Tropicale

posted in: Mini Memories | 48

 

My regular informant John Taylor writes:

Hi Allan,
My wife and I and our youngest daughter who is now in high school went out for a bite to eat the other night, and my daughter ordered a chocolate milkshake. When she asked if I’d like a taste I obliged, and immediately my brain cells shouted “Tropicale double thick!”. To validate this I asked my wife to taste it and say what she thought – her immediate reply was “Tropicale double thick!”.

One of the great things about growing up and living in Durban is the particular memories that we all share. I guess that most everyone made their way to the Tropicale next to Albert Park at some stage, whether it be in the sixties, seventies, or eighties. Apart from the extraordinary double thick milkshakes, I recall loving one item on the menu comprising a pork sausage and chips upon which was poured a hair curling peri peri type of gravy. I also was a regular consumer of their very tasty souvlakia. Just arriving in the parking area and smelling the food got the appetite going.

We hardly ever went into the restaurant or terrace, preferring to be served in the car – I had an old VW beetle with a very wonky passenger side window which nearly sent the tray crashing on a couple of occasions. Being a regular, the waiters would often walk up to the car and say “same again, lahnee?” so I didn’t have to peruse the menu.

I’m sure that there are many Durbanites who have “Tropicale” memories and anecdotes!

Kind regards,
John Taylor

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48 Responses

  1. Allan Jackson
    | Reply

    The Tropicale was certainly a great Durban institution. As a child I didn’t go there much because my parents couldn’t afford it or, most likely, didn’t like the food. Dad often took us to Albert Park where he would buy us lime Sparlettas (anyone remember them?) at the kiosk under the stands and we’d watch the cricket or soccer on the adjoining field. I was pretty regular at the Tropicale once I got my independence and it was a pretty sad day when the roadhouse side of things closed.

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi AllanJ

      The Tropicale!!
      What memories we share!!
      John Taylor writes about the “double thick chocolate milkshake” which was so thick that a special “large bore” straw was supplied to enable one to slowly slurp up the contents!
      I wonder if they remember my girl friend’s (now my wife) favourite which was the “awful awful sundae”! A delicious stomach turning goodie!
      I drove a 1957 VW Beetle in those days and it was pillar box red without any womky windows!! We were always short of cash in those days and the trip to the Tropicale was something of an event for us, around about pay day each month!!
      I ended up with a bachelor pad in Brianmore, St Georges Street right next to the famous Belgica Hotel! Wonderful days they were!!
      Regards
      AllanH

    • John Taylor
      |

      Hi AllanH,
      Talking about food, wasn’t there a very popular cake and confectionery shop next to the Belgica. The name Céstsibon springs to mind.

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi John
      Absolutely right about the confectionery shop!

      I think that it was “part of the Belgica” inasmuch as the folk who owned or ran the Beligica owned the C’estibon as well!!

      I never parked my car on that side of Brianmore as it was just too much for me to have to pass those beautiful sweets and cakes on my way up to my batchelor flat and a meal of Bovril on toast!!

      I came into contact with the owner later in life when I was with Rotary in Pinetown and they catered for our guests at the Box and Dine evenings which we put on as a major fundraising function!
      Regards
      AllanH

