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09 April 2014

Review - HASHTAG

Review time! Starting with #HASHTAG restaurant!

Please bear with me, as this is the first time I am really doing reviews and I have absolutely no idea how to go about it. I am normally on the other side of the writing, as in, normally I'm reading reviews about products and places. Therefore, if you have anything to add, or comment about this post, feel free to post a comment.

I found myself explaining to my mother what a hashtag is and why the restaurant is called hashtag, and  smiled. If you are reading a blog, I'm fairly sure you know what a hashtag is, if not, I'll let you Google it.

I'm not much a person who goes out to restaurants or even a person who has take-outs often. I can count on one hand the number of times I ate-out last year. And I can tell you that this year I have had take-out twice and eaten at a restaurant all of once! So you can be pretty sure that if I eat out it has to be a really good reason and a really nice place.
I also really hate going into the city, I live in the outter lying suburbs and see very little reason for exposing myself to the rush and buzz of the city itself (Joburg people would hate me, I'm your typical laid back Durbanite).

This place happened to be #Hashtag Restaurant & Cocktail bar. The occasion being the Durban Blogger Meet. The area being Windermere, which meant a drive through the city.

So, what did I think about it? For starters, if I do go into the city, I always have the GPS on and can normally make my way around. Saturday 5 April, my dad had commandeered the GPS for a greater cause. So I grabbed the map book, and headed to 18 Windermere Road (now known as Lilian Ngoyi Road. But my map book is old and had the older road names). I was very glad I made it there (and back) with ease and not having to go anywhere near the dreaded Warwick area.
Getting into Windermere & the Berea is always a relief for me, and it was no different this day, the area is calm, and pretty. With old fashioned houses turned into businesses, tree lined streets and lots of pot plants and flower gardens on the verges.
#Hashtag Restaurant was well signed from the road, with inviting white lounges and cocktail tables on the sidewalk that make you wonder if you've been teleported to Europe.
After finding a parking, my one gripe in life because I always want to be able to see my car (it’s a Toyota Tazz, one of the highest risk cars for hijacking and theft), I decided to pretend she's a 4x4 and parked on the verge.
I walked into the restaurant delighted that there was no smoking anywhere nearby, I'm terribly allergic to it, I have a violent reaction if I smell cigarette smoke where I want to murder anyone smoking within 100 meters of me.
At first glance around, bearing in mind that the ladies for the blogger meet had commandeered nearly the whole restaurant, it was very inviting. There was a nice looking bar counter with comfy modern bar stools and fascinating displays of various vodkas on the wall, the bright blue bottles eye-catching in the bright sunshine streaming into the restaurant, and the mounted photos of what could be Durban Sunsets contrasting prettily.

With tables and chairs across the front "room" of the establishment, and a wall length booth chair on the one side letting in the wonderful sunshine. A "back room" area with booths and nooks looked very comfy, personally I didn’t try sitting there, but it looked nice. I loved their bathroom decor, with the ever popular #SelfieZone and the vintage dressers.

Now about the food, can I just say WOW!
I told you, I don’t eat out often. But, this was a treat.
Firstly, with a choice of Pasta, Burgers, or Pizza (and they say they will soon be adding sushi to the menu) I had a hard time deciding what to eat. You can choose to use "old school" menus, or order directly to the kitchen with a Samsung Tablet or iPad. How Techno savvy is that!
I love Pasta and Pizza. So eventually when everyone else had ordered, I had to buckle down and order. I eventually chose a Build Your Own Pizza, I looked at the menu and all the yummy things to throw on and I decided to heck with it! I asked for Biltong, Bacon, Avo & Camembert on my pizza. I know, crazy mix, but it was AMAZING!
Our poor waiters Mush and The Awesome Guy (I can’t remember his name, sorry dude) had to serve 25 ladies, who were loud, happy, mingling, and future reviewers of their restaurant, but they did impeccably well.

I was one of the last to receive my pizza, but that was ok. It built up anticipation, and I really enjoyed watching all the others enjoying their food. When my pizza did arrive, it was absolutely worth the wait! The chef didn’t spare a thing in putting together my pizza, it was literally overflowing with mozzarella cheese, bacon, and biltong! Liberally stacked with avo and olives, and with lots of thinly slices camembert slightly melted across the pizza. What more could a girl ask for?
It arrived on a wooden cutting board with an adorable mini chalkboard with my order written on it.

Visual impact aside, it tasted as good if not better than it looked and I was still eating ages after everyone else had finished because I was savoring every mouthful.
I will admit, when the other ladies sitting at my table didn’t all finish their pizzas, I was terribly tempted to offer to help them finish. But sadly the little bit of manners that I actually do have (never forget, I am a farm girl...) reminded me that is not ok.

The #Hashtag restaurant were incredibly generous in that they sponsored the entire meal for the 25 ladies attending the Durban Blogger Meet Up, however, be assured that is not the only reason I am giving them such a fab review.

I was stuffed so full after my pizza (yes, the little piggy that I am, I actually finished the whole thing), but when offered desert, I promise you it didnt cross my mind to say no!
We were given a choice of a "Spring Roll Banana & Ice Cream" or a "Chocolate Chili Cigar". Being the wuss about anything hot (I have spent too much time with my Indian friends, I don’t trust anyone who says "it’s not hot"), so I went with Banana Spring Roll. I was not disappointed, it was a fried (possibly steamed) banana wrapped in a spring roll with a little bowl of ice cream. It was very unusual, and I quite enjoyed it, just eat it with a knife and fork, a spoon doesn’t quite work.
Banana Spring Roll
I will however say (sorry I am brutally honest sometimes) that I wish I had gone with the Choc/Chili roll. It was also a spring roll, filled with soft chocolate and a chili in the middle, and a side of ice cream. By the reactions of the other ladies, I do regret that one thing.
All in all, I was very impressed with the restaurant.
A few extra points I noticed: The chef himself was actually retweeting and replying to tweets! Very impressed at his multi-tasking abilities. His Twitter username is @BrendonKader
I am told this used to be the Bean Bag Bohemia, which although it was a legend in Durban, I had never been there. So I would not be able to compare the two. But I did love Hashtag.
The building is 2 stories, but there is a salon upstairs.
Parking is rather limited, but the verge has more than enough space, and you can drive up at the corner by the church ;-)
And best of all, they serve really good coffee there.

Find Hashtag Restaurant on Twitter at @hashtagdbn

Or on their website at  

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