Venues

Mali’s Indian Restaurant

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  • Phone Number 031 312 8535
  • Location 77 Smiso Nkwanyana Road (Old Goble Road), Morningside, Durban
  • email info@malis.co.za
  • Website URL www.malis.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Mondays closed; Tuesday to Saturday 12.30pm to 3.30pm then 5.30pm to 10pm; Saundays 12.30pm to 3.30pm then 5.30pm to 9pm

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Cost
R80 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Coffee, Indian
Payment
Diners Club, Visa
Corkage
R40

Critic's review

Nicola Ashe

Food
Situated in old Durban house, which gives little away from the outside, Mali’s is a treat, from the minute you’re warmly greeted to the exceptional celebration of eastern cuisine on the menu.

The offering is vast and includes a range of both North and South Indian dishes, as well as some Indo-Chinese specialities, on which you can decide over a tasty snack of chickpeas, fried with mustard seeds.

Start off with the mushroom Manchurian, a spicy plate of deep-fried mushrooms coated in Chinese spices with a surprisingly delicious crunch. Meat and vegetarian options include a range of idli (a South Indian savoury cake), impressive large dosa pancakes served with a variety of fillings, or vadai, an interesting savoury doughnut, which is delicious served in sambhar, a lentil-based vegetable broth with a sneaky kick.

Luxurious chicken, lamb, vegetarian and seafood curries can be mopped up with a variety of Indian bread – the masala kulcha topped with sesame seeds is superb. If you can’t choose between the many curry, tandoori, biryani, rice or noodle dishes, order a thali. This South Indian array of dishes is served on a tray and kept warm on a burner at your table, solving some of that indecision problem, with portions of spicy vegetable soup, succulent lamb curry, flavourful butter chicken, dhal, naan bread and crispy papad, as well as sambals and yoghurt. It includes gulab jamun for dessert – a sublime deep-fried milk ball soaked in light syrup with a hint of rose water. Traditionally you’re supposed to use the tray to assemble all the main dishes and eat off it with your hands, but the waiters are prepared for amateurs and bring you a plate and cutlery.

Drinks
A small list of local beer and wine is available. Dessert drink options include lassis, Bombay crush and milkshakes.

Service
Waiters are patient and helpful with suggestions, making the meal relaxing and enjoyable. Servers are efficient and meals are served promptly.

Ambience
The dining room is cosy and simply decorated, but comfortable with a lively atmosphere most evenings.

And…
The Chettinad crab curry is the signature dish, but does require at least 24 hours notice when making a reservation.

(September 2016)

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

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  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    You’ll notice a brief flirtation with Indo-Chinese dishes but, given the exceptional South Indian fare and imported chefs, it makes sense to look further than that on the extensive menu. For starters, try one of the dosai that dominates the starter menu, like the paper one, which sees a deliciously thin, crispy pancake (rolled to resemble an oversized cigar) with a flavourful potato filling. Main courses include biryani and offer a diversity of vegetarian options. The Chettinad curries are their signature dishes and come with a dense, unctuous gravy that incorporates black pepper, red pepper, tamarind and curry leaf. The butter chicken is one of the most outstanding versions in town, and desserts incorporate sweet meats.

    Drinks
    A rudimentary ensemble of wines that all reside on the lower end of the price spectrum. Traditional lassis – mango, salt or sugar – are also available.

    Service
    Waiters are outnumbered by owners and manager-types who officiate over proceedings. From the friendly welcome at the door, right through the meal, there is a genuine sense of hospitality, offset with efficiency.

    Ambience
    Blue lights flicker merrily in the windows, alerting diners to the restaurant’s presence. Inside the converted house, sunshine yellow walls provide a happy background for traditional ornaments, artwork and generous wicker armchairs. Tables are bedecked in linen tablecloths, and retro fantailed serviettes demarcate each place setting.

    And…
    Make use of secure off-street parking behind the restaurant.