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      The Tropicale; yes another 1960s and later institution which sadly is no more. With what the area is like these days you would have needed major fortification to operate a business there. Sunday lunches at the Tropicale were very popular and you needed to book. Initially lunch was served in the area within the main building and the “reception counter” was a small area where you waited and then taken to your table. Remember going there with my in laws just after getting married. Later the dining area was expanded into an al fresco area in front of the main building and was a type of deck structure slightly raised above ground level and under some trees. The Tropicale car park within the park ran parallel to St Andrew’s Street. There were two pillars at the entrance to Albert Park which lead to the oval and there was a bowling club on the left. The stand in my time was a concrete structure but I have been told it replaced a very old wooden structure from the past. The oval was used for social cricket and in winter the Sunday League football matches were played there. Gongs Hockey Club which never had a clubhouse or grounds would have preseason training there after work on Wednesdays. The adjoining area behind Albert Park was virtually all blocks of flats which remain today. I quite often visit the area as my wife frequents a haberdashery shop located in McArthur Street. What a change! I would say a no-go area today. In St Andrew’s Street was NAWRA House (Natal Anglican Women’s Residence Association) where if you had a contact living there one could get blind dates arranged. I recall going there with the mates I went around with to pick up “organised” blind dates. Strict security did not allow you to get past the front door. Who remembers the residential hotel in St Andrew’s Street called the “Wingfield” ? Run by Mr and Mrs Lear. They had a son, John. The hotel a rather rambling single storey establishment was virtually opposite the then Albert Park Bowling Club. The bowling park eventually closed down when the club disbanded and the grounds were tarred and made into a skate boarding rink and netball courts (?). I recall when as a youngster living off Moore Road, during school holidays, I used to walk from home down to the Bay going through Albert Park. Then cross the Esplanade, cross the railway lines and end up at the back of Irvin and Johnson where the fishery workers would give you fish guts for bait. Irvin and Johnson trawlers were tied up to the wooden wharf in front and a ” hot stream” emptied into the Bay here. The stream was alive with mullet and small fish called “glassies” .
      Mullets never took bait on hooks so the required manner of capture was to “jig” them using a treble hook at the end of your line which was trolled in the water and then whipped at the appropriate time. That was all many many moons ago.
      PS The owners of the Tropicale were “Paulos” of Greek origin if I recall.

    • Rodney Leak
      |

      Georgios (sp!) Poulos was the owner of the Tropicale. I was a playmate and co-SADF conscriptee of their son who now lives on west coast of the US and runs a successful restaurant. Now Gerald, was the Wingfield alongside the house that became NAWRA. We lived in Ruwenzori and looked across at the buildings opposite the bowling club and watched NAWRA go up.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Rodney
      Yes that is correct. The Wingfield was an old residential hotel which if I recall was painted green and white. White walls with green doors and windows. At one stage it was owned by Mr and Mrs Lear probably 1950s/60s. However I looked the Wingfield up in the 1938 Directory and it was operating then already under the ownership of Mrs Welch. In the Directory mention is made of the Wingfield Annexe. The main building is given as 60/72 St Andrew’s St and the Annexe 63 St Andrew’s St. I checked on NAWRA House. It was at 82 St Andrew’s St. and the Wingfield was next door.

    • Richard McGrath
      |

      Hi there, I stayed at the Wingfield for a month in 1985 as a medical student out from New Zealand attached to King Edward VIII Hospital. Very low cost but quite good. Was hoping to catch the All Blacks playing the Springboks but the tour was called off the day before I arrived in Durban.

    • Moira
      |

      I remember the Cest si Bon bakery. You could get delicious Florentines there. Does anyone remember the Anglo Swiss Bakery that used to be in Field Street? They sold little petit four cakes – one was a green frog cake, there was also a yellow bird cake and a white penguin cake. One year on my birthday my mother bought me a Rembrandt chocolate cake that I have never forgotten.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Moira,
      Good recall. My wife has just reiterated exactly what you said about the petit fours cakes, regarding the cakes, animals and colours from Anglo Swiss Bakery. She recalls for her birthday parties her mother would order these as special treats. Anglo Swiss was at No 80 Field Street. Just to recall that portion of Field Street here are the businesses that were situated there between West Street and Pine Street. On the corner of West and Field was the JBS (Johannesburg Building Society) Building which still stands. It is multi storey. Then came Populars, (dress shop if I recall), Lowell S Robertson (Jewellers and Diamond Merchants), Glen Anil House with Anglo Swiss Confectioners’ the street level tenants, Westfield Pharmacy, Freeds (furniture and previously the site of Cash Wholesalers), then the Fish Bowl for the best Fish and Chips in town, then The Cellars (The Wine Shop), and on the corner of Field and Pine, the Premier Shoe Shop.

