The Ocean Terrace at the Oyster Box Hotel

4 Reviews
Indian, Modern, South African
Phone Number 0315145000 Opening Hours Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Breakfast: Monday to Sunday 7am to 10.30am

Lunch: Monday to Sunday 12 noon to 3pm

Dinner: Monday to Sunday 6pm to 10.30pm

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R200 avg main meal
Indian, Modern, South African
R200 avg main meal
Groups, Kids, Special occasions, Views
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Accepts credit cards, Accommodation, Alfresco, Beer served, Breakfast, Child friendly, Cocktails, Dinner, Food, Hotel, Licensed, Lunch, Parking, Serves food, Vegetarian

Critic's review

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food

Nicola Jenvey

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.

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User reviews

4 Reviews
    Absolutely the Best Restaurant in Durban. It has the Best Service, Best Food, Best Atmosphere, & For Picture Taking Lovers the Sea View with a Lighthouse is just breath taking. This is a must visit when you in Durban. Booking is very Essential & you will never regret being at Ocean Terrece
    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
    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.

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