THE NATURE OF Freedom
FOOD THAT’S FUN AND IMAGINATIVE, IN A SETTING THAT’S AS COLOURFUL AND VIBRANT AS ITS HOST CITY: THAT’S WHAT AWAITS YOU AT DURBAN’S FREEDOM CAFÉ
‘You can only be truly accomplished at something you love.’ So wrote US awardwinning author Maya Angelou, and it’s a philosophy that chef-patron Lucy Markewicz lives – and cooks – by.
Wearing the apron at the Freedom Café in Durban (originally opened by restaurateur Neil Roake in 2010) since June 2012, Lucy loves preparing ‘a mix of cuisines and classic dishes presented in a fresh and trendy way,’ she says. ‘I’m also going through a bit of a local phase – looking for ingredients around me that I don’t usually cook with and creating new recipes with them.’
Although the Café is tagged a ‘hipster hangout’ (it is very cool) and its clientele, inevitably, as ‘trendy’, Lucy notes that the patrons actually reflect Durban as a whole – a melting pot of young and old from varying backgrounds, interests and cultures.‘The space has such a great energy it draws everybody in! We also have a regular international clientele who pass the time in the Café when they are visiting the neighbouring hotel (The Concierge).’
A day at the Café starts with a wide choice of breakfast – its sweet potato rosti is a winner – while pulled chicken tacos,ribs, prawncakes and kale salad are delicious options for lunch and dinner. Muffins and other sweet things are available all day, while the ‘unique’ cocktail menu, using the Café’s own syrups and tinctures, is a veritable crowd-pleaser.
Then there’s its setting – amid trees, pot plants and shrubs. As Lucy’s young daughter recently observed, ‘Freedom Café has so much nature around it! You don’t get other restaurants with so much.’ Quirky colour is provided by the staghorn wall and a huge mirror with decals – ‘probably the best two features, along with the red shipping container,’ says Lucy.‘I try to create great experiences, not just great food.’
From left to right Freedom Café’s eye-catching décor includes a refurbished red shipping container, filled with stylish pieces; mint, cucumber, apple and lemon infused water makes for a delicious, thirst-quenching drink. Opposite Prawncakes with salad and sweet chilli mayo.
Clockwise from top Sweet potato rostis topped with poached eggs and served
with tomatoes, mushrooms and salmon gravadlax; Busi, one of Freedom
Café’s stylish waitresses; pink flamingos add pops of colour; a relaxed
table for two.
Clockwise from left The inside furnishings of the revamped red container; a freshly blended cherry almond daiquiri; pulled chicken tacos with avocado,hummus, sour cream and pineapple salsa.