Sunday, December 30, 2012

Restaurant Review: Ile Maurice, Umhlanga Rocks

We had a luxurious three hour Christmas Eve dinner at a Mauritian- French restaurant called Ile Maurice in Umhlanga Rocks (a popular beach destination about 20 minutes’ drive from Durban). It was by far the best meal we had in Durban; actually, it easily was the best meal I’ve had since moving to Africa! Dinner at Ile Maurice was the first time I’ve tasted Mauritian food, which I can best describe as a delicious, greed-inducing combination of flavorful French food and island spices. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures during dinner, because I was too wrapped up in an eating frenzy to do so.  J

Scott and I both started with the crab soup, which, in contrast to the heavy, creamy bisque I have grown to expect when I order “crab soup,” was delightfully light, flavorful and spicy. For our main courses, Scott ordered the Carre D’Agneau Grille, a flavorful rack of lamb and I had the Canard a L’Orange, a very tender half duck basted in a delicious red wine and Grand Marnier sauce. Buttery mashed potatoes and lightly grilled vegetables for the table were excellent accompaniments to our mains. Finally, dessert: Crème Brulee Madame Mauvis (restaurant founder) for Scott and rich, creamy cheesecake for me. Très délicieux!

While the restaurant itself was very cute and had a nice view of the ocean from the top floor where we were seated by the window, a negative side to the evening was the drunken antics of the elderly South African couple seated at the table next to ours. As the couple consumed more and more champagne (for her) and brandy (for him) their arguing became louder and increasingly vulgar, with her shouting obscenities at him and him slamming his hand on the table violently. Later in the evening, the woman went on an anti-Jewish rant and circulated to each table, aggressively demanding that guests prove they are “Christians and not Jews” by wishing her a merry Christmas. This was amusing at first, but quickly got old and I was surprised that management did not do more to control the situation and/or kick the couple out of the restaurant once they started disturbing other guests. 

Restaurant Rating (ON A SCALE OF  TO )

AMAZING – trunk and tail-swinging good!
I had a lot of duck in China but never one like this. YUM.
AMAZING – trunk and tail-swinging good!
The waiter was very knowledgeable and I was impressed that they gave us a whole pitcher of ice water, impressive for a French restaurant!
The elephant in the room says this place needs improvement.
A nice spot, but the angry arguing and anti-Semitism were mood killers. Christmas Eve, people!
Overall Experience
Trunk-swinging good.
Had it not been for the drunken couple, Ile Maurice would have easily gotten five elephants.

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