Get it while it’s hot: Durban curries to try right now

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Whether you like yours extra hot from a tiny little takeaway spot or served as a thali at that home-style restaurant in your ‘hood, curries play a big role in the melting pot that is Durban’s culinary culture, and are best shared around a table with family and friends. From garam masala-rich north-Indian curries mopped up with garlicky naan to tamarind-laced dishes of the south and a sauce-soaking bunny chow, here’s where to get your curry fix in Durban.

Cane Cutters (Glenwood)

This little spot is probably most popular for its bunny chows. (It won the Durban Coca-Cola Bunny Chow Barometer Competition). Have yours filled with the deluxe boneless mutton. If you’re not a bunny lover, go for a curry roti roll filled with everything from sugar-bean curry to butter chicken or chicken and prawns.

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Impulse by the Sea (Tinley Manor)

The name of the game here is spectacular Durban-style curry – it’s no wonder this family-run restaurant has been going for nearly 30 years. A vast menu features exceptional piping-hot samoosas, fish of the day with a mouth-puckering tamarind sauce, and delicious butter chicken in a flavoursome tomato gravy with a swirl of coconut milk. The chef’s signature prawn curry is brilliant – order it hot, if you can handle it. All curries are served in beautiful copper pots with sides of spiced rice, sambals and poppadoms. (Yes, they do a good bunny chow, too.)

Indian Summer (Glenashley)

Chef-patron Anand Pacholy delivers a North- and South-Indian culinary experience at this popular Glenashley spot. Mumbai-style street food starters kick things off with dishes like potato samoosas, deep-fried paneer cheese in batter and Malai kababs (grilled chicken marinated in cream cheese, cashew nuts and a ginger-garlic paste). On the curry front, the chicken korma, vindaloo and lamb Rogan josh are great choices. Mop these up with some hot butter naans or super thin and light rotis. Pro tip: Grab a batch of extra rotis to freeze at home for your next curry party.

Curries with rice at Indian Summer

Curries with rice at Indian Summer. Photo supplied.

Mali’s Indian Restaurant (Morningside)

Located in a small house in Morningside, Mali’s embraces traditional South Indian cuisine, which is typically more aromatic than northern cuisine and features a good offering of vegetarian food. Masala dosa, gobi cauliflower and incredible mushroom Manchurian are solid ways to start things off. Curries come made to share, served in little copper pots paired with tasty jeera rice. The chicken tikka masala is a hit, and the pepper fry lamb and Chettinad curries both supply a good dose of heat. Vegetarians will be pleased with the satisfying sweet and savoury palak paneer. Finish up with warm and comforting sooji (a semolina dessert).

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Palki Indian Restaurant (Berea)

The signature dishes here showcase North- and South-Indian cuisine as well as a mix of Indo-Chinese dishes. The dosa pancakes are crisp and delicious, coming with coconut chutney and sambar. If you can’t decide what to start with, the veggie platter comes laden with everything from brinjal pakora and samoosas to paneer tikka and onion bhaji. For mains, the madras chilli prawn masala is a winner, as is the chicken tikka masala. Both are best mopped up with butter naan and basmati rice.

Panaji (Durban North)

Diners will find homely and delicious Durban-style curries at this modest little restaurant and takeaway spot. The menu includes a wide range of dishes, including kormas, vindaloos, rogan josh and Goan curries. Try the designer bunny chow with added paneer cheese, comforting butter chicken with fresh cream and cashew nuts, or spicy madras curry with mutton. Curries can be ordered according to your tolerance for spice, from subtle and mild to extra hot.

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The Snack Bar (South Beach)

Durban’s popular Indian market, Spice Emporium, doesn’t only specialise in fragrant spice blends and your curry-cooking needs. The Snack Bar is the adjoining vegetarian eatery that offers Mumbai-style veggie-friendly street food. Kick off with bites like homemade paneer-stuffed sandwiches, mini Indian burgers (vada pav) or vegetable biryani with crisp hollow puris filled with potatoes and chickpeas. Follow this with Bombay pav bhaji (a tomato- and potato-based curry served with a fluffy pan-grilled pav bread roll).

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