We’re not usually big fans of hotel restaurants but Ocean Terrace is listed at #7 on Tripadvisor’s list of 114 restaurants in Umhlanga. It had to be worth a try, not least as we were staying at the Oyster Box Hotel where it’s located. Not least as, in addition to their fairly extensive menu, they also have a curry buffet. Now, these can be tricky. Buffets are rarely top quality food but South Asian food seems to stand up to it better than some other cuisines. Here, it’s done very well.
The buffet was lacking starters so it was straight in to the main courses. There were about 10 dishes on offer – a good mix of vegetarian and non-veggie. Between the two of us, we managed to sample most of them – yes, one of us went back for extensive seconds having already had extensive firsts. Stand-outs were the “traditional Durban lamb curry” (tender meat, well rounded sauce), a butter bean curry, mixed vegetable curry (veg still retaining a little bite – not always a given with Asian food) and daal (a good chilli kick here)
There was a vast range of things to go with your curries – raitas, pickles, chutneys. And several bowls of dried fruit – apricots, raisins , etc – which were very reminiscent of Indian meals in the UK when folk started to eat it back in the 1970s. But the retro touch was nice. Rice, not pilau and palin boiled, was good with fluffy separate grains. And there’s chapattis and poppadums – the latter a bit greasy and not quite crisp enough.
The buffet includes a pick from the three dessert items available. There was alovely almond kulfi and, served warm, a vermicelli pudding. I think the latter is a South African spin on the usually cold falooda.