While it could be described as a ‘hidden gem’, tucked away on the beach front in the quiet village of Westbrook, stopping in for lunch on a regular Thursday afternoon proves it is anything but. A gem, yes, but hidden it is no longer.
As we sit down to look at the menu, the gentle buzz of the busy lunchtime crowd is broken only by the odd rendition of ‘happy birthday’ and giggles from a nearby table of women enjoying a glass or two of wine with their meal.
There is an elderly couple seated nearby, holding hands and sharing a pair of spectacles as they peruse the remarkably comprehensive, yet not-too-overwhelming menu. Something tells me they’ve been here before.
Given its name, one might be forgiven for assuming Spice is predominantly curry-focussed restaurant. But the vast offerings – from appetizers to salads, seafood and grills – prove it is so much more than that. The curry, though, is incredible.
The story behind Spice dates back to 2003, when owners Russell and Linda Burger opened their restaurant in a courtyard in Florida Road in Durban. Five years later they relocated to a nearby grand old house, taking all their loyal clients with them.
Five more years passed before the couple decided it was time to move their restaurant further North, closer to their home. Spice opened in Westbrook in 2014.
Passionate about their business, Russell and Linda are literally hands-on restauranteurs. Russell, at the front of house, greets almost every customer himself, many by name, and Linda works hard in the kitchen, creating remarkable dishes, some of which have graced the pages of national recipe books.
We were very relieved to be able to try a variety of dishes from the starter and main course menus, because if anything is a challenge when you visit this restaurant, it’s deciding what to have.
Some of the dishes we sampled included the Watermelon and Grilled Halloumi salad, Paprika Chicken and Feta Phyllo Parcels and Caraway Spiced Tempura Prawns with Jalapeno and Papaya Salsa, all of which were light, full of flavour and a visual treat!
Linda’s take on the traditional Fish and Chips is phenomenal, with a member of our party saying it was possible the best they’ve ever had. The Parmesan Crumbed Chicken Breast and Grilled Calamari were memorable, but the absolute highlight of the meal was the Lamb Curry with Basmati Rice and all the trimmings…absolutely perfect.
Whether you’re looking for a great lunch spot, a romantic hideaway for date night or a fun spot to host a dinner party or year-end function, it’s easy to see why Spice has become a popular destination for both locals and those coming from further afield.
And really, with the incredible sea views and flavoursome, vast menu, why wouldn’t you want to give this outstanding oceanside gem a try?
Get In Touch
Spice Restaurant: 37 North Beach Road, Bali Hai, Westbrook / 032 943 3558
Text: Leah Shone / Photographs: Chris Allan, Peppermint Pix