Dear All Just had the most horrible fish and chips this afternoon. (28th November 2014) at the The Ocean Terrace The Oyster Box Hotel. The three of us ordered fish and chips but the thick hake pieces was cold and not cooked through. The only 2 things that was nice was the chips and salad they sent with it. It is bad to pay R155 for a plate of chips and you cant even have a decent piece of fish to go with it. Please be so kind as to take this matter up with your kitchen staff as they didn't check the fish before serving it to the hotel and outside hotel guests. Regards Johan le Roux
Ambience★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Service★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Food★ ★ ★ ★ ★
There are very few times in life when I find myself giggling with delight for any length of time at all. Our visit to the Oyster Box Hotel’s Ocean Terrace restaurant had me in stitches of pure joy. This was my first visit to the little town of Umhlanga, just North of Durban City. A smart little drive from our B&B took us practically side by side with the shoreline to the prettiest little town I’ve seen since Knysna. And then we did it, we got lost. Something this amusingly special you can only expect from someone who actually lives in a small town. I mean really, how does that happen in a modern age, with GPS and everything? It happens when your GPS reckons that your hotel destination is in fact a block away in a shopping centre parking lot. Oh dear. Fortunately for us, Umhlanga is really quite a small town, so a block later we found our destination: The Oyster Box Hotel.
You know you’re in for a fabulously indulgent afternoon when the staff at the security boom and his colleagues in the parking area are all wearing matching khaki short uniforms, Livingstone safari style hats and little red carnations tucked in their name tags. Oh my. Directed to our parking by no less than three attendants similarly attired. So we took a moment to sit in the car and figure out if it would be appropriate to find a spot for hubby to have a smoke, or if we should just hide in the car and have a puff there before mincing in through the red carpet adorned wood swing door entrance of the hotel. We opted out of hiding, since we are adventurers at heart after all (Livingstone himself would have approved), and were directed to the Chukka Bar by one of the three bellhops.
There are a few things I really do love, and one of them is a beautiful colonial style smoking room. And this is where we ended up. Leather seating, wood panel, Polo sport adorned walls and a most friendly bar tender concerned with our every well being. We were a bit sorry to have to leave the Chukka Bar, but our reservation time was approaching, and I hate to be late, so off we went to the red carpet entrance to the hotel.
The décor inside the Oyster Box hotel is luxurious combination of colonial beauty filled with flowers, curved lines, polish and sparkle with reflective surfaces and light that dances from windows and exquisite chandeliers. The Ocean Terrace itself is a spacious seating area filled with classy pure white wicker garden furniture with green accent cushioning. Not a very private setting unless you are able to get one of the booths. We were told by our servers that the hotel was opened in 1947 and was also recently revamped. The original tile details are the only thing that remain of the old Hotel, a lovely sentiment.
Service at the Oyster Box Hotel and the Ocean Terrace is deserving of its five stars. Our booking was not only confirmed by email but we also received a phone call that morning final confirmation for our booking. I liked that. I suppose that some may find that annoying, I, however, appreciated the effort and was glad that we were all on the same page and that our trip, detour and all, was on track.
Our server was not only knowledgeable about the menu, but about Durban cuisine in general. I related a story to him about a “curry joint” my dad had taken us to as children and have been unable to find. Our server was able to give me the name of the place and informed me that sadly it had closed many years ago.
At least we can say that although my childhood curry experience has now made way for a new favourite. The Curry Buffet at the Ocean Terrace is incredibly popular. Set out at the far end of the terrace, the curries on offer include a number of vegetarian options (lentil, bean and chickpea), chicken, lamb, mutton, beef, and right at the very end, stands the King of Curries: The Beef Vindaloo. R250 per person for this lunch, I would highly recommend that you come hungry.
The menu at the Oyster box Ocean Terrace sports a lovely variety to suite almost any palette. Since we had a dinner arrangement later that evening we decided to be frugal with the tummy space and order a light lunch. Hubby took on Fettuccini pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce.
I was incredibly tempted to try the Curry buffet. After telling the dad curry story, I just wanted to sample everything and the curry buffet really offered me a chance to sample each and every one at a very reasonable price. But, as I said before, we had arrangements and I needed to think with my head and not my taste buds, so I opted for their homemade Durban Bunny Chow and requested that they give me a hot curry. The irony does not escape me that we went to the fanciest hotel on our list and I order the messiest dish available. I will withhold further comment about that albeit to say that I managed to be the neatest bunny eater in the world that afternoon!
Tender, tender, tender meat, aromatic spices and enough chilli to lull me into a false sense of security for at least half the bunny. Once I reached the middle of the bunny, I am pretty sure I lost my vision for a few minutes before regaining it, giggling some more with utter delight at the best bunny I’ve had in years.
The menu does also include a small, but unusual milkshake menu, including a nutter butter milkshake which sounded delicious. I was just so sorry my stomach wasn’t big enough and the waiter informed us that there were no spare stomachs available. Ce la vie.
All in all, The Oyster Box Ocean Terrace restaurant was the absolute highlight of our stay. We had such a good time, enjoyed the food, the service, the atmosphere. If you ever want to spend an afternoon lunch in Durban, try the Ocean Terrace. You’ll be delighted.
Ambience★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Service★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Food★ ★ ★ ★ ★
MenuSet menu - Ocean Terrace - Sample Main Menu - updated in August 2015
- Accepts credit cards
- Beer served
- Child friendly
- Serves food