  • Paula Mackenzie

    Food
    This eatery offer a great example of South Indian cuisine and delicious flavours in a family-style environment. The large menu includes a number of vegetarian options. For starters, cauliflower marinated in spices gets the taste buds going, as does the fried paneer and marinated chickpeas with mustard seeds. South Indian specialties include vada (crispy Indian donut) and dosa, with the well-spiced dosa with mushroom curry being a particular highlight, and generous enough to satisfy even the biggest appetite. A dish of lamb chettinad with black pepper, coconut and tamarind paste is highly aromatic and goes wonderfully with their garlic naan. Further menu options include the usual popular suspects of butter chicken and kormas. Desserts are simple and quite sweet but perfectly executed.

    Drinks
    They don’t have a liquor licence, so bring your own. They do, however, make a great lime spritz.

    Service
    Welcoming. Not as refined as the food, but very warm.

    Ambience
    Regular guests are treated like family at this busy restaurant. It’s perfect for groups, as large tables can be set up. The décor is very simple.

    And…
    Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions; the owners love to give advice, and you won’t be disappointed by their recommendations.

    (July 2014)

User reviews

  • I noticed Mali's hasn't been reviewed on Eatout in two years, so maybe they have upped their game, because this was some of the best Indian I've had in SA and I've personally dined at all the top PTA, JHB and CPT Indian places. The ambience of the restaurant is very compact and homey, which suits the Indian style, so I have no complaints. Our food was also served in traditional copper bowls as expected, also very authentic and added to the experience as a whole. Our two waiters were friendly and very helpful, even when giving advice or answering questions about the dishes. We had the Butter Chicken and Chiken Chettinad, which were both simply perfect. Incredibly tasteful, yet not overpowering in any way, as many Indian places sometimes try to hard and kill the main ingredients. We ended off the meal with a very rare method of Sooji - made with carrot - it was truly Indian and absolutely to-die-for. Top Indian Cuisine!
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  • I have visited this place a few times, but had mixed experiences previously. However tonight crystallizes my feelings. I had the misfortune of trying to have dinner at this restaurant at 6 pm. I was informed that my kids were not welcome for dinner. So we went to our regular , child friendly and delicious choice Bombay Blue and we were not disappointed. So, my thoughts about this policy , relates to pure greed.The owner is quiet keen to maximize his profits from adult paying patrons! This policy would be palatable , if they provided a fine dining experience . The ex-"HARVEYS" decor and the glaring eyes behind the cash register do not make a fine adult evening. It is a pity , that good Indian chefs and their great cuisine is presented to us by mediocre service.
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  • Very mediocre. No depth of flavor. Restaurant is short staffed. Much better options no reason to return
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  • Best Indian restaurant Durban has to offer... Having eaten at all the Indian resturants in Durban, Malis is by far the best. The staff are very friendly and accommodating always recommending the best sellers... Trust me this will not disappoint. Having eaten Indian food in most parts of the world, I will definitely come back for more, Malis...
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  • The management needs to learn people skills. We would have put up with the mediocre food if the attitude from the management was a bit better. The comment made to our table was 'we are not a Spur type restaurant lady'. Don't call yourself a "family restaurant" if kids are not welcome.
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  • Had lunch at Mali yesterday, having been there twice previously. Sadly the portions were shockingly small mainly with the butter chicken main (R75). Six tiny pieces of chicken could not even be seen above the sauce when served. Flavours good, but not value for money. Will not return soon. First two visits were enjoyed with good food, good portions and pricing. But now pricing has increased and portions are disgraceful.
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  • Good food that is not your usual Indian cuisine. The Chinese dishes are also very good. The dragon chicken n the lamb noodles are very impressive. Good value for money as portions are quite big. The Indian curries will not disappoint. Very accommodating staff. Definitely my fav Indian restaurant in durban.
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  • While the service was great, unfortunately, the food was not as tasty as some of the Indian restaurants I have been too. The food is hot and does contain a lot of spices but there seems to be no depth to the flavour. Much of the seafood seems have been blanched, frozen and then added to a curry paste.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways

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