Yesterday I had an enjoyable day in visiting a number of restaurants in Durban and in Umhlanga, the last being the brand new Plan B Dessertery, a unique dessert-focused Eatery in Durban North. It was by chance that I met the couple behind the exciting restaurant concept, as well as of the Mexican restaurant Four15 Burritos next door!

I met Ken Fourie briefly while he stood behind the till taking orders for the Plan B Dessertery offering of  ice cream cones, churros, dessert tacos, and bubble waffles with exotic fillings. I asked him a few questions, and as he was busy with customers and a queue was building up, he suggested that I go next door and speak to his wife Michele. 

I had received the recommendation to try Plan B Dessertery from MasterChef SA Season 3 winner Roxi Wardman, when I contacted her about meeting up with her, and for restaurant recommendations. She sent me a collage of photographs too, which showed delectable dessert items. 

I arrived by Uber, and could not believe how busy the Eatery was, one standing in a queue to order and pay. One receives a numbered slip with proof of payment, and one waits for the order number to be called up. My Churros and chocolate sauce order took about half an hour to be prepared, but the Bubble Waffle desserts seemed to
be the most popular, with delectable fillings, and appeared to be made in a faster time. 

I found Michele Fourie at Four15 next door, the Mexican restaurant also belonging to the Fouries. I  was lucky to catch her just before she left for home with her children. She explained that the name came from the dialing code for the Mission District in San Francisco, where the family lived for some time. 

Michele sketched their restaurant background for me, having had other careers prior to 2011. It was in that year that they opened their first Wakaberry frozen yoghurt parlour, on Florida Road in Durban. Within three years they had opened 42 franchise stores, which they sold to Famous Brands. She laughed when she told me that successful restaurants need Research and hard work, with some craziness, but she now believes that the proportion of craziness is higher! I asked her about opening new restaurants, having sold their Wakaberry restaurants, only retaining one Wakaberry in the Durban North location in which their two restaurants are now. When the franchise agreement expired, they sold the last one to Famous Brands. They travelled internationally, and returned with the Mexican restaurant concept, set up in one half of the Wakaberry space in 2015. In the other half they opened Plan B Dessertery a mere two weeks ago. 

Four15 is a relaxed, casual Mexican Eatery, at which one eats with one’s family. It is loud, one eats with one’s fingers, and it is set up in a comfortable style. Festive dress-up parties are held there regularly. I loved the loud decor, boldly painted walls on both sides, plastic cloths hanging on lines across the restaurant, and a clever Salsa Station offering all the strong condiments one may need to add to their ‘flavourful‘ Mexican food. She said that it took some time for Durbanites to get used to it. They grew by 30 % in their first year. 

Plan B Dessertery grew out of the need of Ken and Michele to do things differently, and to not do the norm. I gave them my feedback about the Churros, and I praised their crispiness, which seemed to please them. I said that I found the chocolate sauce too thick, and they said that in Mexico and Spanish-speaking countries they would dip Churros into Hot Chocolate. Michele told me that some patrons expect Churros to be soft like doughnuts. They try to keep their themed offerings authentic. The Bubble Waffle concept comes from Hong Kong. 

I asked them about bringing Plan B Dessertery to Cape Town, and they have clearly thought about it already. They did tell me that Cape Town is not an easy market, Capetonians being knowledgeable, and to have high standards. They described Cape Town as having a very ‘savvy food market‘. It is an easier concept for the Fourie’s to being to other areas, compared to Four15. 

What impressed me about Ken and Michele is how kind they are to each other, each praising the other for their contribution to their success. Michele deals with the food and staff, while Ken deals with the operational and decor/shop fitting side, having been an architect. He made lampshades for Plan B Dessertery from buckets, and made the furniture for Four15 from furniture they had at home. Michele told me briefly at the beginning of our chat that she once was in journalism, in spelling her name for me, which made me laugh. 

I sense that the Fouriess are at the beginning of another restaurant success, especially with their Plan B Dessertery, if what I experienced yesterday is anything to go by. 

Four15 Burrito District, 41 Mackeurtan Avenue, Durban North. Tel (031) 564-0415 Twitter: @Four15Burritos Instagram: @Four15burritos  Monday 16h30 -21h00 Tuesday – Thursday 11h00 -21h00 Friday -Saturday 11h00 – 21h30 Sunday 11h00 – 21h00. 

Plan B Dessertery, 41 Mackeurtan Avenue, Durban North. Tel (031) 563-1173. Twitter: @planbdessertery Instagram: @planbdessertery

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein