If you are heading down to Durban for the school holidays, or even for business, be duly excited that the long slog of the N3 highway now has a new highlight on it – an exciting new stopping point that delivers sensational taste sensations.
The Midlands Kitchen, found at the turn-off for Nottingham Road (Exit 132) is not just a handy stop for motorists, however. It has become a stop in its own right, as part of the popular Midlands Meander, as an Artisan Food destination. Its 15 different kitchens include Mexican, Mediterranean, Burgers, Pies, Indian, Vegan, Artisan Bakery, a Harvest Table, anything Chicken, Wood fired Pizzas, a Gelato stop with a Coffee bar complimented by a pastry and sandwich section that win anyone and everyone over.
This bold new venture was launched recently and developed menus that concentrate on ensuring that the fresh produce is either grown on site or sourced from the local farmers in the area. Top chef Terrence Ford who has take on the role of Culinary General Manager of The Midlands Kitchen and the neighbouring Brahman Hills Hotel has designed the menus, aiming for artisan creations that are tasty, wholesome and real whilst also meeting the needs for swift and easily accessed meals for those eager to get back on the road.
“The idea is to create an artisanal eating experience based around really good food, using high quality ingredients in dishes that are produced with speed,” says Gill Bowmaker, Pathfinder at The Midlands Kitchen. “We’re trying to keep it simple so you might get eight options on the menu, but they’ll be eight difficult decisions, and with choices from each of 15 kitchens that’s a wide array of flavours.”
The Midlands Kitchen has been specially built for easy access off the N3 freeway and is open from 06h00 to 16h00 daily, with the added benefit of the Grab and Go section staying open till 20h00. The ambience is one of relaxed communal dining with customers able to choose from any of the kitchens, whilst enjoying the surrounding countryside. The dining area seats about 400 people, including space for 120 in an area served by waitrons for those who want to make their meal more of an occasion.
As much of the produce as possible is sourced locally, including grass-fed cattle, organically raised poultry, milk from a local dairy, cheese from a neighborhood cheesery. “Everything is made fresh on site so it’s all fast but healthy food. People are able to pull off the highway and be spoilt for choice and quality with a range of food that’s not available anywhere else on the freeway,” Bowmaker says.
The venture has a high investment in terms of building a barn, fitting the specialist and back kitchens and installing seating in various configurations. The old restaurant is now the artisan bakery with the grab-and-go area complimented by a picnic area, a kid’s play area, doggy poop pens and clean, high-class toilets.
The new attraction is already contributing enormously to the local economy through job creation, with the Midlands Kitchen having recruited about 100 people in a range of positions including waitrons, baristas, runners, kitchen assistants, chefs, artisan bakers and cashiers, whilst launching a new training and development arm TRAXION™ which ensures that staff are given extensive training equipping them for a career in the hospitality industry.
The venue is also ideal for runners on the official Brahman Hills Park Run that launched in April. The 5km trail runs through the Blue Crane Nature Reserve, so runners can start with an energy drink and end with a delicious breakfast at the Midlands Kitchen.
T: 033 266 7046