The Oyster Box Hotel is among a handful of five-star rated Durban hotels and the experience demonstrates why. The Ocean Terrace restaurant on the hotel veranda embraces a 180° view of the Indian Ocean, meaning it’s definitely not the right place for a swift in-and-out meal.
The breakfast buffet is unrivalled for its view and selection. The daily curry buffet tantalises local Durbanites seeking award-winning local cuisine and international guests who will depart as ambassadors for our curries, seafood and twists. Breakfast requires three hours to do it justice. The cover charge includes premium MCC and home-cured salmon. Entering the fray are comparatively bland seasonal fruits, cereals and cold meats, as well as cheeses, home-made breads, pastries and pancakes to-order. The hot breakfast embodies English breakfast classics – with twists including chicken tikka and spiced lamb shish kebabs. Potentially delivering the crème de la crème are the oysters – cultivated in The Oyster Box’s own facility. Request oysters and they are delivered to the table or refilled on the buffet. (You can even ask for more MCC to accompany them.)
The daily curry buffet is another gourmet feast – at least 11 curries are mouth-wateringly presented in silverware and surrounded by décor of fresh red and green chillies, star anise, garlic cloves and cinnamon sticks for sensory overload. Executive chef Kevin Joseph can lay out Singapore fish, chicken and prawn, butter chicken, beef vindaloo, Durban traditional lamb and traditional sugar bean curries. These are served with basmati rice, dhal, braised butternut, chickpea and feta, among others, and a comprehensive complement of condiments like lime-pickle dried apricots, peanut and mint raita, grated mango pickle and tamarind and a date chilli sauce.
If the preference is for light meals, The Terrace menu wholly covers Durban classics like salmon and line fish cakes, crumbed calamari, mussels, peri-peri prawns, bobotie spring rolls and a pukka lamb curry sandwich. Thin-based wood-fired pizzas and a wide-ranging sushi menu complete the options.
More substantial à la carte meals embrace the surf-and-turf with crayfish, prawns, langoustines and fresh fish served from the grill, and various meat dishes – sourced locally from the Durban North-based Merrivale Butchery – served with fries and roasted vegetables. Terrace specialities include seafood platters, rich oxtail and Durban bunny chow; while a separate dessert menu is the final temptation to time invested in this venue.
Note: Menus are neither Kosher nor Halaal.
The Oyster Box wine list has secured Diamond status annually since 2010 in the Diners Club Winelist of the Year Awards. The widespread collection includes local and international wines from Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Burgundy and Bordeaux. The list is structured according to grape varietal and region, criss-crossing the South African winelands in its spread and originality and there’s a sommelier on hand to assist with pairing. The gourmet milkshakes tease the imagination, with banoffee split, chocolate brownie, lemon meringue, strawberry cheesecake and milk tart variants. Other interesting drink options are fruit smoothies, green juice, pomegranate juice and fruit cocktails.
Service is impeccable, regardless of the level of interaction. Courtesy and professionalism reign supreme.
The Ocean Terrace encapsulates its name and surroundings. Looking out over the Indian Ocean while enjoying an outstanding meal inspires relaxation and hedonism. Ring the bell when you see whales or dolphins, but watch out for the monkeys eagerly waiting to snatch food off the tables.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.