I confess I’ve never been a fan of spicy food. I’m the type who chooses the mild option when it comes to curries and I often suffer the consequences – usually in the form of Delhi Belly or clutching the porcelain throne.
But who can resist the ancient and addictively aromatic call of Indian spices?
The hugely popular Osa Restaurant, inside the Fairmont Zimbali Resort, offers up Indian cuisine so expertly prepared that I was once again ready to throw caution to the wind.
The Indian population of KwaZulu-Natal is the largest outside of India itself. In fact, statistics actually state that Durban is considered the largest Indian city outside of India. A wonderful opportunity for the unexposed such as myself to immerse oneself in Indian culture while visiting beautifully lush and subtropical KZN.
As soon as I set foot in the Zimbali Resort, I knew I had to eat in that highly popular Osa Restaurant that I’d been hearing so much about from friends who frequent the area.
Part of working in the lifestyle department involves experimenting in different tastes and I was really looking forward to experiencing the exotic spices of Indian food dancing around my curious palette.
Usually when people compliment the chef and ask him to come to the table, I roll my eyes as I see this as an excuse to try and score a free meal or dessert.
This time I truly wanted to compliment the chef who, according to my tastes, must be one of the best in the country. The cuisine was well prepared and absolutely delicious, possibly the best Indian food I’ve tasted.
At the entrance of Osa is a red carpet welcoming you to the elegantly decorated restaurant that has red, black and gold décor. It’s the smaller details that catch the eye, such as the copper bowls that the food is served in and the antique looking gold teacups, but most of all the incredible knowledge about the menu and food that the staff have.
The waiter can tell you what to pair with what and recommend the correct portions, and even delves into deeper descriptions about the preparation. I learned that with Indian food, preparation is vital to the outcome and taste.
Our table was served by a highly knowledgeable chef who gave a thorough run down of the menu, recommended dishes and appropriate proportions. I wanted to try most of everything but the reality of my stomach is: I couldn’t.
A good balance of food and seafood dishes with generous portions of naan bread was what I settled on. As the waiter placed each dish on the table, it felt like being in the centre of food heaven.
What comes highly recommended is the butter chicken and the traditional thali, while the experience of eating with your hands make it all the more enjoyable – we are in Africa, after all.
Each dish contained a mix of spices and traditional condiments served on the side.
Vegans aren’t forgotten as there is plenty on offer if you’re not a meat eater.
When I enquired from the waiter why the dishes were so tasty, he explained to me that the recipes are tried and tested because they are generational, from years of cooking. Nothing was too spicy or hard on the palette and it was all easy eating.
Osa is a restaurant I’d definitely return to, even if it’s just to have an enjoyable chat with the friendly waiters.
- Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 18:30 – 22:30
- Dress code: Casual
- Reservations: Essential
- Contact: 032 538 5000 or email email@example.com
- Location: Level 1 of the West Wing, Fairmont Zimbali Resort