Pintxada is a bucket list must

Private Property South Africa
Suzy Bell

This Spanish-influenced eatery in Umhlanga Rocks is the place to indulge your palate.

Savouring classically trained chef Dan Evans’s elegant food is like reading Alice Munro’s masterful prose for the first time.

Head to Spanish-influenced Pintxada where it feels as if the food has been cooked just for you.

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I fell silent after tasting my first lemon posset. “It disappears in your mouth,” said the chef. “Like the Bermuda Triangle of puddings,” I replied. But this is taste sensation you want to experience no matter the consequences. This medieval drink has been revived as a heavenly dessert that takes 24 hours to set. It’s known to impress.

Who else but chef Evans when serving seared tuna would sneak granadilla into your soy sauce to liven your palate with subtle joy? Who else creates a trilogy of succulent calamari with warm spicy strips of pineapple and chorizo? This is food to lift your spirits.

Durban, and Umhlanga’s Pintxada, is fortunate to have such a talent.

It was then not surprising to hear that chef Evans as a young man would save up for the thrill of dining in an acclaimed chef’s restaurant, even if it meant hopping on a plane from London to Cuba or New York. When you taste his food, it shows. He is still inspired and his food is inspiring.

The langoustine and potato velouté was transcendental. The flavours transported me back to my last meal with my father: lobster thermidor and lobster bisque at Langoustine by the Sea. Such is the power of beautiful food.

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Pintxada serves hams fed on forest acorns. The Serrano ham is perfection and our dish was served with asparagus and porcini mushrooms so soft and exquisite that as I ate I let go that I had never eaten ham before. I succumbed to the backdrop of a cabinet of hams lit up as a baroque Peter Greenaway art installation. The naked hams strung up, looked like Spanish mistresses wanting to be loved. I had to oblige.

The pancetta, rolled pork belly, is cured for three to five months in special cellars.

Martin Lombard, Pintxada’s well-known restaurateur (Havana Grill and Little Havana) even sent his chef to Paris to select the bespoke rotisserie. Egg Designs has tastefully chosen grey-on-white op-art tiles and copper detailing to lift the space and match the elegance of the sublime food from a menu which changes weekly.

Taste for yourself:

Pintxada

0826881310

pintxada.co.za

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

Take an amazing journey through Umhlanga here:

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