The only sit-down restaurant at the Umhlanga Arch, The Baron, is as stylish and upmarket as you would expect from this iconic development — which also boasts the outstanding Legacy Yard and the Back Yard rooftop bar.
Chic interiors frame the spectacular views over the sea and the use of soaring glass doors ensures that you can enjoy the vista no matter the weather. Tropical touches, and the use of raw wood and rattan nod at the coastal location and striking elements like trendy fish scale tiles and a clever champagne bottle installation catch the eye. A gorgeous gin bar takes pride of place and spills out onto the High Street adjacent to Legacy Yard ensuring that patrons can enjoy the vibe of the whole development while enjoying gin cocktails paired with platters and sliders.
The open-plan kitchen produces a varied menu that has something for everyone from salads to seafood, pastas and prego chicken. It’s the meat that they position as their speciality with a wide range of grills and burgers. My husband and I visited on a Tuesday evening and were pleasantly surprised to find it buzzing. Settling into a table set at an appropriately socially-distanced space from the next, we perused the menu and watched swinging espetadas, plump burgers and golden-battered calamari make their way to tables.
However, we decided on the Mediterranean starter, which comprised sliced halloumi and chouriço pan-fried in butter and lemon juice with chopped chilli and whole cherry tomatoes with a hint of garlic served with a toasted Portuguese roll. It sounded good — and tasted even better — and I have to admit that I have been thinking about mopping up that sauce with the cloud-soft bread ever since.
Our mains had a lot to live up to and mine did — a melt-in-your-mouth 200g rump topped with a blue cheese sauce selected from a range that included temptations like creamy crispy garlic and brandy biltong, with excellent fries and a pile of perfectly crisp, sweet onion rings (I devoured every one) on the side. My husbands wasn’t quite as good. He chose Oxtail, and although the sauce was tasty, he was disappointed that the meat wasn’t all that tender — suggesting it needed slightly longer in the slow cooker.
Desserts were nothing to shout about, with a dry brownie and decidedly runny crème bruleé, our unfortunate endpoint. Desserts are an easy fix, however, and I’ve chalked it up to teething issues common in the first month of opening, which are likely to be addressed to ensure the high service standards that customers of The Baron’s other countrywide branches have come to know.
In all, the location, food and décor are great, and The Baron is sure to be a fixture on Durban’s must-visit restaurant list.