The small town of Howick in the picturesque Natal Midlands is home to a number of eateries and restaurants. One of those establishments is The Victorian Café, a small restaurant situated in Main Street just opposite the beautifully restored Agricultural Hall, one of the town’s main attractions.
Despite its rather posh name, The Victorian Café is not a fancy restaurant by any stretch of the imagination, and nor does it claim or aim to be. Owners Peter and Christina Brown, who have over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, have devised a menu that offers simple and affordable, value-for-money meals which can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
For those who love a big breakfast, The Victorian Café delivers in the form of the Victorian Breakfast comprising two eggs, three rashers of bacon, grilled tomato, sausage, pan-fried mushrooms, baked beans, and toast (R58). Another popular option for large appetites is the three-egg omelette (R52) with a choice of fillings such as cheddar cheese, tomato, onion, mushroom, bacon, feta cheese, and olives.
Other dishes include Eggs Benedict (R48), a toasted English muffin topped with two poached eggs, ham coated with hollandaise sauce and grilled tomato, and the Salmon Croissant (R54), a hot croissant served with scrambled egg and smoked salmon. For the ‘not so hungry’ there are a number of options, such as a simple offering of two slices of toast with butter and preserves (R20), and two eggs (scrambled, fried or poached) on toast (R24), while the more health conscious can enjoy a bowl of fresh fruit salad with Greek yoghurt, muesli and honey (R45).
Arriving at just around 1 pm we missed breakfast, but with a lunch menu that is arguably one of the most extensive I have ever encountered for a restaurant of this size, we were still spoilt for choice. From toasted and gourmet sandwiches to a variety of salads, soups, pies, quiches, gourmet burgers, pastas and steaks The Victorian Café serves just about everything you’d expect a good restaurant to serve, and even a little more.
Mary-Anne had a homemade feta and spinach quiche (R45) with a mixed salad and baby potatoes. She really enjoyed the dish, remarking that it was “lovely, filling and well worth the money”. The meal certainly looked appetising and I was quite impressed by the overall presentation and the generous portions.
Although Mary-Anne’s dish was undoubtedly a good deal, I was rather hungry and was looking to tackle something a bit more substantial. Perusing the menu I came across two dishes which were of particular interest to me – a 200 g fillet steak with a helping of baby potatoes and fresh vegetables (R90), and a 250 g rump steak with egg and chips (R75).
After some hesitation I selected the fillet steak, which I hoped would be everything it was cracked up to be. Thankfully it was, and even more so. The meat was exceptionally tender and juicy, so much so that it almost seemed to melt in my mouth. The vegetables and potatoes, too, were equally as good and although the meal was by no means cheap, it was still reasonably priced for what you got.
The dessert menu at this restaurant is truly delightful, offering a variety of delicious treats that would tempt even the most disciplined diners. A selection of home-baked cakes, including chocolate cake, are available at R26 a slice, with other options including fruit salad and ice cream (R25), scones with jam or cream and cheese (R24), a giant muffin with jam or cheese, and two freshly cooked pancakes served with cream or ice cream (either R21 or R23 depending on your choice of topping).
I ordered the pancakes with cinnamon and sugar as a topping (R21), sharing one with Mary-Anne, who I knew would not be able to resist the offer. My pancake was lovely: tasty and sweet, neatly presented and worth every cent I paid for it. In fact, this was a superb little dessert deal because we were effectively paying R10,50 per pancake, which is virtually unheard of nowadays.
I really enjoyed my visit to The Victorian Café. Owners Peter and Christina have perfected the art of serving tasty, affordable and well-presented meals in a relaxing and aesthetically pleasing environment. The Victorian-themed decor is most appealing and apt for this type of restaurant, which also offers a hint of “European style” pavement ambiance that is refreshingly untypical of Howick.
The Victorian Café is an excellent eatery that offers customers a wide variety of value-for-money meals backed by personalised service provided by friendly and knowledgeable staff. It is arguably one of the best restaurants in the area and is an absolute must-visit. The Victorian Café is fully licensed and is open Mondays to Sundays for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Victorian Café Contact details
Telephone: +27 (0)33 330 6377
Physical address: 2 Main Street, Howick, KwaZulu Natal
GPS co-ordinates: Latitude: -29.48609 / Longitude: 30.235081
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