If you’ve driven through the beachfront over the last few months, you would have probably noticed the friendly faces gathering outside a quaint wooden shed propped primely on the corner of South Beach Road and Margaret Bacon Avenue at Fairlight B&B.
On a scorching hot summer’s day in Umdloti, Bruce and Michele Deeb, owners of a familiar and firm favourite, Fairlight B&B, sat down with me under an umbrella with a decadent iced coffee.
We discussed the long history of the oldest dwelling in Umdloti and, of course, the new hotspot that was propped up on their block. Dating back to the 1890s, Bruce’s late great-uncle, Squire Bacon, bought five hectares of land in Umdloti for just £3. “He hadn’t seen the land, but he had heard that there was a beach in Umdloti that had opened,” Bruce explains.
Years went by before Squire, and his family visited his land. When he arrived, he decided that he was going to build the first dwelling in Umdloti – which is now what we know as the infamous exquisite Fairlight B&B. Years later, Bruce and Michele, who inherited the property, have created an extraordinary space for family, friends, and visitors from far and wide to enjoy the iconic space. I was curious about how they came up with the name Fairlight, and Bruce points out the sea’s horizon and nostalgically recalls, “Well, the story goes, from Mozambique to Port Natal, this used to be a shipping lane for trade. A small steamboat would come past just behind the backline, and they would blow their horn because this was the first site in Umdloti, and apparently, the boat was called Fairlight”. You can spot a beautifully painted mural at the entrance to Fairlight inspired by the very vessel that their home was named after.
It’s time I introduce and cue Colin Deeb and Giordano Bellusci. Best friends and fervent lovers of coffee decided that one day it would be a neat idea to create their own slice of paradise trading something as simple as coffee at, without a doubt, the most iconic home in Umdloti. So they merged their love and passion for coffee and their worldly knowledge and conceptualized an uncomplicated yet highly effective coffee shop for caffeine seekers to frequent on their morning walks, visits to the beach or slow afternoons that need a pick me up.
“These two young entrepreneurs decided that it would be a good idea, unbeknownst to us, to erect a wooden shed that represents the original home on our land,” Bruce laughs as he reminisces.
When they were 50% complete with the infrastructure, Colin went to his father Bruce and said, “I haven’t shown mom yet – however, we’re putting this prefab hut in the bottom corner of the garden, and we’re going to be selling coffee”. Bruce goes on to tell me, “We didn’t even notice that it was there or let alone what it was. I think my Michele thought it was a tool shed going up,” he chuckles. “I soon realized that they had chosen the perfect spot for a coffee shop. Before I knew it, Michele was on the corner planting trees and flowers, making the garden beautiful”, Bruce gushes.
Colin, being a lover of history, especially the history of his ancestral ties to his home, came up with the name Doloras for their shop. And truthfully, the name is really just something so unique and special. They took the names of Bruce’s late parents: Thora and Dolla, and combined them to make Doloras. You may have spotted their sweet logo, a silhouette drawing of an old iconic photograph of the couple at the top of their shed.
Visiting Doloras for a cuppa is truly a memorable experience. You can spot owners Giordano and Colin soaking up the sun, chatting and connecting with the locals and out-of-towners who have grown fond of Doloras and their mean brews. I was impressed with the “Pay It Forward” initiative that they started whereby you pay for your coffee (and for the next person who visits after you), and the cycle goes on and on – it’s pretty special if you ask me. Being lovers of the ocean and beach, they have also encouraged the locals to grab a rubbish bag to fill with trash, and in return, they will receive a free coffee for their efforts!
If you haven’t yet paid them a visit, I strongly suggest you do. You can truthfully taste the gusto they have for connecting people through coffee in each savouring sip. “The boys can be so proud of themselves. They have a lovely, successful little coffee shop, and I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us,” Bruce continues.
Photos: Luca Barausse