Prawns, palms and heavenly puds

The mains serving at the ‘I Love Prawns’ special at the Palm Court at Durban’s Oyster Box hotel every Wednesday in September.

BILLY SUTER visits the cool Palm Court at Durban’s elegant Oyster Box hotel to sample the September ‘I Love Prawns’ special, served every Wednesday, 7pm to 10pm, this month only. The cost of the three-course meal is R495 a head and includes a complimentary cocktail which could vary each week.

THERE are few treats more satisfying than a dinner date at one of Durban’s most globally respected and historic hotels, so it was with a wide smile on our faces that my partner and I headed for that pearl of the North Coast, The Oyster Box, last night.

Complimentary goblets of gin and a yummy, ample Prawn Cocktail starter at the Palm Court at the Oyster Box hotel.

The hotel is noted for its variety of regular themed dinner events and this month the spotlight is on prawns, the offer being a three-course meal, plus complimentary cocktail. It’s a slight variation on the restaurant’s popular Valentine’s Day menu that also featured prawns.

The Palm Court, a step away from the hotel’s Ocean Terrace, overlooking the pool and famous lighthouse on the beach, is, of course, where the legendary Oyster Box high tea is held – and good news for suckers for anything sweet is that this must-do event is on offer at a reduced price of only R250 a head until the end of November. The usual price is R360 a head.

The high tea is offered every afternoon, from 2.30pm to 5pm, so go, go, go! My 2017 review of the high tea is to be found by clicking here:

Noted for its natural sunlight, palms and four tole and ceramic chandeliers purchased from the Savoy Hotel in Lon]don, the Palm Court is a perfect setting for the prawns special, where one is invited to a complimentary cocktail on arrival.

I am told the cocktail offer is likely to change weekly, but if you get the one we had last night you will be sure to be very happy. It was Bombay Sapphire gin, with elderflower (made largely from a refined sugar and water solution, and using the flowers of the European elder) and a hint of lemon.

Served with a little straw in a large, turquoise, glass goblet, the drink so hit the spot with my partner and I that we had two each during the course of the evening.

The ‘I Love Prawns’ special has a set starter, main and dessert, the starter being a yummy Prawn Cocktail – eight cold plump prawns displayed in a pattern in a circle of cucumber ribbons, small slices of avocado, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. It comes with a subtle Marie Rose sauce (a blend of tomatoes, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and black pepper) and is served in the sunken centre of a large transparent plate. Very satisfying.

Prawns grilled in lemon butter, served with pea and dill rice and al dente veg.

The mains is a treat. It comprises eight large, whole prawns, perfectly grilled in lemon butter, served with a pea and dill rice, al dente veg (carrots, broccoli and  bits of pattipan and cauliflower last night) and two sauces on the side of the platter – one garlic butter and the other a so-so peri-peri which could have done with a lot more fire.

The best for me, however, and it had nothing to do with prawns, was kept for the last. The special pud is sensational – a triple choc treat comprising a very rich choc truffle, a scoop of heavenly choc ice-cream and the most decadent brownie, topped with white-choc lace, that rates as the best I have eaten since visiting Charley’s Bakery in Cape Town earlier in the year. Yum, yum, yum!

The cost for the whole meal is R495 a head and while one can walk in and get a table, it is probably best to book a spot. The number to call is (031) 514 5000.

Looking forward at The Oyster Box, note that International Chocolate Day is being marked with the hotel hosting a special, divinely decadent Chocolate High Tea on September 13. Experience all things chocolate from 2.30pm to 5pm in the Palm Court. The cost for this very special event is R490 a head.

Also note that the hotel’s famous pet cat, Skabenga, is to have his Pirate Birthday Party on September 25 and 26. An afternoon of fun, games and delicious treats has been planned to celebrate the furry friend’s special day!

Chocolate heaven… the dessert offered on the Oyster Box’s ‘I Love Prawns’ special.

Skabenga asks that instead of a present, you rather bring some food for his less-fortunate canine and feline chums. The party will be in the hotel’s Pearl Room from noon to 3pm. The price is R390 per adult and R200 per child.

Meanwhile, also note that winemaker Gary Jordan, of Jordan Farms, will be hosting an informal wine tasting evening at the hotel on September 30. The Jordan Wine Pairing Dinner will include canapes on arrival, followed by a three-course meal paired with the Jordan reserve range featuring the world- renowned Nine Years and Cobblers Hill Expressions. Dinner is at 7pm in the Grill Room, and the cost is R690 a head.

To book for any of these events phone (031) 514 5000.

A section of the relaxing Palm Court at Durban’s Oyster Box.
The Palm Court at the Oyster Box, where high tea is held daily and a prawn special is available every Wednesday evening during September.

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