We are spoilt for choice on the North Coast, so make it easier for yourself by using the Best of Ballito as a guide.
The North Coast Courier Best of Ballito Readers’ Choice Awards have concluded, leaving readers with a wide range of familiar favourites and newfound options to try in almost 100 categories.
For everything from the best cake and coffee shop in town to your choice of the best schools and nail bars visit bestofballito.co.za for a full list of winners and runners-up.
To give you a taste of the winners, the Courier newsroom will be sampling some categories and reporting back on what to expect, kicking off with the top five amazing local curry cuisine options.
5. Famous Bunny – 1 Gregory Park, 14 Garlicke Drive, Ballito
When asked what their best curry option was, Famous Bunny did not hesitate to recommend their boneless mutton – and for good reason.
We went for the large option (R140) which was a generous helping in terms of meat and sauce and would be enough to feed two with rice, roti or another side dish.
The saucy nature also means it would be particularly well suited to a bunny, which is another popular menu item.
The mutton was tender and the potatoes held their shape, while bursting with a soft flavour-filled centre.
This was backed up by a delicious sauce, which was nicely seasoned and at a good heat level – not eye-watering, but certainly a kick at the back of the throat.
It may have been a touch too rich without the carrot salad, the acidity of which cut well through the dish.
A great option in the heart of Ballito.
4. The Fig Tree – Simbithi Country Club, Chaka’s Rock
Perhaps the only thing that beats The Fig Tree’s extensive and unusual curry menu, is the view of Simbithi Country Club’s 18th hole while sampling it.
Senior Sous Chef Lodewyk Lesch recommended the East African inspired Kuku Bizari Ya Pwani (R145), a chicken curry from The Fig Tree’s Kenyan chef, Senior Sous Chef Godfrey Chege Kinyanjui.
The dish shares a similar flavour profile to a butter chicken curry, but is cooked with coconut milk and traditional Kenyan spices, ensuring it is unlike anything you have tasted before.
It was simply delectable, with the chicken breast pieces tender and a generous portion size to match.
Although very flavourful and well spiced, the curry was quite mild, so we recommend you ask for some extra heat if traditional Durban curries suit your palate.
We were also lucky enough to sample the curry of the day, which was Lamb (R185). It was too delicious, and more like curries you may have had elsewhere in KZN.
Both curries came with a smorgasbord of sides that included rice, roti, sambals, a cheese and corn samoosa and a particularly nice poppadum.
3. Thava – Classic Indian Restaurant – 33 Compensation Beach Road, Salmon Way, Ballito
If you are looking for the best combination of fine dining and authentic Indian cuisine, look no further than Thava.
Situated right on the beach, Thava has ocean views and a kitchen bursting with flavour.
The restaurant offers North, South and South African Indian flavours on an extensive menu.
We were treated to both the Butter Chicken (R120) and the Traditional Lamb Curry (R125) served with Chilli Garlic Naan (R27), Kachumber Salad (carrot and onion – R30) and Cucumber Raita (homemade yoghurt – R20) presented beautifully in authentic copper dishes.
The curries were phenomenal.
The Butter Chicken sauce was king in our book – thick, creamy and flavourful. The Traditional Lamb Curry, cooked with Durban spices melted in our mouths and gave a great kick, while not being too hot to enjoy.
2. Cindy’s Fresh Produce – Main Road, Umhlali
Cindy’s is an institution within the community and Cindy is known as the curry queen of the North Coast – for good reason.
Part of the appeal is ordering from her fresh produce store and café in the quaint village steeped in history, and at R70 the mutton curry is an absolute bargain.
We nervously expected a super hot curry, but were relieved to discover a spicy but very moderate dish heat-wise.
The flavours were spot on, although there was a touch too much salt for our taste.
Overall a great meal at a great price.
1. Salt Hotel – 59 Basil Hulett Drive, Salt Rock
Trying to fault Salt Rock Hotel on their mutton curry, one half expects Gordon Ramsay himself to pop out of nowhere and slap you senseless.
All bets were off the moment the curry was tasted for the first time, all manners and etiquette flying out the window, too, as we set about leaving nothing behind on the plate.
Deliciously delectable, Salt Rock Hotel’s famous mutton curry disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived at the table.
First to be devoured was a piece of the ever-crunchy poppadum, covered with some curry, a slight amount of rice and sambals.
While fighting back tears of joy at the delicious nature of this fine meal, Sinéad O’Connor’s Nothing Compares To You came to mind, and for perfectly good reason: one simply cannot find fault in this curry, priced at R160.