Holding a well-earned reputation for being among the top buffets in Durban, Lingela Restaurant is a favourite with both hotel guests and locals, and offers patrons the opportunity to interact with the chefs working behind the counters.
Buffets are geared towards accommodating everyone’s tastes and this restaurant idyllically matches that requirement. While the menu is heavy on meat and seafood dishes, vegetarians are not without substantial options – from building their own salads from salad buffet section to the various vegetable dishes available with the roasts and at least one curry option.
The cover price appears expensive until experiencing the variety – fresh mussels in their shells, plump prawns dipped in garlic and lemon butter, perfectly trimmed calamari steaks and sea-salty fresh fish are prepared in front of patrons and presented to their preference. The beef steaks and lamb chops are seared and grilled while you wait and the roast meat dishes (typically two or three different ones at any given time) are sliced on demand. Roast potatoes and an assortment of succulent, perfectly cooked vegetables complete that section of the buffet choices.
Being Durban, the curry buffet selection alone is worth the return visit and – presented in traditional copper serving dishes – commonly features a vegetarian, breyani (vegetarian, chicken or beef depending on the day), mutton/lamb curry and possibly a butter chicken curry. Rotis and the full gambit of sambals and various chutneys provide the full Indian food experience, whether accommodating local or international palates.
The sweets table groans under the weight of its options. There’s a chocolate fountain dripping with liquid chocolate, to be used on marshmallows or freshly cut slices of fruit; a Christmas-worthy trifle; gateaux in multiple flavours; and chocolate éclairs.
The wine list is comprehensive with acceptable mark-ups, while non-wine drinkers have the full array of South African beers and spirits from which to choose.
While friendly, service needs some attention. There are no problems with front-of-house or the chefs preparing and carving dishes behind the buffet counter, but staff working on the floors need to ensure plates are swiftly cleared away and cutlery replaced.
The restaurant is welcoming with its combination of dark wood and bright mirrors. The lighting is dimmed for additional atmosphere, but there’s no escaping that this is a hotel restaurant in a double-volume room. The constant movement of patrons between their tables and the buffet eliminates this as a romantic venue.
Satisfying the demands of a large group.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
One word of warning before you set foot at Lingela...arrive hungry and be prepared to be blown away with THE BEST buffet spread in KZN. Prawns on skewers, fresh fish, braaied meats, decadent curries and lots and lots more. The thing is that the food is delicious & will keep you going back for more. Let’s not get started with the desserts, that is another story itself. Prepare to be mesmerized as Lingela lives up to the hype!
The reputation as the best buffet in Durban, Lingela at Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani is most definitely well earned. From the booking with special instructions online through to the final impression, I must applaud this well managed establishment.
Arriving early before the crowd descends allows one to fully take in this beautiful, well orchestrated gem in local service and cuisine. One gets to see the entire setup as the stage is set for an awesome experience in the finest buffet in Durban, in my opinion at least. The maître d’ on hand is superb in his hospitality and most accommodating.
The anticipation of the delectable dishes one sees in the online images pales to the actual experience of vibrant colours and wide array of dishes on offer to devour at one’s whim. Seafood lovers are spoiled for choice by the variety and added bonus of inviting diners to interact with the chefs who prepare dishes as per your specifications right before you. A rare treat in buffet offerings indeed. The experience of watching these masters work their magic up close and personal certainly adds to the entire experience. Whilst the aromas bring mouth watering expectations of the fresh seafood being prepared.
The assortment of starters, breads and savouries are plentiful, accompanied by well trained ever present eager staff to assist you. Our waiter was professionally attentive without being overly intrusive and this certainly adds to the awesome experience. Of the various curries on offer the Durban Lamb Curry and Chicken and Prawn Curry were equally superb in taste and texture. Our unanimous vote of excellence for the best grilled steak in Durban with delicious grill basting rivals any steakhouse offering.
From the cheeses and breads to the refreshing drinks and ice cream station packed with a variety of toppings one is certainly spoiled for choice. The carvery boasts Roast leg of Karoo lamb with mint sauce, Roast Chicken with cranberry sauce as well as Roast Beef with horseradish.
We were equally delighted at the puddings and dessert buffet offerings. A selection of gateaux, tartlets, mousses and by far the best chocolate brownies ever that are gooey, soft and melt in the mouth with big chunks of peppermint crisp certainly was a cherry on the top. The memorable delight of seeing mother’s twinkle in her eye as the waiter surprised her with a special birthday cake to celebrate her birthday made the occasion all the more noteworthy. I salute staff and management for our outstanding customer service experience.
My wife and I visited this restaurant 3 months ago and we were actually pleased with the food, yes the que is extremely long and I am sure they can make another plan, long ques are one way of keeping people from eating a lot, the price should be reduced, there should be some light or live entertainment, overall I will go back
This buffet has fairly good tasting food. The queues are far too long and has no relaxed vibe or even soft background music, you listen to sounds of spoons and plates the whole night. I am writing this review as a warning to anyone considering trying this place out. I went there with my partner two days ago for our anniversary and we have been experiencing diarrhoea literally hours after eating there. I am very upset because we paid almost R300 each (which I think is very overpriced) only to go home and have upset stomachs because of the quality of food eaten there. I urge anyone who wants to go there to STAY AWAY unless you want to spend most of the hours in your day moaning in pain in the toilet because of your runny tummy. The Maharani Elangeni Buffetl should go under proper evaluation because it gives the hotel a bad name, as a classy woman I expect a classy clean meal from a hotel that even has a reputation. I am very disappointed and appalled!!! I will make sure everyone gets to know the after effects of this buffet because my partner and I suffered terribly because of the bad food there.
My favourite restaurant. Everything is special about it. Awesome food and service. Lingela is the perfect place for that special person.