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Level Four Restaurant

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One day I too shall have a place where the waiters know my favourite dish and are happy to serve me

The last time the ANC was led by someone from KwaZulu Natal (KZN), he was so good — so very good — that he won the Nobel peace prize. That was Albert Luthuli. He wasn’t an excellent leader and thinker. He was a great one.

Asked for a repeat performance, the province gave us Jacob Zuma. What a come-down, what a disgrace. The man lied to parliament, saying he was never given a chance to answer the public protector’s questions. To prove he had been given a chance, former public protector Thuli Madonsela released a tape of him evading questions and passing them on to his long-suffering lawyer, Michael Hulley. Now he wants to see Madonsela in jail. The mind boggles.

Fortunately, not everything in KZN is as terrible as this one export. If you ever find yourself in Durban and are in need of some good sustenance, do pop into the Sugar Club at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Many of you may be familiar with the other, extremely fancy hotel nearby. And I like that too. But if you want some olde-worlde charm and are keen to avoid the super rich who sometimes clog the other hotel, ordering expensive champagne that they judge merely on price, then head for the Beverly Hills. It is quite a versatile place.

The restaurant is highly regarded, often garnering five-star reviews from happy diners.

I had a great old time at the Sugar Club. I went for breakfast. Service veered from absolutely excellent from the maître d’ — Lawrence, if memory serves — to sometimes lackadaisical from some of the junior staff.

The clientele is mostly foreign, with plummy British accents and the odd German. Then there are the locals: the KZN white and black business elite — ladies and gentlemen who breakfast and a fair dose of those who brunch.

I wanted to sit outside, but the dastardly monkeys that seem to be all over every beach-front hotel in KZN and elsewhere were rampant that day. One jumped on a table, a German woman yelped, and off the monkey went with a piece of toast in his mouth.

A man by the surname of Zuma sat at the next table, with two business partners. "And for you, Mr Zuma? The usual?" asked Lawrence.

One day I too shall have a place where the waiters know my favourite dish and are happy to serve me.

The breakfast menu is, well, extensive. You can spoil yourself with anything from poached to fried farmhouse eggs, bacon, haddock — all the meaty and fishy breakfast works. Plus grilled mushrooms, hash browns and soya sausage. It is an emporium.

I was very interested in the "Beverly Hills Favourites", starting with the eggs benedict, which is lovingly described as poached eggs "rested" on toasted English muffins topped with ham and hollandaise sauce. Rested. How quaint. There are also eggs champignon, smoked haddock on curry-infused savoury rice topped with poached egg, and omelettes and flap jacks.

I went for the eggs benedict, which I use as my measure of a good breakfast. I wasn’t disappointed. It was everything: the muffin was perfectly toasted, the egg runny and the ham salty and tasty. Absolutely divine.

Who says everything we have from KZN is on the dodgy side?

Here is proof that some things in KZN are very, very good and lovely, and gentle on the soul.

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**** ½ The Sugar Club
Beverly Hills Hotel
54 Lighthouse Road
Umhlanga
Durban
Tel: (031) 561-2211

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***** Thuli Madonsela
**** Excellent
*** Good
** Poor
* Busisiwe Mkhwebane