Sarnia Road is definitely a Durban road with many faces. Half industrial and half residential, it’s close to Hillary and Seaview – areas that have really shaped the town and, in many ways, given Durban its character.
This also happens to be the road where Café India is located. I hadn’t heard of this curry spot before tracking down the companies that have made the grade for the Bunny Chow Barometer.
The business – which is run by Devan Moodley – has been operating for over a decade. When Moodley’s father passed away recently, 21-year-old Kirschen Moodley joined him to serve some of the best curries in South Durban.
Moodley started Café India in 2005 after he had been working for FNB as a consultant. During his school days, he helped his aunt who ran a family take away. That’s where he discovered his passion for food.
“My late father was the head chef and mastermind behind the food in this curry shop and when he passed on I decided that it was my duty to carry on with the cooking. I believe we are one of the only places in Durban that has perfected the flavour and taste of the curry,” says a proud Devan Moodley.
“We have four permanent staff members and we run seven days a week. We cater for outside functions and are open from 7am in the morning to 7pm at night Monday to Friday. On Sundays, we are open from 8am to 2pm. We cater for the local people of the area, but we have become popular so people come and try our bunnies from all over. I’ve recently done a revamp. I only have one shop, and we are very hands on, we work alongside our staff,” he explains.
Moodley is not ready to expand Café India. Right now, he is simply enjoying the success of his small business and it achievements when it comes to the Bunny Chow Barometer.
He admits that the Bunny Barometer has been a huge selling point for Café India over the years and has helped elevate their business.
They have been in the top 10 for nine years in a row. Café India won in both 2010 and 2011 and was a runner up in 2012. It took the best stall place in 2014 and, in 2015, Moodley hopes to take back the title from Hollywood Bets.
“It gives us a lot of exposure and benefits the business by raising its profile. It is also a challenge for us and gives us a chance to make sure that we are consistent. The good thing about the barometer is that competition judges come unannounced to our store and taste our food, so it’s a true reflection on what the food is like. We like to always keep the highest standards for all our customers and not just judges,” Moodley explains.