The Terrace Tea Garden in Illovo Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is a delightful eatery that caters for a wide variety of age groups, tastes, and preferences. Situated within the lush greenery of the Illovo Nursery in Elizabeth Avenue just opposite the popular ATKV Natalia holiday resort, the Terrace Tea Garden has become popular with both locals and holiday makers alike.
Owners Yvonne Swift and Lesley Austin have created a winning menu that has everything you’d expect a good tea garden to have. A selection of cooked breakfasts ranging from the simple Mini Me to the massive Mega (R60), a ‘man-sized meal’ comprising two eggs, three rashers of bacon, a hash brown, two pork sausages, mushrooms, grilled tomato, chips and toast, are available till 11am after which lunch is served.
In addition to their popular Sunday roast (R72), the Terrace Tea Garden offer a number of lunch dishes, all of which are unlikely to disappoint even the hungriest patrons. Meals include grilled chicken (R59), beef curry (R62), lamb curry (R74), the rib and chicken strip basket (R80), surf ‘n turf (R91), deep-fried calamari (R69), the seafood combo (R94), chicken schnitzel (R64) and the chicken burger and chips (R50).
With such an inviting selection I had difficulty deciding what to have, but I eventually selected the chicken burger and chips, which included a helping of onion rings and salad. Realising that the burger was likely to be somewhat on the dry side, I requested a helping of mushroom sauce (R14) to remedy this. The result was possibly the best chicken burger and chips I have ever had.
The patty was tender and flavoursome and was perfectly complimented by the tasty sauce, crispy French fries and the lovely golden brown onion rings. The meal was also extremely well-presented and, at only R64, represented outstanding value for money.
Mary-Anne had the chicken schnitzel and chips (R64), which included a side salad and a choice of either cheese or mushroom sauce. She loved the dish, remarking that it “tasted amazing”, and that the portions were “huge”. Judging by the quality, presentation, and taste of our dishes I had no reason to doubt that the rest of the menu offered meals of an equally high calibre.
Despite the various mouth-watering offerings that were available both Mary-Anne and I were unable to enjoy dessert. Our main meal portions had simply been too big. What a pity, considering the likes of lemon meringue pie, Turkish delight cheese cake, and Mozart gateau were there for the taking!
After settling our bill, we decided to have a look around and were pleased to discover a gift and curio shop, pet shop (that stocks a variety of birds, fish, and dog and cat products) and an animal farm. Although this particular example did not quite compare with other animal farms I had encountered during past travels, it was still rather interesting.
Besides containing a number of animals including pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, ducks and geese, there were also a number of parrots, cockatoos and other exotic bird life, as well as a variety of snakes such as Egyptian cobras, Burmese pythons, anacondas, corn snakes, and night adders. However, the highlight of the park was undoubtedly Chicken, an impressive one-metre, orange-hued male iguana.
Although iguanas are generally identified as being green or a type of pale blue-grey, male iguanas develop an orange-red colouring as breeding season approaches. In some iguanas the orange colour may be diffused over the entire body, which seemed to be the case with Chicken.
With a small crowd in attendance, Chicken was released from his cage and immediately made a dash (iguanas can move rather quickly when they want to) for the adjacent cage, which housed another male iguana. Clearly spoiling for a fight he was quickly gathered up by a staff member and placed back in his cage before any fireworks could occur. Defeated, he retreated to a corner but not before posing for the camera. Boy what a specimen!
I really enjoyed my visit to the Terrace Tea Garden. The food was excellent, the service prompt and efficient and the atmosphere most uplifting. The lovely tropical setting of Illovo Nursery provides an almost idyllic location for this fantastic little eatery, which is a must visit for anyone holidaying in this part of the South Coast.
The Terrace Tea Garden is open from 8am to 4pm daily and is fully licensed. Tuesday is pensioner’s day on which senior citizens can enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee with their meals plus a 10 percent discount on their bill. Group bookings for the Sunday roast as well as for club lunches and end of the year functions are also welcome. There’s even a kids area and party venue with jungle gyms, bikes and a jumping castle. Now that’s a full house in anyone’s books!
Telephone: +27 (0)31 916-6212
Physical address: 40 Elizabeth Avenue, Illovo Beach, KwaZulu-Natal
GPS Co-ordinates: S30°7’12.36” E30°50’47.26”