Tucked away in a corner on the 2nd floor of the Gateway Theatre of Shopping is a brightly decorated little restaurant in Umhlanga called De’Ma. It had been recommended to friends of ours who were on holiday in Umhlanga from Cape Town and we joined them there last week for dinner.
To be honest I was not bowled over by the service; when my husband and I arrived at approximately 18h30 we were the only customers in the restaurant and we still had to signal for the waiter’s attention in order to get ourselves a beverage! The food however, was delicious and once we’d got over the shock of being asked to pay R75 corkage (this was dropped to R35 after a call to the restaurant’s owner) we got stuck in and really enjoyed our meals.
De’Ma specializes in authentic Durban style curries and North Indian cuisine. I had been told on two separate occasions that they do fantastic bunny chows and had our visit been at lunch time I would more than likely have tried a quarter bunny (for those of you who don’t know, a bunny chow is either a half or quarter loaf of fresh white bread hollowed out and filled with the curry of your choice) but I’m trying to cut down on carbs and all that white bread after 19h00 was a definite no-no!
Instead I tried the lamb amritsari which is obviously lamb, cooked in a coconut and mustard seed sauce. It was thoroughly delicious and at R89 the large portion served was well worth the price. My husband opted for his tried and tested favourite of lamb curry which he also thought was very tasty. The curries are not served with rice so we ordered three bowls between the seven of us. At R20 a bowl for steamed rice the sharing option is definitely the way to go.
The menu is fairly extensive with various bunny chows, rotis (bean, lamb and chicken are the main options for these two dishes), curries and breyanis to choose from. The choice of curries ranges from chicken, lamb, vegetable as well and peas and mushroom. The vegetarian dishes are R65 while the chicken and lamb are both R89.
There is a slightly larger selection of breyanis; in addition to the chicken, lamb and vegetable there is also the choice of paneer, fish and prawn. The North Indian curries range from lamb or chicken kadai and amritsari (these are all R89). There is also a lamb jalfrezi or vindaloo and chicken options are tikka masala or butter chicken. These too are R89. If you fancy a fish dish there are six different dishes to choose from while vegetarians will be content with the eleven choices on offer.
For those with children who do not yet have a palate for curry, a kids’ menu is available with options like chicken and chips or chicken fried rice.
We enjoyed our evening at De’Ma even though the service wasn’t the quickest it could have been. Located in close proximity to the Nouveau cinemas, De’Ma is the ideal place to stop for a pre or post movie meal … I don’t know about you but I try to avoid mall food courts like the plague! I will definitely be back to have my first ever Durban bunny chow!
Where & When?
De’Ma is located at shop F179 at Gateway Theatre of Shopping.
The restaurant is open from 10h30 to 21h00.
The telephone number is +27 (0)31 566-24500
Umhlanga Travel Plans