Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel

Afternoon Tea became popularized in the 19th century when the Duchess of Bedford and her ladies of leisure would sit down with tea and cream scones to fill the long gap between meals. 

Today Afternoon Tea is an elegant experience to be savoured. I have had Afternoon Tea (sometimes referred to as High Tea) at some five-star venues around the world, but for me personally, nothing compares to traditional Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel.

Tea is served at Palm Court, which is the heart of the Oyster Box’s dining scene. The venue is drenched in natural light and surrounded by lush palm trees. Four magnificent chandeliers set the ambience while live piano music cascades and mingles effortlessly with the leisurely conversations. 

The waiters are ever attentive, and that first glass of champagne materializes almost as soon as I sit down.

The palatial surroundings and the beautiful piano sounds just give you a sense of glamour and grandeur. The tables are laid with fine porcelain and a handwritten card to add a touch of personal charm. 

The centre console is laden with mouth-watering pastries, cakes and scones. For those who have less of a sweet tooth, and may prefer the savoury aspects of life, fear not. There are quiches, finger sandwiches, samosas and even sushi on offer.

The atmosphere is elegant and refined, yet totally relaxed. Groups of people enjoy sipping and chatting, not a care in the world. There are people celebrating all sorts of special occasions. 

Indeed, Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box makes the perfect backdrop to celebrate everything from a baby shower to birthday, bachelorette party to graduation. 

Of course, we were celebrating our ten-year wedding anniversary, and were pleasantly surprised with a special cake from the team. 

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The selection of teas and coffees are as extensive as the food choices. We lingered over cheese plates and smoked salmon sandwiches before moving on to blueberry scones with clotted cream and preserves. 

The experience is a treat in itself, the opulent surroundingsand delicious delicacies will ensure you have an experience to remember. Worth every penny in my opinion! 

I would highly recommend Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel whether you’re a local in Durban or passing through our beautiful city – put this one your bucket list! The experience would also make a special occasion/ celebration that much more memorable.

At the time of publishing this post, the Afternoon tea at the Oyster Box Hotel is R365 per person, and includes a glass of bubbly, tea/coffee selections and the all you can eat buffet of sweet and savoury offerings. I would highly recommend booking well in advance, especially for special occasions. 

 

Sample menu can be found here.

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Dining Options at The Oyster Box Hotel

The Oyster Box is South Africa’s number 1 Hotel, and as such you’d expect the food and drink at the hotel to be of the highest standard.

During our weekend away to this legendary establishment, we got to experience some of the dining options, and I’m happy to say, it does not disappoint.

Staying at the Oyster Box, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining. Whatever you choose, it will almost certainly be an extraordinary experience.

The Hotel’s two main restaurants are The Ocean Terrace and The Grill Room.

The Ocean Terrace

The Ocean Terrace is famous for casual al-fresco dining, and is family and pet-friendly. As such, the menu offers perennial favorites such as wood-fired pizzas, burgers, and fish and chip. We enjoyed buffet breakfast in the Ocean Terrace and were blown away by the variety of options available.  

The continental breakfast spread was a large table laden with everything you could ever dream of in your wildest breakfast fantasies. Fresh charcuterie, cereals, raw honey, all-butter croissants and a parmesan wheel to name just a few. 

 

 

The hot selection included bacon, sausages, poached haddock and eggs cooked to order. Guests were also able to order from a dedicated breakfast menu, and I enjoyed Eggs Florentine one morning – cooked-to-perfection medium-poached eggs on wilted spinach topped with the creamiest Hollandaise sauce ever; and Welsh Rarebit the next morning – cooked the classic way, with cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and finished under the grill.

 

 

The dedicated pancake and waffle bar proved a hit with kids and adults alike. The cappuccinos flowed freely, and the service was extremely attentive. The perfect breakfast was complimented by the perfect view – looking out across the sparkling pool and onto the crashing waves and iconic lighthouse.

