Churchill House: a must-see antique cafe in Durban

Posted by Vuyi Qubeka on 23 September 2014

In lists of things to do in Durban, you almost always get the usual suspects – the Golden Mile, the Indian District, uShaka Marine World. I’d like to suggest you visit a spot that you won’t find on those lists: Churchill House. Part cafe, part antique shop, it’s a quaint, modestly grand spot that’s full of Italian hospitality.

Also see: Photoblog: dropping into Durban

I have been going to Durban, KZN all of my life, visiting twice and sometimes three times a year during school holidays. Although we visited the beaches only during the more special December holidays, most of my time was spent in Claremont, within a township called Ndunduma. It was awesome and all that I needed, then. Imagine my elation when I went on assignment in the province. I would be dancing a new dance with Durban, and doing things, and seeing them, as I’d never done before.  Of all the things I did, one particular place sits confidently perched on the top of my list: Churchill House. Part café, part antique shop, the bohemian-vintage space is owned by husband and wife Stefano (Italian) and Terri-Anne Toffoli (South African).

 

Enter through its doors and you enter an airy space with pastel green distressed walls, ornate trimmings and the smell of pastry goodness. The coffee is excellent, there is a bakery on site and the cafe is famous for super-fresh bee sting cake, baked cheese cakes, carrot cake and quiche. Everything else on the menu will fight for your attention: fluffy scrambled eggs, salmon and a croissant, and lunch of corn fritters with smoked salmon and crème fraiche. Straight ahead is the garden which is a dream on those not too hot Durban summer days – a seat inside or out is equally pleasant. And then, to the left and right of the cafe section are two home-grown clothing stores and a vintage shop (an additional one will be introduced within the coming month). Between all of this, antique furniture is tastefully placed.

 

Everything you see in the antiques section is on sale. I really loved the intense blue walls which only enhanced the looks of these collectables.

 

Each of the furniture and other pieces on sale are individually selected by Stefano. Stefano guides the overall direction in the concept store, and has much to do with the kind of flour used in the bakery, to the paint splashed on the walls. Each piece is a gem, and though it was a little out of my price range, looking at and just appreciating was just as fulfilling. (For now, anyway).

 

Meet Dumi, the owner of the concept store DPC within Churchill House. DPC stocks the clothing of leading South African designers.

 

Dumi, The entrepreneur. Photo by Vuyi Qubeka

Dumi, The entrepreneur. Photo by Vuyi Qubeka.

Patrons here are regulars and seem to be very much at home and at ease with all the staff. Various themed events are hosted in the outside area of the eatery too.

Patrons here are regulars and seem to be very much at home and at ease with all the staff. Various themed events are hosted in the outside area of the eatery too.

 

 

Vintage Quirkiness is the other shop nestled within Churchill House. Sheila, who owns the shop with her business partner Sally-Anne, decided to play dress up for me with the apparel in her store, and she sure knows how! I call it guerrilla sales.

 

The interior space, and the playful owners of the vintage store with dainty, must-have garments of yesteryear.

 

 And with that, my love for Durban was revived. Thank you, Churchill.

Contact Churchill House

Address: 92-93 Churchill Road Windermere, Morningside.

Tel: 031 303 5959. Or you can find Churchill House on Facebook.

 

Read more: More fun things to do in Durban in our October issue.

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