A blog post is supposed to begin with the most memorable moment of an event you are describing…well, the most memorable moment of my night out in Durban was standing in the middle of a backyard garage at 3am with three not-so-sober blokes twice my size (whom I knew, at least!).
Eating a ‘Johnny’s’ at the end of a night out in Durban is a rite of passage, they told me. But what is a ‘Johnny’s’? That was kept a secret until this very moment, possibly because one could agree to eat this only after drinking a considerable amount of beer and cocktails.
That is how I came to be standing in the car park, staring at a large hand-written sign in the window displaying a menu, and wondering why there was only one thing available with variable amounts of cheese on it – ranging from “chip single cheese” for 27.50 South African rand (around £1.50) right through to “CHIP TWENTY X CHEESE” (twenty?! Twenty times cheese?!!!).
We got a single cheese. It turned out to be a roti wrap the size of my forearm filled with chips, (definitely more than a single serving of) cheese and curry sauce. A heart attack in a wrap, or THE perfect end to a night out? My friend Zayn and I shared one, but even half of it was the size of my face. I am pleased to say I finished my half.
We drove to a place called The Cube to eat our ‘Johnny’s’ (the dubious decision to drive after a night out is a discussion for another post!). The Cube is essentially a grassy hill looking over the city, with a cube-shaped art installation in one corner (hence the name).
As we sat there, staring at the lights and stuffing our faces with gooey carbs, I thought back to the classy way the evening had started. We went to the most upmarket cocktail bar in Durban, so classy it sits away from the main party streets to attract a more refined clientelle.
The bar, called Lucky Shaker (http://luckyshaker.com/), opened in Durban only a few months ago and is modelled on some of New York’s swankiest cocktail bars. It served plenty of pink drinks to match my pink dress, and I didn’t even notice I was drinking alcohol – a sign of a good cocktail bar!
The most innovative drink on the menu was the Marshmallow Fizz: a sweet milky concoction which comes with a s’more on the side – an American invention of marshmallow and chocolate melted between two pieces of biscuit.
“At least we started classy!” I thought, chewing on my last mouthful of chips, cheese and curry. I suppose I was warned I would put on a few pounds in this part of the world.