A casual beach bungalow inspired by the 1950s and 60s surf era, is the exciting new spot in the Umhlanga Village strip – The Beach House. Join us as I take you through the amazing afternoon we had at this sensational hangout.
Photos: Matthew Moon
We had the pleasure of visiting the recently opened restaurant for a long and lazy afternoon of grazing and experiencing everything that the popular new hangout has to offer.
From interactive cocktails, mouth-watering dishes, and authentic beach culture vibes, we sure had an absolute ball! We were seated right in the middle of the restaurant, with a perfect view of the patrons flowing over onto the pavement enjoying a “Phuza Thursday” happy hour cocktail, some folk hanging out on the boujee leather couches, enjoying an ice-cold beer, or the cute couples having a quick after-work decompress sesh at the bar. Everywhere I looked, everyone was happy, comfortable, and enjoying their time – it’s clear that this restaurant has become the regular hangout spot for the Umhlanga locals who love to enjoy a cold one and some delicious food.
What I love most about The Beach House is their attention to detail. Since our visit, we have not stopped talking about our experience. So, I think the best way for me to tell you about this place – is to break it down for you, in detail. (I won’t skimp on them either). There is something about this place that gives me such a sense of nostalgia. Each element of this restaurant had me reminiscing about my fondest childhood memories of the strong beach culture influence I had growing up. For me, it’s the little things in life that transport you to a time where life was simple. To sunny beach days, salty hair and sun-kissed skin, collecting oysters and mussels on the rocks, and pigging out on seafood dishes that were fresher than fresh. The Beach House has taken their immense love and appreciation for the quintessential 031 living – and have implemented those inspirations into an experiential dining experience. Expect a laid-back, but sophisticated take on “beach culture bungalow-chilling”. Whether you prefer being in a booth, seated curb-side, bound to the bar, or at a high-table, you’re sorted for seating options. The retro surf videos that loop on the TVs will keep you entertained for hours and for those who love a photo op, the colourful beachy “photo-booth” situated outside of the restrooms is the perfect place to strike a pose with your friends to commemorate your time at The Beach House.
Okay, that was a mouthful and now I’m getting thirsty, so let’s talk about drinks: my personal best included their refreshing Mai Tai (can’t go wrong with something that tastes like a vacay) and the Fin + Tonic, a gin and elderflower drink served in a biodegradable plastic bag – this drink instantly transports me to buying fish with my dad as a child.
Onto the food – oh boy, I could go on for ages and pages about their food; and they did not disappoint in this department. We started off snacking on some complimentary crumbed, deep-fried olives stuffed with ricotta, served with a mayo dipping sauce. I took a look around and there were a few people who were a bit hesitant to try them (you’re either an olive person or not) but I will tell you what, once one had tasted them, they were POLISHED within a couple of minutes. I let out a deep sigh of disappointment when I noticed the plate was practically licked clean #notevenjoking.
For appetizers, the owners suggested that we get a taste of EVERYTHING Tapa’s style and that is exactly what we did. I have to mention that The Beach House is every pescatarian’s dream. Naturally, living in such a prime location like the coast – especially Umhlanga, one has to try their array of seafood dishes that are just beyond a-ma-zing. From their sea menu, we tried their panko-crusted tuna lollipops topped with wasabi mayo dunked in teriyaki glaze, lemony tuna ceviche in prawn crackers – these will make you melt (this was my personal fave) and panko prawn tails with a secret sauce and sriracha lime mayo.
From their land menu, the team enjoyed succulent slices of charcoal beef fillet topped with Café De Paris butter, beef jus and pickled onion petals, soft-shell tacos filled with cold crunchy chicken, guacamole, microgreens, seaweed and mayo and mouth-watering hoisin chicken in popping crackers with a red onion pickle. Straight off the earth, and for the veggie-lovers reading this – you’re in for a treat. Their aubergine, spinach and ricotta rotolo’s were devoured in seconds.
The mini mezze board made me feel right at home with their selection of home-made flatbread, olives, homemade hummus and other delicious goodies that is the perfect platter for sharing. But the unanimous and absolute favourite small plate of the day was their gourmet Mac + Cheese. Okay so, I’m not a massive fan of mac and cheese but let me tell you something, I have been converted since trying Beach Houses’ M+C! A bowl of pasta, loaded with truffle, garlic, all the Parmesan cheese, and roasted cherry tomatoes #gamechanger.
Mains were an absolute delight. Again, we decided to share everything, because if there’s anything certain about us at FabMags, it is that we LOVE food and we LOVE to share. We got stuck into their Seafood Cartoccio which is packed with prawns, clams, mussels and calamari, fired in a bag with a lemony, tomato sauce baked with linguine, slithers of sesame-crusted seared tuna served with mashed potatoes and a variety of crunchy green veg and a teriyaki glaze and senpai umami sauce. In Cristina’s exact words, “the chicken crunch burger with green slaw and lime mayo just got me”. Their twice marinated sweet and sticky falling-off-the-bone ribs and skinny fries hardly stood a chance with Mike who quietly devoured them. The Durban-inspired Masala partially deboned chicken is certainly something to write home about – an absolute must for those who love a little bit of spice in their life! But the show-stopper and main character of the day was the lobster roll with crunchy coleslaw on toasted brioche with furikake seasoning, lemon mayo, caviar, chives and chips. I would happily eat this every single day. If all of that food wasn’t enough for us foodies, the lifeguards on duty wouldn’t let us leave without something sampling sweet, so naturally, us sweet-toothed folks obliged. We shared the crème brûlée, triple chocolate brownie and ice cream and a flaked soft serve, and practically rolled our way home.
Their innovation and artistry are evident in every dish, drink and piece of memorabilia you get to experience at The Beach House. It’s clear that their love and appreciation for Durban, surf-culture, great food, experiential living and creativity runs deep, and has been clearly expressed and communicated throughout the entire experience.
Follow them and check out all the delicious things they have to offer!