For food lovers who want to discover the local food while they travel, what could be more memorable than joining an esteemed chef in a unique dining experience, in which the local flavours are combined with innovative culinary techniques and the theatre of the kitchen. At The Oyster Box this can be done at the experiential Chef’s Table.
First, we need to go to the roots of this city’s cuisine. As a vibrant port, Durban displays an exceptional cultural diversity, and one way to experience this is through the city’s culinary scene. Within the region, Zulu specialities are served alongside Indian cuisine – which is especially notable here, due to the significance of its Indian influence – and the food of other African and European nations. This culinary diversity is heightened by the quality of Durban’s local produce. The year-round warm climate and surrounding farmland supply the city with fresh meats, cheeses, and fruit and vegetables, while its Indian Ocean setting means seafood and fish is in abundance.
Durban curry, bunny chow and the local take on the samoosa are most often associated with the city’s culinary identity; having gained a stand-out reputation on Durban’s culinary scene, The Oyster Box serves up these sumptuous local specialties, while also leading the charge in creating new plates that incorporate these much-loved flavours. This elevation of local ingredients and diverse influence is then taken a step further for the Chef’s Table.
Executive Chef Kevin Joseph is behind this unique culinary experience. With his passion for using fresh and locally sourced ingredients wherever possible, the chef and his team create a five-course meal, in which each dish is prepared in front of the guests.
From the first moment, diners are given the VIP treatment with Champagne and canapés in the Oyster Bar. Then from here, they’re whisked off to the kitchen for an exclusive behind the scenes tour, before each of the five courses is specially prepared for each individual guest.
Taking the local seafood, the chefs elevate the natural flavours through innovative culinary techniques, such as the oyster and sesame ravioli and medallion of Cape crayfish that comes with a curry leaf butter, green lime pearls and a Cape salmon crisp, or the orange-infused crustaceans and fried calamari with cream bisque, caviar oil and salmon roe.
Classic plates are also on the cards, with parsley crusted venison fillet sitting alongside Josper grilled lamb rack with potato galette, caprese salad, a béarnaise sauce, shaved truffle and pan jus.
The sweet plates are equally as exciting, and designed to surprise with playful textures and inspired fusions of flavour. Honeycomb ice cream comes with a delicate rosewater jelly and subja seeds, while the baked Alaska is accompanied by a pumpkin chiffon, cognac custard ice cream and flamed meringue.
The culinary experience is made even more special by the setting. Situated on Umhlanga’s beachfront, the hotel has unparalleled views over the Indian Ocean, which guests can drink in from the Oyster Box’s resplendent interiors. To experience the Chef’s Table at The Oyster Box is to truly delve into the possibilities of Durban’s gastronomic scene.
Image credits: All photos of Executive Chef Kevin Joseph and the Chef’s Table © The Oyster Box / Red Carnation Hotels.