Venues

Indian Summer

Indian Summer
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Cost
R70 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Kids, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Food
Indian, Seafood, Vegetarian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R35 per bottle

Critic's review

Shirley Berko

Food
Owner and chef Anand Pacholy hails direct from India, and the food served reflects the influences he has brought with him. The restaurant is well-entrenched in the community as the go-to for an authentic North and South Indian culinary experience. And it’s easy to tell why. Before delving into the rest of the food, the chaat menu beckons with appetiser options. Traditional cart food commonly found on the streets of Mumbai has been brought to Durban’s coast on this little menu. The pani puri, a deep-fried spicy ball of unleavened bread, comes with cold mint juice that is poured into it. The hot, crunchy kick of spice with a slosh of iced mint juice is an edible manifestation of Indian (and Durban) summers: hot, spicy, steamy, contrasted with a palate-cleansing sweet and cold refresher. Other options are the Punjabi somosa (the upright version of the regular Durban-variety), and a tasty braised potato dish called the phuri bhaji. The chaats mostly average about R22 and are worth getting a sharing platter of.

For mains, the vegetarian paneer makhani and dhal makhanis are renowned. While there are certainly other local spots in Durban that serve a good dhal makhani, the ones here are unrivalled in flavor. The paneer makhani is rich without being heavy, steeped with delicate spices and aromatics, and although creamy with either cashew nut for the paneer or actual cream in the dhal version, they don’t tip into overly sweet. The balance of light sweetness underpinning savoury maintains well, whilst others prepare these sauces in a manner that can be a little cloying. Instead its robust and satisfying in a way that even meat eaters will come back for more.

Meat options boast chicken and lamb sections. The chicken tikka masala can be a little salty, but the ckicken korma or vindaloo are excellent, especially mopped up with hot butter naans. The lamb dishes are the reverential winners. Lamb rogan josh, steeped in a spiced onion gravy, is a delicious copper bowl of happiness. Prawn options with similar gravies as offered for the chicken and lamb are also available, if seafood is your hankering. The dishes are offered in mild or hot, but even at its hottest, the spice never compromises the flavor. If you are looking to set your tongue alight, a more traditional Durban curry would suit better.

The gajar halwa, a North Indian carrot dessert, made with cardamom pods, nuts, sugar and milk, is a bowl of sweet-toothed happiness. Gulab jamun served with ice cream will do the trick if you're craving something rich and sweet. Soft spongey balls of dough, steeped in a sugary syrup are perfect with ice cream. The balls are served warm, and we are back to how we started the meal, a contrast of hot and cold.

Drinks
Soft drinks and house wines are available, but do give the Bombay Crush a go. A milky refresher with rose water, vermicelli and soobja seeds, it’s the perfect douser to spiced up palate.

Ambience
The establishment’s move a year ago from its previous home for 12 years in Sunningdale to its new spot in Glenashley has allowed it to expand in size. The décor, while still retaining the simple and unpretentious approach of the previous spot, has upped the ante a bit. The outdoor area faces the ocean, with even a bit of a lovely view! On a balmy evening, the best spot to sit at is out on the deck, which is open and airy.

Service
Everything is scratch-made and the menu warns that it can take up to 30 minutes to prepare a meal. On a busy night, it will take much longer. Waiters can forget to serve for a while, so order all your drinks as you sit. Fortunately, the food is worth the wait.

And...
The kitchen’s hot clay tandoor oven is where all the breads are made, nothing is defrosted and reheated. Coal-fire cooked naans, rotis, stuffed parathas and crispy dosas bake on order and its worth just ordering a bread basket to try a bit of everything.

(October 2017)

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  • Food
  • Beautifully spiced food. The minimalist interiors are brought to life by the happy regulars. Order one of their traditional Bombay chaats, a dosa (a light pancake with fillings) or one of their authentic curries, ranging from rogan josh and korma to Goan flavours. The vegetarian options are also notable, such as the chana masala (spicy chickpeas) and dhal makhani (rich and buttery lentil stew). (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    Forsake starters and treat your palate to traditional Bombay chaat (think tapas sold on Indian streets) or a dosa – a light, crispy pancake with various fillings. Authentic curries from rojan josh to korma and goan offer layers of seldom found, intricate spicing.

    Wine
    Functional and rather uninspired.

    Service
    A small team spearheaded by the owner maintains efficiency.

    Ambience
    The minimalist, rather stark interior is lifted by the happy locals who regularly converge here.

    And...
    Try the fantastic vegetarian options like chana masala and dhal makhani. (TG, September 2010)

