Canvas Grill, Essenwood
12:00 - 21:00 Mon to Thur
14:00 - 21:30 Fri
12:00 - 22:00 Sat
12:00 - 21:00 Sun
Price Range (p/p)
Medium | R100 - R300
Pricey | R300 - R600
Tucked away inside Cowey Office Park in Essenwood is an eclectic dining establishment called Canvas Grill. Now from the name you would not be wrong in thinking tent, pavilion, teepee, or big top, expecting some kind of outdoor or open-air place. You would have been completely wrong. Canvas Grill is a trendy restaurant at the entrance to a small business park; the brainchild of Chef Ismail Arbee.
The décor is chic with leather seating, cool chandeliers and a slightly industrial looking ceiling with air vents and ducting visible. Interestingly the feature wall has an art décor feel with silhouettes of superheroes cartoon style. Definitely family orientated with a little coloring table to keep the kids busy and also a small wall space painted with blackboard black where you or the kids can scribble some thoughts or comments of the “I was here” variety. Snuggly out of sight are a number of raised booths, which would interest the more private diners or the couples on date night.
So where does the Canvas come in to Canvas Grill? The first clue is when you open the menu. Each dish is named after or dedicated to a well-known artist. The Renaissance, is well represented with a sprinkling of the east. One dish is called Rumi! Painter, maybe not but in this case we could be talking esoterically, you know the soul is a canvas, or life is a painting… I digress. Back to the food definitely the main attraction. So the menu is not small and choosing a dish a little harder than you would think. Carefully thought through combinations and catering for the carnivore as well as the more discerning palette. Whatever you choose though be prepared for an artistic presentation that will not disappoint. Yes, the Canvas is the Plate. Fine dining and fusion restaurants could take a leaf from these guys. I was impressed to say the least.
Honestly choosing what to try was a challenge. Note to self, another trip to Durban is required in the near future purely to taste the rest of the menu. Pleasant helpful staff help you navigate through the choices. As usual the primary challenge is choosing something for the little boss. If he is happy and eating, then the evening has better chance of going smoothly. The thing is the little guy is getting used to eating out and has developed his own particular taste buds. You must be thinking at 5 what does he know about food and I will counter, you will be surprised.
So after the negotiations and promise of dessert after, he agreed to have nachos. A delightful starter with homemade crisps and melted cheese and a tomato relish. It came first as requested and we all dipped into it whilst we waited for our main courses. Executive decision taken, no starters for us so we have space for dessert. Amateurs I hear you say, well yes I struggle to eat a cow by myself. So I opted for the Rumi, a tender marinated chicken fillet roll, stuffed with fresh spinach, creamy feta and spicy jalapenos topped with mozzarella. My better half went with the Raphael, the chefs’ special. Perfectly cooked fillet steak pocketed with a deliciously decadent stuffing of three cheeses and a tender king prawn, accompanied by a creamy mushroom sauce and pesto mash. Both dishes looked exquisite a feast for the eyes and the stomach. The meal though was not cheap, Raphael came in at R199 whilst the Rumi a more acceptable R109. Drinks available were the usual cordials as well as a selection of mocktails or montages as they called it and some gourmet milkshakes. Alas these were for another time.
To round off a rather filling meal we decided with help from the waitron to try the canoli. It was average at best but granted after the meal we just had, the dessert was overkill and really only to please the little guy. I must confess though that given more time in Durban I would most likely work my way step by step through this menu one dish at a time.