Local chef, Linda Burger, tells us what it’s like living in this wonderful North Coast neighbourhood.
Chef Linda Burger and her husband, Russell, own the well-known Spice Restaurant in Westbrook on the North Coast. They live in the area with their five-year-old son, James Kiran, in a charming old original Tongaat-Hulett property.
They bought the property because of its unobscured sea views, original parquet flooring and, says Linda, “the fact that the house felt like a home.” For her, one of the great joys of her home is the tropical garden, teeming with a range of magnificent bird species. “Every day, we spot louries, kingfishers, Natal robins, butcher birds, swallows, Cape weavers, woodpeckers, storks and the omnipresent Indian myna!”
Linda loves Westbrook. “It’s a unique suburb, with a caring community, and rich in Tongaat-Hulett history. The quaint Methodist Church is at the heart of it, and we have the legendary Mala always perched at the local cafe, Seagull’s Roost, greeting all residents by name – you only find gems like her in close, caring communities! I mean, where else do you still find a suburb where neighbours bake you chocolate-coated crunchies and cook you a meal when you’re down with flu?”
Westbrook has the best of many worlds; it’s five minutes’ drive from the airport, eight minutes from Ballito and about 15 minutes from Umhlanga. Linda describes it as “devoid of any skyscrapers and traffic pollution, a sanctuary suburb shared with vervet monkeys, birdlife, a couple of slithery reptiles and loads of cats and dogs.
And, as a bonus, we have a Blue Flag beach, where one can treasure the most amazing sunrises and sunsets.” One of Linda’s favourite spots in the area is her lounge. “We have French doors that open up onto our outdoor lounge, which offers breath-taking, uninterrupted views of the ocean and almost brings the garden and sea into our home. Early morning tea in our lounge gives me the momentary feeling of being on holiday, if only for 20 minutes, before I get cracking to make school lunch.”
Weekends are busy workdays for restaurateurs, but Linda and Russell always make time for family. “Sunday is my busiest, so I’m playing at work with beautiful food and meeting beautiful people. But on Sunday evening, I sit down to supper with my family. It’s a ritual we look forward to every week, as running a restaurant doesn’t permit that on a daily basis. Monday afternoon is my Sunday and we usually have a braai at home with family and friends.”
Sitting at home and enjoying homemade lamb’s kidneys on toast is one of Linda’s favourite things to do. She also enjoys having breakfast at Delish Sisters at The Litchi Orchard in Salt Rock. If James Kiran chooses, they go to La Piazza Restaurant – the play park is a big drawcard.
Their favourite family getaway spot is Mkuze Falls Game Lodge in Pongola. “There’s nothing like some African bush therapy,” says Linda.
The community is currently teaming up and building a play park for the safety and enjoyment of the children in our suburb. That’s Westbrook!
Schools near Westbrook, KwaZulu Natal
- Crawford College, North Coast
- Ashton International College, Ballito
Things to do near Westbrook, KwaZulu Natal:
- Take the family to the Blue Flag Westbrook Beach for fun in the sun.
- Go spearfishing.
- Try scuba diving.
- Ride horses at the Rain Farm Game and Lodge in Umhlali.
- Enjoy a day of fishing in Umdloti.
Where to eat in Westbrook, KwaZulu Natal:
- Fiamma Grill (Ballito): for superb cuts of meat
- Spice Restaurant: for amazing food
- Beach Bums International: for great food right on the beach
- Al Pescatore (Ballito): for delicious Italian cuisine
- Cristy’s Restaurant: for delicious family brunches
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.