BY BILLY SUTER
ONE of my favourite rooms in town – the cool, spacious and elegant Palm Court at Umhlanga’s Oyster Box – has introduced a fun, new, pop-up restaurant concept that will change monthly.
The room, with its high ceilings, ornate chandeliers, slow-twirling fans and, of course, palms, highlights the excellent high tea from 2.30pm to 5pm daily (see separate post under ‘Food and Drink’).
Now, as a fun way of better using the space in the evening, and to offer regulars something not usually found on the hotel’s other menus, management has decided to use the Palm Court for a different themed food experience every month. Great idea.
This month the focus is the US of A, the theme being American Road Trip, and from 6pm to 9.30pm, throughout June, diners have a choice of three starters, seven mains and three puddings from a varied special menu – as well as a complimentary Bulleit Bourbon cocktail on arrival.
Even better news is that I have been given a prize for one lucky follower of my site to enjoy the three-course meal free with a partner (with drinks for own account, after the complimentary cocktail). Information on how to be in line to win this great prize – valued at nearly R800 – appears at the end of this post.
The price for the three-course meal is R390 a head, all in, and a range of special, themed cocktails and alternative drinks (at additional cost) have been put together as a compliment to the set menu – among them diner-style milkshakes. At R65 a pop one can order from flavours listed as Cookies and Cream, Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Brownie. Yum.
There are also items listed under the drinks menu as Adult Indulgence: Kentucky Coffee or Bulleit Cinnamon Pedro (R80 each). Double yum.
Palm Court’s new manager of two months, Sereesha Rohith, who has been with the Oyster Box since 2011, is a bubbly and amiable host and is quick with a smile as she emerges to greet arriving patrons from behind an American flag set up near the room for the occasion.
In the evenings, the room’s central table, usually groaning with high-calorie confectionary for the high tea, now accommodates a large, glass bottle dispensing Bulleit Bourbon cocktail, and is decorated with stars-and stripes bunting.
Elsewhere in the room you will find more white, red and blue – notably on the fun tablecloths on each of the room’s small tables. It’s fun and festive.
And so on to the menu… starter options include smoked haddock chowder, with fried corn, potato, cream and toasted corn bread, but I opted for the more fun Nik Nak Chicken. It’s deep-fried, crumbed chicken strips served with a blue cheese dipping sauce and small sticks of celery. All good, but they were a little mean with the sauce. Sereesha assures me they will rectify that.
My partner, Gordon, got an even better deal with his Loaded Potato Skins starter – a cold dish that’s a pot-pourri of potato skins, guacamole, sour cream, grated cheddar and salsa. Very, very nice.
Mains picks are varied, and I was tempted by the large Chilli Cheese Dog with fries and coleslaw; the Mac and Cheese Burger with fries; as well as the Blackened Hake in soft-shell tacos with avocado crème, broccoli slaw and pico de gallo (salsa).
But I settled on the Low and Slow Short Rib – a delicious serving of very tender ribs braised in Coca-Cola and served, with fries and coleslaw, on a bed of smoked kidney beans. It was a hefty portion, but I mopped up every last bit of it.
Gordon was equally happy with his choice of the New Orleans Pulled Pork Burger, served on a toasted bun with salad greens, pickled cucumber and a nicely spiced guacamole.
Other mains choices are Southern Fried Chicken, and Prawns Po’ Boy (a foot-long roll with fried mac and cheese, served with sweet chilli mayo, fries and coleslaw).
Puds were enjoyable. I sampled both the pumpkin pie (a first for me), served with cinnamon ice-cream and caramel sauce, and Gordon’s tiny baked cheesecake with strawberry coulis. Also on the menu is a banana split (sliced banana, choc sauce, peanut bits and marachino cherries).
Good news is that next month’s theme is Christmas in July, while the theme for August is Mexican Fiesta, and for September it is Spanish Inquisition. The same three-course set-up applies, and the cost for each theme evening is R390 a head.
It’s also worth noting that The Oyster Box is offering a succulent Sunday Roast Sharing Platter with all the trimmings. It is served on the Ocean Terrace every Sunday for dinner or lunch in July (lamb), August (chicken) and September (beef). The price is R420 per platter, for two people.
Other good news is that, back by popular demand, is a monthly Dinner Dance in the hotel’s beautiful Grill Room – on July 19, August 26 and September 30, starting at 6.30pm. Enjoy Grill Room favourites and dance the night away with music by Wallace Nock. The price is R590 per person for the music and a three-course dinner.
For all restaurant and high tea reservations phone (031) 514 5018 or email email@example.com
WIN A THREE-COURSE MEAL FOR TWO AT THE OYSTER BOX’S PALM COURT!
I am offering, by courtesy of the Oyster Box Hotel, a free three-course meal, for two people, as part of the hotel’s American Road Trip promotion at the elegant Palm Court, valid for any night until the promotion ends at the end of June 2017. The prize is valued at almost R800.
The prize includes the three-course meal for two, as well as a complimentary Bulleit Bourbon cocktail on arrival – but note that all other drinks will be for the prize-winner’s own account.
To be in line to enter the competition, simply subscribe to my site. It is FREE and easy – simply write your email address in the space provided at the end of the cover page of my site and you will be notified whenever I post stories.
Once you have done that, mail your name and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you write AMERICAN ROAD TRIP in the subject field.
The winner will be chosen at noon on Tuesday, June 13, and notified soon after. Best of luck!
UPDATE: The winner of this competition was contacted at 1pm on Tuesday, June 13. She is Ashlyn Brokensha of Durban. Congrats – and many thanks to the 219 subscribers who entered the competition. Watch this space for similar contests in weeks to come!