The butter chicken and vegetable curries.
The butter chicken and vegetable curries.
The curry buffet at Thyme.
The curry buffet at Thyme.
The mutton curry and chicken and prawn curry.
The mutton curry and chicken and prawn curry.

Where: Royal Palm Hotel, 6 Palm Boulevard, uMhlanga Ridge

Open: Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily

Call: 0315818181

I read that Thyme, the restaurant at the Royal Palm Hotel in uMhlanga, had launched a weekly Wednesday Curry Night. And feeling like a plate of Durban’s best culinary offering, a friend and I decided to give it a whirl.

The buffet, including four curries, is an exceptionally reasonable R189 a head.

Thyme is a big restaurant, and it spills out on to an internal courtyard between a number of other hotels and blocks of flats and, on a mild winter evening, we enjoyed sitting outside.

Our waitress was charming, with a lovely, quirky sense of humour. She quickly brought us some beers as we munched on pappadums before hitting the buffet.

The buffet features mutton curry, chicken and prawn curry, vegetable curry and butter chicken.

There was also basmati rice, pappadums, roti and a selection of sambals, including a very pleasant coriander yoghurt.

All the curries we tasted were fairly mild - the hotel has to cater for all tastes, and our waitress did offer to bring us some chopped chillies - but they all had good flavour.

The mutton was, for me, the pick of the evening, with a rich, nicely spiced, gravy and plenty of tender meat on the bone. It might have benefited from a few potatoes to help mop up that lovely gravy. The butter chicken is designed for those who can’t take the heat but this too was tasty, with a subtle array of spices and coconut milk coming to the fore.

The chicken and prawn curry and the vegetable curry were in the Durban style and most enjoyable.

If there were a couple of criticisms - it would be great if rotis and pappadums could be ordered fresh from the kitchen rather than left on the buffet, where they had cooled somewhat.

The buffet might also benefit from the addition of a few pickles and maybe a mint and coriander chutney, just to add a little more interest.

The normal a la carte menu at Thyme is kept fairly tight but there will be enough of interest to satisfy most tastes. Think the likes of pastas: a prawn and chilli linguini, or a simple Alfredo, or fresh line fish, or prawns or calamari.

There’s a braised oxtail and grilled half chicken, while lamb chops, rump, fillet and sirloin all feature.

Desserts are limited - with a creme brulee, hazelnut chocolate fondant, and gourmet bread and butter pudding. Next time.

Food: 3 ½

Service: 3 ½

Ambience: 2 ½

The Independent on Saturday