    • MoiraKent-Brown nee Holtzkamp
      |

      Hi My mom used to work at Anglo Swiss ~ one of the better known cake shops of it’s time. I used to work there in the school holidays. Must have been early 60’s. The Naundicks (sic) used to own it. Delicious pies, crusty cheese rolls and numerous cakes and home-made biscuits and chocolates ~ those were the days!

  2. Graham Moss
    | Reply

    Thanks for the memories.

    I grew up in Durban many moons ago. We did frequent the Tropicale back then, but our main haunt was the Sunkist. But after moving to Canada, we from time to time came back to visit my parents. My Mom’s favorite spot was the Tropicale so we always took her there for lunch. By then the enclosed restaurant was quite smart. But, the last time we came, it had gone, although someone said it had relocating to the beach area? Too bad the area has gone downhill.

  3. Bianca Lawrence
    | Reply

    I have very fond memories of the Tropicale. We lived in a flat in St Andrews Street called Russlyn and my mom used to take my younger brother and I to the Tropicale in our prams. I remember the old Tropicale before the renovation when the tables were still made of cement with bits of chipped coloured tiles and the chairs were metal frames with woven red, yellow and blue plastic piping. My mom used to have a massive cream soda float and us kids would have a Chico the clown, a scoop of ice cream with an upside down cone as a hat, piped cream and bright sugary syrup, and two licorice sweets as eyes. They did the best hamburger in town as well as frozen bananas dipped in chocolate. The Mynah birds were very cheeky and would take food right off the table. I do also remember the roadhouse and we also had an old VW Beetle (who didn’t in those days?).

  4. ann Boyce
    | Reply

    I also have great memories of the Tropicale. When my family first moved from Johannesburg, we stayed in a block of flats called Ruwenzori which overlooked the Albert Park Bowling Club rinks. All the kids living in the blocks of flats around there, used to play in the Park.
    The Tropicale did not exist then, but when I got to the age of dating, this was the place to be. It originally had clip-on window trays, like the ones at the Drive-In (another institution), which were brought to one’s car. Does anyone remember this?; the chocolate double thick with the large bore straw, was the very best in Durban and the awful, awful, sundae was the treat of the year !
    The Paulos family owned it and lived across from the Bowling Club in a very smart block of flats (not so now). George was the son and went to St Henry’s Marist Bros. College.
    I went to the Tropicale for many, many years, with a number of extensions and upgrades taking place, even after the freeway glide-on to the M4 South was built.
    Reading Gerald’s comments brings all of this stuff back to me. I wonder if he remembers that Convent High School was in St. Andrews Street directly opposite the Old House Museum. Originally there was also a convent on the corner of Russell Street and Smith Street. I went there once to visit my Aunt, who was a nun, St. Maris Stella.
    Also remember going across (or under) the Esplanade to get to the wharf. How things have changed, the subways under the railway line are now closed if I am not mistaken.

    • Hester Joseph
      |

      Hi
      My name is Hester Joseph and I work for an organisation called Diakonia Council of Churches. They own the Diakonia Centre which I manage. The Diakonia Centre used to be the Convent High School. St. Andrew’s Street has been renamed Diakonia Avenue after the Diakonia Council of Churches which was started in 1976.
      Next year (2014) the building will be celebrating its Centenary. I am looking for old photographs of the area and anything about the Convent High School or the St. Joseph School for boys which was also housed in this building.

      [This post has been repeated on its own diary page here. Please leave any comments on that page. The Editor.]

