I’ve written about Camden031 before but today was a pretty extra special day so I’m writing about them again (more on why I popped in at a later stage…). I’m writing about them this evening because, after a morning of fongoolery (it’s a word!) on all fronts, I popped in to get a little inside look at what makes this little black and yellow place tick, and they turned my Tuesday-that-was-all-too-much-like-a-Monday into a sweet day. Just for the record, because I get asked this, this is not a sponsored post nor was I asked to write it.
By now, thanks to a riproaring trade during their first few weeks of being open, you’ve probably heard the words “comedy”; “cuisine” and “good times” bandied about. But, as I learnt today, Camden031 isn’t just your typical night out (it’s open during the day too!)
I’ve known one of the brains behind it, Glen, for years. The other brain behind Camden031? Dave Boyter, who I met today. What’s become very apparent to me after chatting with both of them is that they have not ventured into the insane world of running an establishment with an “eyes closed and hope for the best” approach. Glen and Dave share a deep love for making fine food, and I fear that when I take my kid down there for lunch, she’s probably going to give me a speech about how my culinary skills could do with some work (Thanks guys :P). More than that, they plan for and actively participate in every facet of the establishment’s operations.
Whilst their lineup of events has been, up until this point, primarily focused on stand up comedy and related entertainment, they’re not stopping there. Glen told me today:
“We’ve got a venue that can offer Durban a diverse set of entertainment. We’re looking forward to hosting musicians, comedians and a bunch of events that’ll give our city’s people a unique place to have a little fun”.
In chatting to Dave, his extreme (he’s not just an excellent chef, he’s also into extreme sports!) devotion to getting things right and creating good in the world is evident. When I asked him about his approach to food, he said:
“Food is life…and life is life. We have to take the tumbles, try everything and confront risks. A lot of the time, very exciting things lie beyond taking that first step!”
As for the food (because, let’s be honest now, I like being fed…), that’s where the Camden031 team like to take risks. I enjoyed an incredible fig-grape-roasted-almond-camembert dessert that I’m currently daydreaming about it again, and sampled some of Dave’s incredible ginger vanilla vodka. He makes it himself, using vanilla pods brought in from Madagascar.
As for the rest of the menu, Dave and Glen create new menus each week, making use of fresh seasonal produce and experimenting with what’s available locally.
Maybe the best part for me about Camden031 is that it’s not just a night-time outing. It’s also open during the day for coffee, lunch, cocktails and – yes – there’s free WiFi. Many people have said that Camden031 will be the home of Durban’s comedy scene and I believe that too. But I think it’s becoming a little bigger than just a comedy venue - for me, who is not the late night joller she once was, I see this place as being the “nightclub that’s grown up”.
Camden031 has quite an event lineup over the next few weeks, including Thursday’s Diners/Drive-ins & Dinner, comedy events over the weekend and a scrub-up Sunday lunch too.