Venues

Capsicum Restaurant at the Britannia Hotel

Capsicum Restaurant at the Britannia Hotel
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Cost
R60 avg main meal
Ambience
Coffee, Groups, Local cuisine
Food
Cape Malay, Indian, Middle Eastern, Seafood, South African, Vegetarian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R30

Critic's review

Nicola Jenvey

Food

The Britannia Hotel’s Capsicum Restaurant is renowned for its mutton bunny chows and the take-away kitchen sells literally thousands of this signature Durban street food every month. Overall the restaurant pays homage to the city’s Indian cuisine and starters include fish cakes, chicken livers, puri patha rolls, and samoosas with the full range of meat and vegetable fillings. Patrons can also order vegetarian or meat-based starter platters.

Curries dominate the mains and cross the gambit from chops to fish roe, chicken and prawn, crab, tripe, trotters and homemade Mexican prawns. A handful of dishes come with a medium option, but most are served exceptionally hot, so be warned if chilli is not your forte.

The seafood curries are SQ, but reasonably priced and worth the 30-45 minute wait – these dishes are prepared fresh when ordered. All curries are served with rice or bread and rotis. Naan bread can be ordered as an extra.

Other dishes include toasted sandwiches with cheese and tomato or chicken and mayonnaise fillings, as well as more heartier options like broad beans, sugar beans or mutton curry. Roti rolls also feature, with fillings mimicking the toasted sandwiches and curries, but also including another Durban staple – chips and cheese.

Desserts reflect Durban’s cross-cultural dining experiences with chocolate brownies, red velvet cake, malva pudding or vanilla ice cream appealing to those not accustomed to Indian after-dinner delights. For those wanting to end their meal with more traditional fare, there’s soji (semolina fried in butter, cooked with special ingredients and served with cream and almonds) and burfee (Indian sweetmeats) ice cream.

A children’s menu caters for the younger set, while minimal breakfast options feature a bowl of Cornflakes and various egg dishes.

Drinks

There is a very poor wine list dominated by Distell products, but beer on tap as well as cooldrinks, coffees, teas and brightly coloured milkshakes are all available. Beer tends to match better with curry anyway.

Service

Service can be erratic. Sometimes tables aren’t cleared and food takes a noticeable time to come from the kitchen. Several patrons have also complained about poor service and rudeness, but that was not a personal experience.

Ambience

There are no airs or graces here, with the Britannia Hotel being unashamedly a working person’s venue. The main dining room can be cramped when busy and the smoking dining room is dominated by a large-screen television for showing sports. None of this detracts from the experience.

And…
Eat with your hands. That is the traditional way for eating Indian curries and cuisine. You’d be in the minority not to personally embrace this wholly sensual experience.

(October 2017)

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

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  • Trushka Soni

    Food
    This popular and bustling Durban eatery is famous for their curries. Despite the fact that there isn’t anything spectacular about the service or food presentation, it has grown to be a popular spot for many Durbanites and out of town visitors who want to get a taste of real Durban style curry.

    Choose from a wide variety of starters. The cheese and sweetcorn samoosas are served hot and crispy; the rich and melted cheese breaks out at first bite. The starter fish cakes mixed with green chilli and onion don't pack enough of a punch, though.

    Curries are the specialty at this restaurant. Go for the mutton curry – a lovely blend of curry spices, in tomato-based gravy with ginger and garlic, and enjoy it in a bunny chow or with rice. The tripe curry is also worth trying, braised in a mixture of ground fennel and cumin, fresh ginger and garlic and cooked in a garam dhall mixture. It’s quite a spicy option but definitely tasty. Other good options include traditional spicy beans cooked in a thick curry gravy or cornish chicken curry, tougher in texture but delicious in flavour. The homemade Mexican prawn was not a favourite, as the tomato chutney was too overpowering for the prawns, which was slightly overcooked.

    For a sweet ending, try the burfee ice-cream, Bombay crush or the Swiss carrot cake.

    Drinks
    Choose from a plentiful selection of coffees, cocktails or double thick shakes.

    Service
    Service is pleasant enough, but tables are left unattended and food can take a while to come out of the kitchen.

    Ambience
    The restaurant has a nice home dining room feel but that means it can be a bit cramped when busy.

    And…
    If you feel like enjoying their fare at home, the convenient takeaway section is ideal.

    (September 2016)

    Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

  • Shirley Berko

    Food
    This is one of Durban’s curry hot spots – literally. Their curries, biryanis and bunny chows are legendary. Durban’s unique cuisine style is represented here, with traditional dishes on the menu such as fish roe, trotters and tripe curries and bunnies mixed in with the seemingly more conventional Indian-style fare that is enjoyed north of the Umgeni River. The chicken and prawn curry begs to be tried. Indulge in tender chicken pieces, mixed with deshelled prawns, smothered in a rich, not overly spicy and slightly sweet tomato curry gravy. The presentation is nothing spectacular, but this isn’t about fine dining, it’s all about the curry. The slow-cooked deboned mutton curry has much more of a kick, for those who love a bit of burn, and delivers a robust meaty stew that overpowers the usual strong gamy flavour of mutton. They have the range of meaty and vegetarian bunnies, served with a large dollop of gravy inside and generous helping of meat or veg. Capsicum is the KZN comfort food favourite and has deservedly earned the hotel and restaurant legions of fans.

    Drinks
    Wines and beers are available, as well a variety of virgin and alcoholic cocktails, milkshakes and more traditional-inspired drinks like the Bombay crush and chai teas and lattes.

    Service
    Ask for Danny. He greets diners with an enthusiastic, “Welcome aboard the Britannia!” and then busies himself with ensuring that every request is taken care of, at least eventually. Food can take some time to prepare, especially if you order the chicken and prawn curry (“30 minutes!” warned Danny), but we were prepared for it, so we grazed on a platter of samosas, puri patha and rissoles.

