Prawns in a Thai coconut curry with mango pickle.
Prawns in a Thai coconut curry with mango pickle.
Soft-shell crab burger in a black bread roll.
Soft-shell crab burger in a black bread roll.
Prawns in on a spicy saffron rice.
Prawns in on a spicy saffron rice.
Black-based pizza with harissa and chourico.
Black-based pizza with harissa and chourico.
Elements

Where: Beverly Hills Hotel, 1 Lighthouse Road, uMhlanga

Open: Wednesday to Sunday noon to 9pm

Call: 031 561 2211

There can be few better “gardens” in which to dine on the KwaZulu-Natal coast. We’re sitting outside Elements, the casual eatery at the Beverly Hills Hotel, drinking in a glorious late afternoon on a glorious winter’s day. With a cocktail in hand, of course.

We have been invited to try new items on sous chef Devandra Narismulu’s seasonal menu.

Certain elements simply have to stay on the menu, the chef tells us. Like the hotel’s signature linguine del mare with a chardonnay and parsley sauce, or the beer battered fish and chips with pea purée and home-made tartar sauce. Moule mariniere is another, as is Norwegian salmon. It’s a menu that takes in a number of seafood options, so fitting for the setting.

Prawns get two new treatments. Both were excellent. There’s a Thai style (R320) dish in a coconut sauce with mixed peppers, corn, broccoli and cashew nuts on basmati rice. It’s served with a mango pickle, which really brought all the flavours together in a punch. It was delicious. Then there is the grilled prawns on a lentil and onion rice infused with saffron, tamarind and chilli (R310). The flavours were delicate and fulfilling and complemented the prawns expertly.

One of the starters worth a mention is the vegetable pakora - an array of veggies in a tempura batter served with a tamarind sauce (R70). What a pleasure when the kitchen knows what a proper tempura batter should look like.

The kitchen has also been experimenting with breads, producing a black bread that uses activated charcoal as one of its ingredients. I enjoyed a pizza base topped with harissa (instead of Napoli), chourizo, roasted peppers, onion marmalade and mozzarella (R160).

I, however, found the bread a shade heavy when it came to Chef D’s Tempura crab burger. This was soft-shell crab, a rarity in Durban, topped with coriander, red onion, chilli mango mayo and avo and cucumber slaw (R155). But the flavours worked well, and the crab was a real treat.

Burgers also take in a home-made beef burger (R145), with chimichurri sauce, caramelised onions, sun-blushed tomatoes served with avo and cucumber slaw, and a crumbed chicken option served with Napoli mozzarella and Parmasan (R145). The home-made beef patty was excellent.

Service at Elements is top notch. It’s friendly, informed and capable. Staff really go out of their way to make your time here special.

Food: 4

Service: 4 ½

Ambience: 4 ½