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Top-notch seafood and beach views at Umdloti gem, SandBar – reviewed

Seafood combos, fresh sushi and damn good ribs is what keeps locals coming back to SandBar. Eat Out critic Nikita Buxton heads north of the city for a Durbs-style lazy lunch.

Fast facts

Best for: Sea views and cocktails with friends
Food type: Seafood and grills
Cost: R150 average main course
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 4; Service: 3; Ambience: 4

The beachy interior at SandBar. Photo by Nikita Buxton

Food

The food at SandBar is fresh and simple; everything you want in relaxed dining. Kick things off with mussels served in a fragrant Thai-style coconut sauce or the spicy creamy peri-peri chicken livers. If you prefer to start on something light, the sushi here is super fresh and well-prepared.

For mains, don’t miss out on the fish and chips. It’s of legendary status and comes with a hearty two-piece portion of battered hake with some of the best chunky chips around. The grilled baby calamari and queen prawn combo is perfectly cooked. You won’t regret ordering it with a hit of peri-peri sauce that leaves just enough on the plate for your chip-dunking pleasure.

The calamari and prawn combo at SandBar. Photo by Nikita Buxton

Grilled dorado with garlic, chilli and pineapple is refreshing and well-cooked; while the seared tuna is portioned a touch on the thick side, which leaves for a slightly underdone centre. The soya reduction is tasty, though.

If you’re after meat, you’d be remiss if you don’t order the pork loin ribs. The individually cut portions are grilled and cooked in a sticky and moreish secret sauce. It’s messy and satisfyingly so.

The sticky ribs at SandBar. Photo supplied.

The dessert list is short but, if there’s space, end on sticky toffee pud. Else order another portion of chips and be done with it.

Drinks

The drinks list features everything from local craft beers to a decent selection of wines, with both easy quaffers and more special bottles. If the sun is shining, sip on one of the many cocktails. The Happy as Larry cocktail features 031 Naartjie & Rooibos gin, ginger syrup and lime, and is topped off with soda.

Service

Friendly and laid-back in true Durban style.

The beach views from SandBar in Umdloti. Photo supplied.

Ambience

The setting is airy and beach-themed. The quirky bar is adorned in Durban-esque knick-knacks while the dining area is all hues of blues and white. A wall of distressed mirror cheerfully reflects the bright blue ocean views. If you’d prefer fresh air, the outdoor deck offers a few shaded tables.

And…

Head here for their Beach House Sessions on Saturdays from 4pm to 7pm, when there’s live music and flowing gin cocktails.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.

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