  5. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Ann,
    Thanks for posting some of your memories. I am assuming you are the Ann Boyce from Westville? Our Lady Of Lourdes Parish 1980s?? I have written up on St Joseph’s School in 2009. I am going to try and give you the direct link to the story. Just click on the link and hopefully you will get to it. https://www.fad.co.za/Diary/diary027/diary027.htm.
    George Paulos was with me at St Henry’s but he was some years below me. Yes the subways were a part of the the Esplanade. The only decent one I remember was the one near the Point Yacht Club the others were not so kosher and in later years had their own “aroma”. Yes I think you are right most of them are closed off now.

  6. Maurice Warren
    | Reply

    Did anyone live in Anna Capri, an apartment block in St. Andrews Street? It was opposite the Tropicale. My father Ken Warren actually built it. He went up one day to ask a woman to remove her washing from the balcony and she threw a bucket of water over him.

    • John Taylor
      |

      I haven’t been in the area recently, but I’m told that the entire St. Andrews / St. George’s street area has become a slum, and a very dangerous place to be!

    • Hester Joseph
      |

      Hi John Taylor
      If you live in Durban, please can I invite you to the Diakonia Centre (owned by the Diakonia Council of Churches) at 20 Diakonia Avenue (formerly St. Andrews Street). I can assure you that it is not a slum and not dangerous. The Municipality has upgraded Diakonia Avenue and have identified the Albert Park area as a Priority Zone for further upgrading. Please visit our website http://www.diakoniaconferences.co.za In addition the Durban Music School and the Old House Museum are across the road from the Diakonia Centre.
      Looking forward to your visit (if you still live in Durban)!
      Kind regards
      Hester Joseph

    • Rodney Leak
      |

      I lived in Hertine Court in 1955-6. I remember Ana Capri. Next to which block, or between which blocks was it. I went to St Josephs Primary (Cnr. Smith and Broad) (all have new names now!), then to Park View Primary and ended schooling at Glenwood High. Lived in St Andrews Street until 1966. I knew the Poulos family (Tropicale) very well. George and I were at the SAAF flying school together.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Rodney
      Looking at the 1968 Directory here is the line up of flats in St Andrew’s St from Park Street to Maydon Road.
      Cnr Park and St Andrew’s : 108 “Parkgate”, 112 Mr C. Thompson, 118 Gloucester Hotel, 122-126 “Grantchester”, 128-130 Hertine Court, 132-134 Serrador Court, 136 Mrs G Shepherd and on the corner St Andrew’s and Maydon Road 138 Ana Capri.
      A few years after your stay in the area but I would surmise mainly unchanged. If you live overseas you would probably not recognise that area today!!

    • Kerry
      |

      Hi Maurice Warren, You mentioned your father built the Ana Capri. You wouldn’t by any chance know who the Architect was on that building or if there are any original building plans?

      You can message me on studio@makerdna.com

      Kind Regards,

      Kerry

    • Sandile
      |

      Hi
      I lived close by at Clifford Court in Park Street in 94 when that area was clean and quite. Unfortunately it has turned into something else now.

  7. Peter Venter
    | Reply

    Dear all
    I was privileged to have worked for the Poulos family in the 80’s as the Tropicale Manager. It was during the time that the “glass” domes were put up on the outside seating ares with the pale pink, light lime green and cream colors was the decor. there were stained glass lampshades hanging from the roof. Monty was the head waiter. I also recall Emanuel, Franky, Bobby, Rita, the late Steve Mortimer and his son (road house side) then there was Amy at the reception desk and her husband Fred did all the maintenance on the equipment and building (now the successful owner of Budget Catering Equipment). We stayed in a block of flats in Moore road called Santa Maria and I use to walk from Tropicale to home in the evenings after closing under the bridges of the highway so safe it was. Currently I am running the catering department for Diakonia Conference Centre, opposite the Durban Music School and the old house museum just a block away from where Tropicale use to be. Thanks to all for the memories of days gone by.