User reviews

  • We love spicy food so often go Indian. When we were in umhloti in August this year? I asked my friend if she could recommend an Indian restaurant. She suggested Indian Summer. There was 6 of us that night. We shared a Doosa to start - which was light and delicious. We each ordered a different meal so we cpuld all share. I ordered yhe schzewan vegetable dish which was exceptional. We all tasted the others fishes - from the vegetarisn dishes, through to the fish masala and then the chicken tikka. Rach dish haf its own delights and charm. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meals and cant wait to get back next year to sample even more on their menu. Monica
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  • Eat out, please update your info on this excellent restaurant. It moved premises ages ago, to 35 Newport Avenue, Glenashley. Now has a wide-angle ocean view, spruced-up decor, much bigger kitchen. But charming owner Anand and friendly staff remain. And the food is as delicious as ever. (We could not disagree more with the unfavourable review which pops up first when you look up this restaurant on the internet on the Eat Out site.) perhaps it is time to relook at your entry. We lunched there yesterday with friends who live in the Cape and the UK, and they were thrilled with everything. The masala dosas are the best in town, the keema paratha outstanding, the various breads from the tandoor oven rather too good, and the dhal makhani a triumph. Two of our party had the prawn curry and both liked it very much. And it is incredibly reasonable. A gem of a place, unpretentious and always enjoyable.
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  • The absolute BEST meal we have EVER eaten out. Anand the owner was absolutely magnificent and the food was devine and he made us feel so extra special and his food was the best in the whole of SA. My husband and I will most definitely be back when we visit Durban again. All you Dubanites are most fortunate to have the Indian Summer Restuarant in your city. Yum Yum
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  • The main problem about this restaurant is the food. We ordered a Goan prawn curry which consisted of five miniscule prawns drowned in some tepid greenish liquid. It was absolutely tasteless. I've eaten Go an curries before and can state it is nothing like the original. We then ordered a lamb vindaloo that was again flavourless with absolutely no trace of spices which is the core of Indian cooking. The lame excuse was "this has always been been how we have made it". Presentation was terrible. What saved the day was a passable lamb briyani. The staff were polite and the place was clean. But that was about all that was acceptable. I'm definitely not coming back.
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  • The service is pathethic. One of the worst service in the Durban. The food is good. But the service is bad and the waiters are not courteous enough.
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  • Our favourite Indian cuisine restaurant! Every dish we have eaten there has gone beyond our expectations, and the friendly owner is always there to say hi and help us choose some options. Love it!
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  • I agree with Melisha! indian food should be rich with spices but NOT overpowering to the tastebuds! Furthermore, I saw the chefs from Indian Summer smoking cigarettes and asking the cigarettes out of the pavement around the corner (by the Spar) hoe unprofessional!!! Wonder if they even bothered to wash their hands..
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  • While waiting for my bill this evening the owner came out of the kitchen and started slapping and kicking his wife. Her reaction told me it is not the first time. I told him I would call the police and he arrogantly told me to go ahead. Please think twice before supporting such a pig!
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  • We have been there six times and out of that on three occassions we were turned away.
    Staff always seems to have some excuse for not to serve food, either its too early or too late or its too crowded.
    Last time we went at 8 30 on a saturday and the staff/owner refused to seat even when we were ok with waiting for 30 mins.

    Never going back again.
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  • Worst service in South Africa. Waited over an hour and a half for a takeout, only to get food poisoning. One of my worst culinary experiences of all time. Owner is an arrogant pig!!!
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  • Quite enthusiastically my wife and I went to eat at this place yesterday. Its business hours says 11:00 AM to 10 PM. We went at 11, and the owner was still sipping his tea outside (unshaven, with slippers). When we asked him what can he serve, he promptly said, most foods can be served only at 12:00.

    Question (by me): why write 11, when you can only serve at 12?
    Answer (by owner): The timings are correct, since we do start taking orders at 11.

    It seems the fellow (owner) does not have any sense of the value of time, and tried arrogantly to argue that he was correct. Shame!

    To add to that, while we sat around (since we had traveled a long distance) waiting for them to get ready, the staff was still cleaning (seeping and wiping the floor). Question again: Why say 11:00, or why dont come in and start preparing from 10:30?

    The furniture's we old and OK, but not a place I would like to sit and eat. So, we took a take out. The south Indian food was Fine, reasonably priced.

    Bottom line: The place will fare much better if he(owner) was punctual, and also allowed his other staff to interact. He thinks he is smart, but his workers seems more modest, clean (comeon - shave and come to your own store, and wear something decent and clean) and approachable. I will think twice about going and eating there again. The food is same as other Indian restaurants in Durban.
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  • excellent food….. best Indian food in Durban.
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  • Very friendly staff. Food is always tasty and consistent each time we went. Have been going there for the past 5 years. Definitely better value for money than the other Indian places in the area.

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  • 1 of the worst restaurants ever. The owner doesn't even have the manners to speak with his customers. Worst service. He exchanged my order with something else and was fighting over that instead of apologising.

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  • My favourite Indian restaurant. Excellent personalized service. And really delicious food at very reasonable prices.

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  • One of the worst food moments and service we have ever experienced. Had to wait for ages for the food to arrive. When it arrived, it was nowhere near to the dish it was supposed to be. The cook/owner or whoever the responsible person was overly egotistical, rude and non service oriented.

    Overall, a bad exprience with a capital 'B'

    These are of course my opinions from my own personal exprience, others may have been lucky.

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  • Best Indian food ever. Staff are friendly and helpful.

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  • Food is excellent....definitely value for money.
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  • Authentic Indian cuisine at reasonable prices!Wow, what a lunch. I was accompanied by family and friends in December and I was blown away with what we had. Everything was top-drawer - special mention to the prawn goan curry and the hotter varietals.Another restaurant that deserves local support !Ill be back soon!
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  • Hi, Indian Summer is a lovely place to be. It serves the best Indian food in South Africa. I recommend you go there once and you will surely become a regular visitor. The food is fantastic, the staff is courteous, and the ambience is cool. I loved this place, surely you will too.
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  • Im Indian and travel a lot, and this restaurant serves the best Indian food Ive ever tasted outside of India. It rocks!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

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