This popular bistro upped the culinary game in the coastal capital of Durban 17 years ago. A short drive from the seafront is where you will meet husband-and-wife team Graham and Gina Nielson. He develops inventive dishes, and she runs front-of-house seamlessly.
Graham chooses seasonal produce for his inventive menu – deep water fish, root vegetables, broad beans and garlic, and in summer he celebrates tropical fruits like the mango and litchi. It’s mainly through ingredients that he gets his inspiration for changes on the menu, and from wonderful farmers, fishermen and butchers on their doorstep. “Some even grow specifically for me,” he says. Travels and working abroad have also influenced his style. “The majority of all our food is grown on our doorstep but we do have ingredients from overseas as it’s good to give your customers opportunities to learn about other ingredients as well as local ingredients.”
Their tasting menu is a crowd-pleaser. Stand-out dishes include the creamy shellfish orzo and the baby lango tail with squid ink linguine, and the artichoke and truffle risotto. The wine list also evolves, with offerings from boutique wineries, and craft beers. The personal touch is evident everywhere. Says Graham, “I believe it’s about the people. Even our customers are friends. Durban is a small city, where everyone knows everyone, we are a community. So even though the food is what people experience when they come to 9th I think the way in which it is produced is because of the people behind it and the people serving it.”
“Nostalgia is comforting and makes you happy. If you can bring that into your food, it will strike a chord with people.” Chef Graham Nielson
Address: 2 Avonmore Centre, 9th Avenue, Morningside, Durban, 4001
Phone: 031 312 9134