 

 

The Ocean Terrace serves al la carte lunch and dinners, and the incredible Curry Buffet is also on offer which includes and extensive selection of curries (meat, fish and vegetarian options), authentic tandoori chicken, naans and side dishes. The curry buffet is so popular they are usually booked out months in advance!

 

 

The Grill Room

The Grill Room at the Oyster Box is the hotel’s fine dining option and we got to experience a wonderful dinner to celebrate our anniversary. Steeped in history, the Grill Room is elegantly adorned with chic white linen and pristine silverware, which stand out brilliantly against the navy walls and mirror finishes. Beautiful candelabras give an ambience of old-world glamour and the vibe is one of timeless elegance and class, with a splash of luxury.

 

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We were warmly welcomed when we arrived and shown to our table. We marveled over the vibrant artwork and the intimate setting. Our sommelier helped us pick out a lovely white wine from the extensive and well curated wine cellar (we both decided on seafood mains), while our glasses were topped up throughout the night. 

 

 

The classic Gueridon service, where food is prepared and presented at the individual diner’s table and the classic Hors d’ Oeuvres trolley transport you back in time to an era of 1920’s glamour.

 

 

From amuse bouche to dessert, the beautifully plated and delectable offerings were expertly put together and tantalized our palates.

For my starter I had a Cipollini and Parsely Prawn dish: plump grilled prawns floating in a Chardonnay cream topped with caviar. Martin went for the Foie Gras pâté with red wine poached pear.

 

 

For our mains I chose the seared Norwegian Salmon with lemongrass butter (served on the side -so decadent!) whilst Martin explores the Dyad of Lamb: a crumbled lamb shank with minted butter and pan jus.

 

 

We both settled on the dessert tasting plates which included passionfruit and elderflower cheesecake, Chocolate custard brownies, green tea mouse, grape jelly and a raspberry macaroon. Additionally, we were treated to a slice of decadent chocolate cake for our anniversary, which was such a special touch.

 

 

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The Grill Room is fine dining at its finest. The service is second to none and the food is exceptional in every way. The partnership of head chef Kevin Joseph and Bea Tollen works like magic to make any experience at the Grill Room one you will never forget. It is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion.

The dress code is semi-formal and no children under 12 are permitted.

Bars at the Oyster Box

The Oyster Box also boasts 3 bars serving light meals and world-famous cocktails. The Lighthouse Bar makes a wonderful spot to enjoy sundowners whilst watching the waves crash a few meters away.

 

 

Private dining can be accommodated in the famed wine cellar which is sunken just below the Oyster Bar (beneath a glass ceiling!) and makes for a unique setting for dinner parties, corporate functions, tastings or special events and offers a Chef’s Table for up to 10 guests. Bespoke menus are created for every occasion and the resident Sommelier will present a selection of wines from the Diners Club Diamond award-winning wine list, which boasts the finest selection of South African and international vintages.

 

 

As you can tell from my review, I’ve only just scratched the surface of what this impeccable hotel has to offer in terms of food and drink. Experiences are unique and will be fully catered to the individual tastes and desires of each patron.

All in all, the dining options at the Oyster box are many and varied, the only thing that remains steadfast is the quality of the food and drink, and the impeccable service.

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How I Met Your Father

Ok kids, I’m gonna tell you the story about how I met your father.

It was the Autumn of 2008, and I was living my best life. I had a beautiful little flat down the South Coast (Port Shepstone), where I lived for work. I’d just signed a rental lease for a full year.

I’d been promoted at my job: at 26 years old, I was the youngest senior manager in the company… responsible for an awesome team of 25 employees. Work was wonderfully challenging and fulfilling.

I had just bought a brand new car, drove it off the showroom floor with a big red bow on it. I was surrounded by loving family and loyal friends. I was young, confident and very happy.