    • Sandile
      |

      Hi
      Good to share such memories. I got here trying to locate a friend of mine Trevin Jenkins who worked there as a waiter. At that time he lived in a flat across the road from Tropicale then moved to West Street, London House. But this was in the early 90s. We had formed a music group trying to do a mixed cultural group before 94 he then left for London and his girlfriend Lou Ann and we lost each other till now. I cant find anything about them on the net. I wish to know how they are doing or maybe some info about people who might have worked at Tropicale around that time.

  8. theresa potgieter
    | Reply

    Hi Peter, I have been pondering about Albert Park the last few days – especially the kebab steak with the most amazing gravy and the best milkshakes ever. So sad things had to change. Been googling recipes for kebabs but are not satisfied. Memories are all we have. Kind regards, Theresa

  9. Jane Helms
    | Reply

    A friend told me about this web site and wow, wow, what a blast from the past. I left Durban in 1981 after having lived there from the age of 5. When we originally arrived in Durban we lived in the Twines Hotel on the Esplanade – I attended school at both Addington Junior and Senior. I used to walk from the Twines up Gardiner Street to catch the bus from the stop outside the Swimming Pool. When I got home from school I remember spending many many hours playing in the little garden area across from the hotel next to the Dick King Statue – they had ponds with tadpoles and I used to catch them. I then have clear memories to going along the jetty in front of Dick King’s statue and walking along the sand at low tide and swimming off the pier when the tide came in – the pleasure cruises which went around the bay and out along South Beach left from this pier. I did read in one of the other posts about a lady asking if anyone was a pupil at Addington – I was and loved it having the coolest teacher of my entire school career whilst I was there – A Mr. Barry Sargent – I was head girl in 1966. Another website called Brats of South Beach from the 60’s has a lot of information about old Addington pupils as well as the general area. However I digress and we later moved to the Albert Park area to a block called Tabora and spent many happy hours playing in Albert Park. It was when I was a teenager that Tropicale became a regular Friday evening stop that was after the drive in and the double thick chocolate milkshakes were legendary as was the chocolate cake and cream – we also never went into the restaurant but always had it in the car – it was something I looked forward to each week. What wonderful memories

    kind regards

    Jane Helms

    • Daphne Sargent
      |

      Hi there Jane Helm … a friend of mine stumbled upon this blog and alerted me to your comments and in particular that you remember your “coolest teacher” – Barry Sargent who taught at Addington Primary.
      I am thrilled that you have good memories and wish that Barry could have read this before he passed away 5 weeks ago 💜

  10. Jane Helms
    | Reply

    Dear Gerald,

    I see in an earlier post someone mentioned the best cake shops around at the time – In the early sixties my mother worked at Anglo Swiss which was in Field street and if my memory recalls was opposite the Daily News building? Any way I used to pop into my Mom on my way home from school and on some days was lucky enough to receive a treat!

    I remember taking my young sister out on a saturday morning as Mom had to work and we went to Clover Leaf in Greenacres passage for a milkshake and waffle although that was a few years later. I remember going into OK Bazaars and buying packets of charms. One of the first evening places I was taken around the age of 11 or 12 was with my parents to Saltori’s Restaurant which was if I remember on the corner of West Street and Gardiner ? However often as a family on a Saturday evening we used to go window shopping down West Street and then get in Dad’s little mini panel van and drive up and sit outside the cinemas and watch all the people going in dressed up to the nines. These are memories that kids today cannot understand. I also remember the photographer who used to take your photo whilst walking down West street! As a younger child I also remember spending many day during my school holidays on South Beach watching Uncle Cyril at the Little Top – I even entered the freckle face competition. When I was lucky I had money to go on the trampolines! I also remember Scotty the beach photographer who was pretty old then but always made you laugh. I also remember those silly placades of weird people you used to stand behind with just your face showing and they take your photo! I must have been around 10 or 11 and was allowed to travel on my own on the bus and spend the day there. It was safe and no one needed a cell phone! I just had to make sure that I was home at the time my mother requested. What halcyon days. Innocent and safe sadly not like today – now I am sounding like my dear late Mom.

