Roasted Butternut and Squash Ravioli, which was paired with Madeira cream, Mushrooms, candied Pecan nuts and Parmesan shavings. You have no idea what kind of heaven I was in at first bite. Its basically like every comfort food you’ve ever had in your life, in a bowl. So smooth, and creamy and the way the pecan nuts add texture to the butternut, hell’s bells.  You need this in your life.

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Aidan went with the Confit of Pork Belly, with Goats cheese, Mango ketchup,and Ginger parkin.

The presentation of this dish was mind blowing. It looked amazing, the only recommendation Aidan had was to maybe use a plate or different surface. Eating off a slate slat is not easy with delicate food and tends to allow things to roll around. I myself am not a fan of slates either and would much rather prefer a plate or a wooden board. That aside I wanted to frame he’s meal and place it on a mantel it looked so good. Just look at this, can you even argue?

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At this point I was just ready to sit back in my chair and relax for the rest of the afternoon, what could be better than what we just had? Mains possibly? Between Dave and Rose we were taken care of so well, drinks being refreshed, plates cleared and menu suggestions made. Really seems like a great team at the 9th Avenue Bistro.

Just as were about to order our mains, Gina popped in and came to say hello. Looking Spring ready in her black and white summer dress and flats. Gina always has this amazingly chilled, happy care free vibe about her, apologizing as she did for her relaxed attire, I told her it was a welcomed sight and atmosphere.

Having worked and run restaurants myself, the worst thing for a guest is to walk into a venue where the atmosphere is so taught and serious that you cant relax.  Just because a place is 5 Star or classified as “classy” does not mean it has to be run with an Iron whip or staff who look like they’re constantly on the verge of being fired or having an emotional breakdown. The truth is you really do catch more bees with honey. Happy staff equals happy business and 9th Avenue have most certainly managed to achieve this.

On that note, special reminder that if you do visit 9th Avenue, make sure to look out for Rose. Honestly an amazing waitress, who know’s her menu like the back of her hand. Not once did I see her sit down, or crowd around chatting to staff while the restaurant was quite. She was quietly going about her business, resetting tables, cleaning cutlery, checking on us and making small talk and giggles with the barman. Now that is the kind of atmosphere I can approve of.

Once we’d let out tummies settle we moved on to mains.

I scanned the menu for about two seconds when I saw the Grilled Queen Prawns, with Basmati rice, Thai Green Vegetable & Coconut Curry. For me, there was no other option on the menu. I LOVE thai green curry, I love prawns and 9th Avenue was giving me the option of having it all at the same time? Obvious choice then.

Before you ask, I do know that the one reason people tend to stay away from prawn dishes in restaurants is because they meal is priced at some inhumane cost and you’re often left with 3-4 tiny prawns hidden deep in some sauce. Let’s be honest, that what often happens. Let’s also be honest, that Cee will never eat prawns again at a place that is not 9th Avenue Bistro. Holy Caramaba! What landed on my table was a large plate of large prawns carefully placed in the Curry. I had between 6-8 large grilled prawns layered on each other to get through and a healthy portion of curry and rice. The Chef was not playing around.

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Aidan went with the Crispy Roasted Free Range Duck, with Potato gateaux, and Cabbage butternut purée.

I loved the Potato tower. Skillfully sliced into a mini-box with layers. So much craft and passion shown from the Chefs and team in the 9th Avenue Bistro. Great to see such enthusiasm.

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Now you know, we didn’t “need” Dessert, but with a selection like they have at 9th Avenue its somewhat your duty to engage. After our Desserts we quietly talked over some coffee and strawberry daiquiris.

The atmosphere was so calming, with a belly full of good food and tantalized taste-buds, it was hard for us to even consider leaving. Given enough time we would have stuck around for Dinner and then explored the amazing Wine List.

9th Avenue has an amazing Wine List, don’t miss out on the options by clicking on this link to the Wine Menu.

Eventually though, Aidan and I had to leave. With a send off from Dave and a thanks to Rose we were on our way.

It’s great to see Gina and Graham growing over the years. They have a great branch, great team and even better food. I have to admit I was quite blown away from what we experienced. The food is not what you’d expect to find in a “bistro” but far more. Whether you’re needing an afternoon with the girls, an office party or a romantic dinner, I am pretty confident 9th Avenue is the perfect venue.

Booking in advance is always a good idea. You can also find the team on Twitter at @9thavenuebistro or on Facebook at 9th Avenue Bistro

 So Here is the Question to your Answer: Where are you going this weekend?……

And As Always….

#LoveAndTravelHugs©

Cee

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