Whether you’re a Durban resident or a visitor, you need to try The Big Easy at the Hilton – and not just because it’s owned by our favourite golfer Ernie Els.
Jo’burg has Marble and Durban has the Big Easy by Ernie Els. That’s because the service and the steaks are as good at this east coast grill as they are at the legendary Rosebank restaurant loved by sophisticated Gauteng diners and international tourists.
But the tropical climate and laid-back coastal lifestyle in Durban lends a casual, relaxed vibe to the gorgeous setting on the ground floor of the Hilton Hotel in the centre of the city.
The Big Easy offers patrons a wine bar, lounge area, grill and outside terrace – lush with greenery and potted plants and a tranquil oasis in the middle of the city centre.
The terrace was where we chose to have a sundowner – a chilled glass of Chenin from Ernie’s award-winning winery in Stellenbosch. The sommelier recommended it as the perfect accompaniment to our starter platter – selected for us by the chef to give us a taste of a few of the Big Easy favourites.
The platter was a sensory delight (and a meal on its own): Cape Malay shrimp samoosas, grilled rolled pork belly and bacon, salmon croquettes… beautifully presented with dipping sauces like coconut chutney, jalapeno and pineapple salsa and leek and horseradish compote.
We chose a table in the grill room, with a view of the open kitchen and the chef preparing her culinary creations, to enjoy our main courses. I ordered the grilled Norwegian salmon with fennel and white wine reduction and baby potatoes, and my husband had the lamb rib chops with Big Easy fries.
My fish was grilled to perfection and Rob was very happy with his 350g of three succulent lamb chops (after a recent experience at a fine dining restaurant where he was offered a tiny lone chop marooned in the middle of a tablespoon of sweet potato mash).
Big Easy Rosé was the selection by our gracious and knowledgeable sommelier to accompany our dessert – once again a selection chosen by the chef
Ngiphiwe our waitress arrived with a blowtorch to fire up our sugar-crusted espresso and Amarula crème brûlée and the Midlands cheese board placed between us was totally Instaworthy – and almost too beautiful to eat – artisan cheese, home-made poached fruit, onion marmalade and toasted bread.
The Big Easy is the epitome of relaxed Durban dining – with a sophisticated urban vibe
They do a kiddies’ menu so families are welcome, it’s full of quiet corners and romantic tables for two for date nights, a lounge and a bar to relax with a drink and watch the TV screens – set among the golf trophies and framed pics of one of the world’s most famous golfers – and a private room for functions and tastings.
Address: Hilton, Durban, 12-14 Walnut Rd, Durban Central, Durban, 4001
Phone: 031 336 8166
All4Women was a guest of the Big Easy for a dining review.