    We later moved to Morningside, the address being 123 Percy Osborne Road, and as I was still at Addington used to catch 4 buses a day getting to and from school. I remember spending my 21st birthday in the newly opened Beverley Hills Hotel at the nightclub there – the Copacabana? – and the cabaret artist was a lady called Tonia Bern-Campbell – the widow of the late Donald Campbell – She was rather exotic and had a lovely voice.

    I remember my first visit to Roma’s Revolving Restaurant with my parents –
    and somewhere I know I have a photo taken there when I was about 18. I remember going to Old Kingsmead with Mom and Dad and watching cricket and later new Kingsmead to watch soccer – I was a Durban United fan definitely not Durban City. I remember from our home in Percy Osborne Road we used to hear the crowds when they scored at Kings Park. I am really dredging up memories that have been hidden for over 50 years! If I have made any errors with addresses or place name I apologise and would welcome correction.

    • MoiraKent-Brown nee Holtzkamp
      |

      Hi, My Mom used to work at Anglo Swiss and I used to work there in the school holidays.
      It was owned by a Norwegian couple Mr and Mrs Neundick (sic). The bakery was upstairs and I used to have to run upstairs every time a customer wanted fresh cream on their slice of apple tart etc. They used to make the cheese rolls jam-packed with cheese ~ that was my job! I was not allowed to skimp on the cheese. Who remembers the home-made biscuits and belgian/norwegian chocolates ~ all made at the bakery. Oh how I wish cakes were made like that today!
      High days and holidays we were at the bakery at 4am to get all the orders out. Just wish I could remember what my pay was for the day. Think it was something like a rand a day but that could just be a guess. Jane, I have just noticed your mom also worked at Anglo Swiss ~ can you remember the years. We also lived in the Albert Park area ~ around the corner from you ~ Arusha! Same block as Tabora!

  11. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Jane
    Thanks for those reminiscences. Those were different times, never to be repeated. There are many memories recorded on this site but unfortunately some are hidden in other topics. What I suggest is that you use the SEARCH option on the home page. Put a reference in the Search box and see what comes up. It will direct you to numerous posts and other peoples memories. Enjoy.

  12. MoiraKent-Brown nee Holtzkamp
    | Reply

    Hi, My Mom used to work at Anglo Swiss and I used to work there in the school holidays.
    It was owned by a Norwegian couple Mr and Mrs Neundick (sic). The bakery was upstairs and I used to have to run upstairs every time a customer wanted fresh cream on their slice of apple tart etc. They used to make the cheese rolls jam-packed with cheese ~ that was my job! I was not allowed to skimp on the cheese. Who remembers the home-made biscuits and belgian/norwegian chocolates ~ all made at the bakery. Oh how I wish cakes were made like that today!
    High days and holidays we were at the bakery at 4am to get all the orders out. Just wish I could remember what my pay was for the day. Think it was something like a rand a day but that could just be a guess. Jane, I have just noticed your mom also worked at Anglo Swiss ~ can you remember the years. We also lived in the Albert Park area ~ around the corner from you ~ Arusha! Same block as Tabora!

  13. Cara
    | Reply

    I used to waitress at Saltori’s at 320 West St in the early 80s. The manager there was a young man called Kai (the owner’s son, I think), who used to pinch the waitresses’ bums. Nobody ever complained.

  14. Brett
    | Reply

    I would give anything to get my hands on the Tropicale Chocolate Cake recipe. There has never been anything close to that anywhere in the world!

    • MoiraKent-Brown nee Holtzkamp
      |

      Possibly died with an amazing baker of his time! Let us know if you ever find it!