10 March 2008- New corner office at work (thanks to my promotion) and a lovely company budget to decorate it.

I’d always wanted to travel… (I was the kind who hoarded Contiki travel brochures, painstakingly mapping my ideal itinerary)… so of course I was going to decorate my new fancy office in a very cosmopolitan way – with classy black and white images from iconic cities around the world.

I had already sourced beautiful prints of New York and Sydney, when I reached out via Facebook to a photographer in Paris asking about the price of his photographs and if he shipped to South Africa.

The answer to my innocent enquiry: “For someone as beautiful as you, I could deliver it personally ;)”

Wait? What!?

Ok, he was handsome… in that French kind of way (the BEST way)… but I just needed the photographs.

We ended up chatting … on MSN (remember that?!). Days turned into weeks, which turned into months.

By June 2008, we were chatting to each other for literally hours a day. We talked about everything under the sun. Hopes and dreams. Long philosophical conversations and shorter not so philosophical ones.

Paris, September 2008

Until we finally decided: We needed to meet. We needed to know if this chemistry was real or not.

So I said a little prayer, and bought a ticket to Paris!

My friends had been worried sick prior to my trip… fervently trying to talk me out of going, pretty sure I was going to end up murdered and turned into a skin suit for some psychotic serial killer who had obviously watched Silence of the Lambs one too many times.

10 September 2008: Exactly 7 months after our first online conversation, I met your father in a very busy terminal at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. He said “hello” and I said “bonjour”. It was a blistering hot day and I wore 6-inch heels and a strapless tulle dress à la Carey Bradshaw.

I can’t tell you much about the next 20 days, except that it was pretty much a fairytale. Long, long days…. longer than you’ve ever experienced in South Africa. Croissants for breakfast in the tiny garden of your dad’s apartment. Strolling around Notre Dame and picnicking in the shadow of the Eiffel Tour. Lazy cafe dinners at tables that spilled onto cobbled streets… names of which I couldn’t even pronounce. It was surreal for a girl who had never set foot outside of SA before.

Paris September 2008

Two days before I was set to return to SA, your dad asked me to marry him. (A mere 18 days since we first physically met). There was no getting down on one knee, no ring, no fanfare. Just a matter of fact statement during a particularly lovely pizza dinner. “We should get married”

And my very straightforward answer: “I think we should”.

And just like that, we were ‘engaged’. We scrambled to get airline tickets for your dad to come to SA on the same flight as me (I was leaving in 2 days)… but we did it.

I’ll never forget my mother’s face when they picked me up at the airport on 2nd October 2008… introducing your dad to her… she looking so utterly confused. (My poor mother! I love her so!) I had hinted at a sort of, maybe, might be, romance prior to embarking on my trip… but I don’t think anyone – myself included – would have dreamed I’d come back with a fiancé!

We took a month (A MONTH!) to sort out wedding logistics and got married on 1st November 2008.

01 November 2008

I moved to Paris later that same year, saying goodbye to the new job, the new car and taking a significant knock on the cancelled rental lease agreement. Leaving behind the only life I ever knew.

We lived in Paris, in that same tiny apartment for 7 years, making memories, travelling to over 30 cities in various countries around the world (my dream of travelling finally coming true).

Amsterdam 2011
Rome 2012
Crete 2011
Athens 2011
Mexico 2013
Alberobello, Italy, 2012
Venice 2012
Barcelona 2010

We moved back to SA in 2015, just 6 weeks after you two were born… that tiny Parisian apartment definitely too tiny for four!

I wouldn’t call myself a spontaneous person. I’m a planner. I like to think I’ve got a good head on my shoulders. If one of you told me you were flying half-way across the world to meet a guy you met online… well let’s just say it would NEVER happen. The world you will grow up in is very different one…

I took a giant leap of faith that could have easily turned out very differently. What I did was so out of character, so risky…, but also mighty brave, I’d like to think.

It hasn’t been easy, but we’ll be married 10 years this week!

Christmas 2015
Family in 2018

Maybe sometime along the next 10 years my friends will stop mentioning how close I came to being turned into a skin suit.

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