The Cargo Hold

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uShaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa

The Cargo Hold Durban Reviews

rsummo rsummo
35 reviews
Novel, Tourisy, a Tad Expensive But Really Good. Jun 30, 2010
Reservations are essential for both Lunch and Dinner.

Dress code: Smart casual (no flip flops or shorts for Dinner sitting)

Children under the age of 12 yrs are not permitted for Dinner sitting

Deep inside the touristy area of uShaka Marine World likes a fake old, old wooden ship. Inside this fake old, old wooden ship is an extremely touristy yet interesting restaurant known as the Cargo Hold. The Cargo Hold was a place I wanted to check out because it’s listed in my Lonely Planet guidebook as being novel because it has a shark tank for one of its walls; you sit at a classily decorated table, fine linen napkin in your lap, and a sheet of reinforced glass separates you from the sharks that swim by and stare at you as you eat. Sure enough, it was an apt description and an enjoyable experience. I went in for a lunch on a Wednesday afternoon and had a surprisingly good meal.

I say surprisingly because giving its location and novelty, I had low expectations for the food. However, I thought the food was great. I had a salad to start - the Bacon, Pear and Gorgonzola salad to be exact - and it was fantastic. The pear was poached in a sweet raspberry wine sauce and the combination of the bacon cheese and fruit flavors was incredible. The main dish I ordered was their catch of the day (Kingklip) prepared in a Thai red-curry sauce, which was also incredible. My vegetarian girlfriend ordered up the vegetable risotto, and she enjoyed it thoroughly. Portions were generous without being offensive – only some of the risotto came home with us. For desert we split the delicious chocolate lava cake (hence why some of the risotto came home with us). The place was not cheap, but given the quality of the food I was not disappointed. My fish entrée ran R100, which is about $13. This price would be great in the US, but you can certainly eat for cheaper in Durban. Still, if you have a few ‘expensive’ meals budgeted for your trip, it would be very worthwhile to include the Cargo Hold as one of them.

I’ve nothing bad to say about the service. The wait staff was friendly, professional and competent.

The location of the restaurant makes it very easy to get to. uShaka World is a very popular tourist location, so taxis know it well, and the People Mover Bus can bring you there for only R4. Given the décor, the Cargo Hold would make a great date place, or a great family restaurant, provided you can secure a table right against the glass. If you are bringing kids, please for the love of god call ahead and book a table right against the glass, or else your children will spend all of 30 seconds at your table before they get up and walk over past some one else’s table and put their faces against the glass, disrupting the dining experience of the better prepared patrons. Don’t be those parents. They say (as do most things in South Africa) that booking is essential. I wouldn’t say it’s essential, especially for lunch, but it’s definitely a good idea anyway. We strolled in for lunch at an off hour (2:30ish) and couldn’t get a table directly against the glass. As you can imagine, the front row tables are limited in number, so we had to opt for a table in the second row back from the glass, which was still positioned well for the shark viewing.
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The Cargo Hold Map
photo by: mrgishi