I might have said this before and if I have you just have to bear with me while I repeat it: I have a strong bias against franchised restaurants. Their fare tends to be predictable and it lacks that edge, that creative touch that you get from smaller restaurants. So I was pleasantly surprised when my friend Msizi took me to Big Easy, in the Hilton Hotel in Durban. I first came across Big Easy in Stellenbosch and almost overnight branches seem to have sprung up all over the place. I am exaggerating, of course, but you get the point. First, the ambience is to die for. Though the service was a bit on the unsatisfactory side, this was ameliorated by the good music they were playing — an agreeable mix of laid-back soul and jazz. I simply had to enjoy it. For starters I had fresh Malay shrimp samoosas. I was in Durban, after all. Msizi was impressed with his grilled chicken masala salad, starter portion. The Ernie Els Proprietor’s red blend was nothing to write home about, even though at ...

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