  15. Janet Walsh
    | Reply

    The Tropicale was a magical time for us and my Father and I spent many an afternoon there. Warm memories too of Cuban Hat, The Nest and XL Roadhouse. What about Mitchell Park? Does anyone remember what the registration for TJ was referred to by the Tropicale Waiters? ND was ‘Nothing Doing’ and NPN was ‘No Peacanuts Now’ . What wonderful memories are popping up

  16. Amanda
    | Reply

    I went to an Indian restaurant for dinner when i was in Durban last year and at an auction they had bought all the glass wear from the Tropicale, it took be back immediately many years.
    Great website, so many memories 🙂

  17. HansHallen
    | Reply

    I designed the Tropicale together with Jack Diamond

    • HansHallen
      |

      I designed the building together with A.J. Diamond

    • Amanda Edmunds
      |

      Hi Hans,

      Would you by any chance have some pictures of it?

      Amanda

    • Allan Jackson
      |

      Hi Hans
      If you do have a picture as reuested by Amanda, below, I will gladly post it if you send it to me at the address on the contact page: https://www.fad.co.za/contact.php
      Cheers
      Allan

  18. MoiraKent-Brown nee Holtzkamp
    | Reply

    So John Taylor where did you have this wonderful double thick milkshake which reminded you of the Tropicale?

    • Doro
      |

      Yes, Moira, exactly what I was thinking, reading this whole wonderful thread.

      Please, please, please, John Taylor, tell us where you and your daughter and wife tasted this bliss!

  19. Roger Crichton
    | Reply

    My aunt was Rita Crichton and my cousin is June Mortimer, wife of the late Steve. Does anyone know where I can get hold of June? Thanks

  20. Najmia Manjoo
    | Reply

    Hey all, this is years after the first post, and while I didn’t go through all the replies, I did get a bit of info that I was looking for. I’m 37 and grew up in the states, but before we moved 30 years ago, we used to go to what I think was Albert Park. My hazy memories are of a park my aunts and uncles and cousins and my parents would go to. I remember a raised freeway/highway being very close by, and a white restaurant with maybe colorful lights or a neon sign. This may have been the Tropicale? I’m pretty sure we used to get popsicles and enjoy summer evenings in the park. We probably didn’t go to the restaurant. Not sure if we would have been allowed to back then. Anyway, I’m really trying to confirm that these were actual memories and not some mix of memories and fantasy. Does anyone have pictures of the park from the 80s? I would love to see what I’m picturing in my head.

  21. Gerald
    | Reply

    Hi Najmia,
    No you are not hallucinating it was the Tropicale Restaurant situated within Albert Park. Albert Park was probably the biggest open park space in the city at the time. It had a big cricket oval in the middle with a concrete stand to the left of the Tropicale Restaurant. You entered Albert Park via two large white gate posts and swung right to the Tropicale car park area. People were served in their cars and it was very popular. The raised freeway was the interchange that led to the Southern Freeway as well as the entry point for traffic coming from town, the Esplanade and down Moore Road. Sadly this part of Durban has now become rather run down and rather unsafe. The Tropicale as far as I know is now closed and the park is inhabited by vagrants. Perhaps if you google Tropicale you may come across a picture.

    If anyone can help with a picture for Najmia please reply in a post and I will contact you, Gerald

  22. Paul Maynes
    | Reply

    Wow what a walk down memory lane,
    The Tropicale was also a place my folks took us for the Hamburger and chips and “Double Thick Chocolate” Milkshakes. We also had food out in the cars, perhaps the restaurant was costlier.
    My gran lived in a 4 story walk up block of flats in St George’s streets and when we visited, we would get donuts and French long loaf or round bread from C’est le Bon bakery, the smell of newly baked goodies I can fondly remember even now 50 years later. My Aunt Elenor and Husband Barry lived in the “mirror image” flats backing onto my Grans

  23. Bruce Liddell
    | Reply

    While living Maritzburg (and petrol being affordable!), Lin and I often used to drive down for a walk on the beach (yes, it was safe then..), but a visit to Durban was incomplete without a treat from the Tropicale menu. We were never disappointed with the fare. Tasty, generous portions got us back every time!

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