Road side dining in South Africa is in dire need of a major overhaul. The ubiquitous greasy take-away joint serving up the most depressing selection of artery-clogging fare is what we’ve grown accustomed to. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
A few years’ ago, The Midlands Kitchen at the well-known Windmills Garage near the Nottingham Road off-ramp, KZN, opened its doors with a completely new approach to food on-the-go. And more recently, this country kitchen has undergone a facelift with a renewed focus on wholesome farm fresh fare, served up fast.
As Emily Dyer, who was tasked with the recent upgrade to The Midlands Kitchen and its food offering, points out. “We wanted to go back to the real Midlands experience.” This means a pared down menu, which was cut down by 80%, allowing the establishment to put the focus squarely on providing sustainable, ethical favourites in a rustic and charming setting.
So, what can you expect to find on the menu? Delicately dressed romaine, crunchy toasted croutons, a scattering of fresh parmesan and a perfectly soft poached egg – i.e. the perfect Caesar salad.
Or how about the lightest and crispiest of pizzas made with imported doppio zero flour and Italian tomatoes cooked in a wood-burning oven?
If that’s not your thing – there’s plenty more to choose from, including The Midlands Kitchen’s famous freshly baked pies, grass-fed burgers with hand-cut fries, fire-grilled chicken, Durban-style curries, washed down with freshly squeezed fruit and veggie juices and all finished off with decadent gelato – we recommend the honey almond flavour!
“Fast food doesn’t need to be bad,” says Emily, who points out that everything sold in The Midlands Kitchen is made on site.
The concept is brilliant – The Midlands Kitchen borrows from the food hall concept, but in a cosy setting complete with roaring fires and wooden tables. Instead of having to queue for food, you simply sit at your table and can order from any of the food stalls without having to leave your seat. And most impressive of all is the speed at which the food is delivered to your table – the promise is no more than 20 minutes, but we never had to wait much longer than 10.
For those that don’t have the time and prefer to grab food on the go, there is a separate section stocking baguettes, a biltong counter and freshly barista brewed coffee – and more of those famous Midlands Kitchen pies to take away.
There are still some exciting plans on the horizon for The Midlands Kitchen – a new section will be opened selling craft beers and wine, locally produced Swissland cheese as well as dairy products from the Gourmet Greek.
The Midlands Kitchen is a collaborative food hall at the Windmills Garage where ethical farming practices, sustainability and freshness are promoted and where all the stalls value quality ingredients and produce. Keep in mind, if ordering from different stalls, your food might arrive at different times. This kid and pet-friendly dining destination is ideal for motorists passing through for take-aways – it is situated close to the N3 Nottingham Road off-ramp, Exit 132, and is open daily from 06h00 to 16h00 (The Grab and Go section closes at 20h00). For more information, visit www.themidlandskitchen.co.za.