Durban is famous for its curries – but where can you find an authentic one? Tracy Gielink shares five of her favourite places to find the ultimate spicy dish, from the best bunny chow to classic Durban prawn curry and even a global curry buffet.
Capsicum Restaurant specialises in Durban curries that come in various guises and generous portions. Standouts are the mutton served on the bone in thick rich gravy, and the tender, intensely flavourful tripe option. Don’t be deterred by the hotel’s location, which belies the immaculate interior.
The heady aroma of curry guides you through the industrial surrounds and into Gounden’s canteen-style eatery for a working-class lunch. The repertoire includes fantastic versions of curry with mutton, chicken and chops. You can choose to have yours served with rice or roti but Durban’s very own culinary contribution, the bunny chow, is king here.
Impulse By The Sea is a family affair, from the hands-on owners to the curry recipes that have been handed down and are responsible for putting the restaurant on the map. The trademark dish is undoubtedly the Durban prawn curry. The mutton is also noteworthy; alternatively, get to grips with your food and order the crab.
Seabelle is a north-coast institution that has been tantalising taste buds for decades with its prawn curry, which does, in fact, justify the self-proclaimed ‘famous’ title. Additional seafood features strongly with crayfish and crab, but the mutton version is also notable. All accompaniments are charged for. The décor and service are delightfully simple.
The Oyster Box Hotel is renowned for its buffet that pleases the most discerning palates. Every day 11 different curries are served in the balmy, colonial-inspired Ocean Terrace. Unusually, the buffet is a global representation and includes a Singapore fish curry, butter chicken, the Durban staple of chicken and prawn, and the hotel’s time-honoured favourite, a Durban lamb curry. Also included are homemade pickles, chutneys, sambals, naan breads, papadums and rotis.