The Sunday Tribune, Sunday Magazine, 9 June 2013
by Ingrid Shevlin
“Something different is the newly opened Parc Cafe in Glenwood, next door to the Glenwood artisanal bakery. According to its website, it aims to “offer a social, casual dining experience that captures the essence of Durban culture”.
They proudly serve Colombo coffee, bread from the Glenwood Bakery and Lucy’s cakes (Lucy being cake boss Lucy Markewicz).
Parc Cafe is an attractive venue with a contemporary feel that still manages to be homely. The vibe is warm and our waitress, Zora, was superb. There are tables indoors and on the pavement. Parc is owned by Brett Gentles (the chef) and his sister Lara. Brett is Christina Martin-trained and his extensive work experience includes a stint as sous chef at 9th Avenue Bistro.
My friend Meleney and I were there for lunch one Monday and found Parc surprisingly packed and buzzy – for a new restaurant and a Monday, that is.
The menu is chalked on a board on the wall and because they serve food in unusual combinations, and I didn’t want to get anything wrong, I painstakingly copied it down in my trusty notebook, only to find it is on the website (www.parc-cafe.co.za). But, if I compared my notebook with the website menu, it’s clear Brett tweaks his options.
Meleney was a little dubious about some food combos but we were pleasantly surprised. Parc has about nine breakfast items, the most interesting being banana bread French toast with fresh banana, cashews and honey; pork sausage, eggs, mixed greens, apple chilli chutney, toast and onion pickle; and Eggs Benedict (bacon, poached eggs, lemon hollandaise and capers on Adam’s potato and Rosemary bread).
Salad options include roast beetroot, radish, green apple, lettuce, avocado and lentils with goat’s cheese vinaigrette; and grilled aubergine, baby spinach, cucumber, roast butternut, fresh grapes, mint, coriander, basil and toasted seeds with cumin and yoghurt dressing. Phew.
There are two soup options, the weirdest of which is a wintermelon and coconut gazpacho with ginger and chocolate. And there are three open sandwich choices. I wont’ share the ingredients but you know by now that Brett believes the more, the better.
We decided to order three items and share: Sweet potato cake topped with poached eggs and served with tomato relish, brown mushrooms, rocket, crème fraiche and toasted pumpkin seeds; sweet potato and gingered chicken salad with rocket and coriander, drizzled with a soy-chilli dressing; and quiche with a sautéed kale, red onions and preserved lemon served with greens dressed with brown butter vinaigrette.
All of this was amazingly good, especially the quiche, which Meleney had originally scorned. For dessert we had croissant with lemon curd and fruit butter and one of Lucy’s meringue and hazelnut cakes served in a muffin case. Divine.
Prices are very reasonable, with major items ranging from R45 – R65. The bill came to a modest R210.”