    Ambience
    The Britannia building itself is nearly 150 years old, but there is almost no evidence of that in the interior. Glass-top tables, wood panel dividers and high-gloss tiled floors form the setup. The patrons are mostly devoted locals, interspersed with some tourists. You will cause eyebrows to be raised, justifiably, if you start asking for everything to be served mild.

    And…
    It may be in a bit of a dubious location, an industrial locale butting up to the Umgeni/Springfield overpass, with trucks and busses shuddering past, but there are security guards installed and inside, and the building is in complete contrast to the environment outside. It’s a clean and glossy interior and offers a polished oasis amidst the gritty cement landscape outdoors.

  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    The highlight of the menu is Durban curries. You could opt to start your meal with tasty samoosas or puri and patha, but most regulars choose to get on with the main task at hand. Authentic curries are served unpretentiously in rotis, bunny chows or with rice, and they offer many vegetarian alternatives. More exotic choices include the delicious tripe version, trotters or fish roe curry. Of the run-of-the-mill options, try the curries made with mutton or chops, and the fish when available.

    Drinks
    Tried-and-tested wines make up the perfunctory but pleasant enough list of quaffable varieties that won’t break the bank. Alternatively, wash your curry down with a beer.

    Service
    The service is in complete harmony with the surroundings. Pleasantries and basic etiquette are observed by a team of mostly alert waiters who are familiar with the menu.

    Ambience
    Don’t judge a book by its cover. The hotel’s modest exterior, combined with its location in a light industrial area, should not deter you. The interior has been given a modern overhaul with high gloss tiles, and the restaurant’s neutral colour palette translates into dark wood tables with generously upholstered or leather chairs and over-sized chandeliers. Diners preferring a casual dining experience should rather opt for the no-frills-no-fuss dining room alongside the bar.

    And…
    If you can’t linger, be sure to pop in for take-away.

    (July 2014)

  • Durban curries in various guises and generous portions, like mutton curry on the bone with rich gravy; tender, flavourful tripe; and chicken and prawns. The restaurant is clearly recession-proof as busy lunchtime trade includes everyone from business people to tourists. (EO mag 2014)

User reviews

  • On Sunday (4 March 2018) my boyfriend, two friends and I decided to go for lunch and try out Capiscium Restaurant at the Britannia Hotel in Umgeni Road. My boyfriend and his friend chose to go to Capiscium because they wanted to have their chops chutney as it was well recommended to them. The service was less than poor as we waited for almost 45 minutes for our cool drinks to be served, however the table of 8 next to us (who arrived about 10 minutes later than us)received their orders within 10 minutes of ordering them ( from the same waitress as we had). When the food finally arrived ( about an hour later, well after the table of 8 finished their dessert) my boyfriend looked at the chops chutney and stated that it's under cooked and there was a water base at the top of the chutney (questionable if it was freshly made or reheated or just under cooked). My boyfriend tried a chop, and gave me a chop to taste. The chutney was extremely sour and had no flavor in it whatsoever. We called our waitress and told her to take it away because we refuse to pay for it because it tasted awful. When the bill arrived the chops chutney was charged to the bill so my boyfriend told them that he refuses to pay for it because he barley ate any of it and it really was not upto any restaurant standard. There was a long back and forth where the hostess came to our table and told us that she would see what they could do. 15 minutes later we received a bill and were charged R70 (half the price of the chops chutney) and their reasoning was because they serve 6 chops per serving and they will charge for the two chops which were eaten. We took the problem up with the manager who told us :1) No body else complained about the chops and that's the way they make it there and 2.) if we don't pay then our waitress would have to pay the R70. After arguing with the manager for 15 minutes we backed down, paid and left and will never return again.
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  • If it was not for the food, I would never return to this place, as the service is very bad.
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  • Most delicious meals - flavours that are tasty and leave you wanting more, absolutely loved the Chops Chutney, Fish Roe Curry, Chicken Bunnies and Mutton Bunnies, looking forward to tasting more dishes on the menu
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  • I ordered the mutton biryani and considered the meal pricey. However the food was absolutely delicious and made my day! The meat was of a good quality and I will return for a great mutton biryani meal.
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  • I sat at the open restaurant, The mutton bunny was a joke. The bread was not fresh, the curry oily , and the pieces of meat , bony and fatty. Somebody needs to teach this restaurant how to cook and serve a mutton bunny, they have no clue.

    I called the waiter and complained about the food. He mentioned that this is what the restaurant called a "special mutton" and simply walked away. Will not go to this place again. I will only spoil your day.
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  • I was totally disappointed - the tables were too close - I expected to wait for service as i had already read about it - 100% true. The food was served one person at a time and one plate had to be reheated. it took 40 mins for a round of drinks to arrive. the take away for me was special as i only found out later that the prawn chutney for R95 was short 2 of the promised 10. The tables were not numbered to assist the waiters as they were quite lost. Tried calling them no answer.
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  • What struck me most about this restaurant is that everything on offer tastes so freshly cooked. How they manage this with so many dishes to choose from is amazing.

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  • If you're looking for the best muttion bunny, then Britannia is the place to be...

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  • Please advise if the restaurant is halaal. Thanks.

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  • Had the mutton bunny, and it was so good that I couldn’t finish my meal. Was very impressed that the food at Britannia is a fusion of smell, taste and touch. You will never find the bread soggy and listless, as they dont cater for volume, but rather for quality, thus making them a prominent restaurant set to encompass the true meaning of a Durban bunny chow. Well done.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Booking required
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Hotel
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • WiFi

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