Call: 031 303 3568
Open: Open daily until 4.30pm.
The Blue Zoo boasts on its website that it is Durban’s oldest restaurant – established in 1914. And judging by its beautiful setting in one of the city’s most beautiful parks, you can see why it has lived to be over 100 years old.
I have enjoyed an afternoon here twice recently on the terrace with wonderful views of the gardens. It’s always busy and the pianist gently stroking the ivories adds to the ambiance. This week we went for a quick lunch.
The menu takes in breakfasts and special breakfasts – French toast and Benedicts – while light meals might include the whole gamut of toasties, wraps and salads. There’s a small pasta selection: think prawns tossed with roasted baby tomatoes, basil pesto, Parmesan, rocket and chilli – and light meals that include quiche or pie of the day.
An extensive burger selection includes the classic, to the bacon and egg, or gourmet combo. And there are chicken options too. A friend always swears by the fish and chips with a lemon sauce. At R79, it is substantial and offers good value. A special of the day was Kingklip at R130 – also good value.
Previously we’d visited for Sunday lunch – a roast special at R150 with roast potatoes and rice and gravy and everything. It was pleasant, if not particularly memorable. But this time we opted to try the traditional Durban curries.
Often curries on a large menu aim to please a large number of people; the result is little more than a spiced up stew. But this menu boasts that these are prepared with authentic herbs and spices and rice and sambals. And they were. Mother’s boneless lamb curry (R110) packed a wonderful flavour punch. She mopped up thick curry gravy with chips, instead of rice.
My chicken and prawn curry (R110) was another authentic dish, with plenty of prawns and the chicken not overcooked. It came with a crisp deep-fried papadum and the sambals were the conventional chutney and tomato and onion mix, but also a very good yoghurt. I was impressed. All curries are available as toasted sandwiches too.
We skipped dessert in favour of another gin and tonic.
Ambiance: 4.5The Independent on Saturday