BY BILLY SUTER
THERE’S a sandwich and then there’s a sandwich – and certainly a slice above many are those on offer at a new, informal Durban outlet in a new Morningside spot that seems set to become quite the drawcard.
The outlet is Glam Wich which, as its name implies, turns a spotlight on slightly fancy bagels and gourmet sarnies (or ‘sarmies’ as South Africans usually call them).
You will find this new breakfast-and-lunch-must-do outlet in one of three deftly modified containers that face a neat, modern, raised garden area with various sculptures and ponds – part of a group of shops and restaurants on one property in one of the city’s most popular streets.
It’s Florida Fields, at 295 Florida Road, near the Spar, and is a space that once occupied a large parking lot and a Victorian double-storey, wraparound-verandah house, former home of the RJs steak and rib house.
That white house is still there, filled now by a Jack Salmons restaurant. It faces the new gardens, where the three container outlets, all in a row, provide food and drink to take away or enjoy in the gardens, on benches or at small tables.
One of the containers houses a curry take-away specialising in bunny chows, the other an elegant coffee shop, The Barn Owl. Glam Wich is closest to the house, faces a water feature around which are tables and chairs, and is the perfect spot for something quick, healthy and delicious to enjoy al fresco.
The Easter weekend marked the official opening of the venues at this pedestrian-friendly property. It includes a rather elegant chicken outlet, an ice-cream parlour, an organic grocer, a spot for noodle or rice dishes, a hairdressing salon and the buzzy Bohemian Beach Bumz, where you will come across a menu of food and drink infused with cannabis.
I was famished by the time I arrived at Glam Wich which is the brainchild of local husband and wife, Ismail and Lamees Dindar.
Ten open sandwiches, on rye or wholewheat bread, plain or toasted, are available and a glossy photo of each sandwich appears on the menu.
My eyes went straight to the Elegant Smoked Salmon option (R70) which came on a good-sized, seeded wholewheat slice, and which friendly Glam Wich manager, James Delport, says is already a firm favourite.
Served with copper-coloured cutlery, the open sandwich had a generous amount of salmon ribbons topped with three red onion slices and sprinkled with small bits of spring onion, all on a base of smooth cream cheese and fresh rocket leaves.
It would have been nicer were it accompanied with a slice of lemon to squeeze over the lot, but I was too hungry to ask for one and got stuck in. It was just what the doctor ordered. Very yummy.
My partner opted for the outlet’s most popular sarnie, Bedazzled Chicken (R60), which was a sizeable heap on an ample slice of wholewheat.
It was very good, with a slight bite – chicken fillet strips with slivers of red pepper, grilled with coconut oil and served on a bed of baby spinach with a coriander basil pesto. That all came with slices of avo on top, as well as jalapenos, a drizzle of “chillinaise” and garnish of sesame seeds. Excellent choice.
My partner and I decided to share a third sarnie – the Bewitched Tuna (R55) on wholewheat. It had a generous mound of shredded tuna mixed with sweet “chillinaise”, served on a bed of crunchy red cabbage slaw, garnished with peppadews and, a great touch for taste, tiny sprigs of mint.
Six bagel options are also available, prices varying from R30 for a New Yorker (classic bagel, with smooth cream cheese) to R65 for the Fabulous Florida (all the ingredients of the Bedazzled Chicken sarnie) and R75 for the Norwegian Delight (a variation of the smoked salmon sarnie).
Both the sarnies and bagels have a vegetarian choice that is proving popular, I am told. It’s the Mediterranean Veg (R55 for the sandwich, R60 for the bagel) which has aubergine slices, red and yellow peppers, and crispy haloumi grilled with coconut oil, on a hummus base. This is drizzled with balsamic dressing and garnished with rocket leaves.
Selling well in the early mornings, says manager James, is Magnetic Smashed Avo, Poached Eggs (R50). This has a large slice of bread or toast topped with smashed avocado and free-range, medium poached eggs on a bed of baby spinach. That’s finished off with a light drizzle of honey dijonnaise.
Glam Wich, which also sells bottled water and juices, ice tea and soft drinks, is open from 7am to 6pm daily.
“Many different things inspired us to open this type of business, but mostly it was our realisation of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle,” explains Lamees.
“Taking into consideration that the food revolution is shifting towards a trend of healthy eating and noting a lack of delicious, healthy, high-quality meals on the market, spurred the Glam Wich idea.
“We have an unparalleled passion for good food that tastes and looks amazing.”
The menu was created by Lamees, with her husband as her biggest critic, she says. She spent months experimenting with different types of breads, fillings and home-made sauces to achieve what she called “the final prototypes”.
She adds: “The menu will change as ingredients come into and go out of season. However, we will strive to keep our menu as nutritious as possible.
“Our Bedazzled Chicken is by far the most popular item, and we are currently working on a peri-peri chicken ‘glamwich’. In winter, we will be offering gourmet open sandwich melts. We will also be offering air-fried spicy potato wedges with a healthy yoghurt dip and bulgar wheat salad bowls, to complement our current menu. “
Lamees also mentions she is developing some healthy dessert options.
“We are in the process of collaborating with The Barn Owl (our neighbour here, that makes amazing coffee) to offer a combo of coffee and a smashed avo open sandwich, as well as a hot chocolate and dessert option.
“Also, keep an eye out for our corporate menu featuring canapé masterpieces,” she says, pointing out that part of the Glam Wich philosophy is based on sustainability.
“Our Kraft boxes, brown paper bags, wooden forks and knives are sourced responsibly and are FSC certified. We care about our oceans, so we’re offering paper straws.”
It has been reported that every Sunday from 2pm to 8pm, Florida Fields plans to offer a family-friendly event called As The Sun Goes Down, with music and a fun vibe. Good idea.