Food24 eats at... The Oyster Box in KZN

Chef Caro goes colonial with curry and things in warm Umhlanga.

by: Caro de Waal | 27 May 2010
Oyster box

The setting

Think grand, think colonial, picture sweeping sea views with a romantic lighthouse to boot. This is The Oyster Box, a ridiculously beautiful hotel set amidst the leaping sky-scraper apartments that is Umhlanga, just north of Durban. The funny thing is, you don’t even know you’re there, it feels like France or Italy or better still, Morocco, oozing exotic international fabulousness.

The food

We lunched at The Terrace which is the more casual of their restaurants. When the curry buffet was mentioned, the husbands tongue rolled out Roger rabbit-style and we simply had to try it.

I ordered à la carte and had a gorgeous calamari starter which was imaginatively spiked with a touch of plum sauce (R70) – really good. A linefish (dorado) main which was perfectly cooked on crushed potatoes with a lemony sauce (R130). Really fine finishes and better than I expected as other dishes on the menu include toasted sandwiches and pizzas.

The curry buffet (R195): top-notch as it impressed the curry connoisseur on my left and he was making all sorts of worrying passionate sounds. I tasted most of his seven different dishes but there were about 12 all in all. Delicious, fragrant, with some kick-you-in-the-ass ones that reminded us that we were close to the curry capital. I also very nearly stuffed some of the live-giving naan bread into my bag as it was so darn good. 

Check out the gallery of what we ate here.

The wine

A beautiful wine list that includes a fancy water list too. Wines by the glass start at R26 with something for everyone. A bottle starts at R95 so not for the tight wallet and there are some seriously eye-popping wines.

How about a bottle of Chateau Margaux '83 for R68 000 or perhaps a Chateau Lafite-Rothschild '86 for R60 000, any takers?

Price range

A la Carte: R55 for a soup to R120 for jazzed up oysters (they looked amazing), the mains range from R95 for traditional fish and chips to R240 for langoustines. Sandwiches and salads R75-R90 (which is way too steep in my book) and pizzas from R55-R95.

The curry buffet goes for R195 - not cheap but seriously beautiful and substantial, it's a grand experience for all curry-lovers.

If you want something more smarty-pants try their exquisite fine dining restaurant The Grill Room, that’s where I’m going next time I’m there.

Perfect for

A long lazy lunch with friends to watch the sea and life go by in a glorious setting with excellent food. See what other people have to say here.


- Caro de Waal

Read more on: chef  |  umhlanga  |  restaurant  |  eat

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