Valentines Day Red Carpet Experience

Valentine’s day is a special day for people in love, when going out to Valentines Dinner we have high expectations of the evening.  Wow!  And that is exactly what we experienced when joining Umthunzi Hotel & Conference for their Valentines Day Dinner this year.


Upon our arrival, we were greeted with a Red Carpet Experience usually reserved for celebrities and other people much more important than us.

At our table the attention to detail was evident! There was a long stemmed red rose for my wife, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and an ice cold bottle of Swartland Winery’s Curveé Brut Champagne.

“Special” – That is the word that we associate with our Valentine’s Dinner at Umthunzi.  We were made to feel special from the moment we arrived (who would expect a red carpet!).  The attention paid to creating the right atmosphere for the evening was evident in the special touches to the décor and the food.  Walking through the hotel area it was clear that attention to detail is highly valued at Umthunzi Hotel & Conference.


No matter how you slice and dice it, food and love are inextricably tied, and Prenolan the head chef of Umthunzi Hotel clearly understands that.  A generous 6-course menu was presented and we could not wait to tuck in, Patience our friendly and efficient waitress made it feel as if we were her only table and the courses came with perfect timing.



Lamb, Rosemary & Brie Spring Rolls
Med Veg Tartlets


Tomato & Basil Soup
South African Shellfish Bisque


Smoked Salmon Blinis
Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Chives & Caviar on Melba Toast


Grapefruit, Mint, & Champagne Sorbet

Main – Buffet Style

Springbok Carpaccio with Rocket, Parmesan, & Berry Dressing
Peach, Feta Salad with Berry Vinaigrette
Confit Roasted Quail with Honey, Cumin & Orange
Lamb rack with Rosemary, Garlic & Paprika
Penne pasta Tossed with Rocket & Cherry Tomato in a Basil Pest Sauce
Garlic Whipped Potatoes
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Sauteed Courgettes
Fingerling Carrots

Dessert Platter for 2

Orange Truffles
Red Velvet Cheese Cake
Amarula Pudding with Creme Anglais


Champagne – Swartland Winery Curveé Brut
Sparkling Grape Juice

Usually with a 6-course meal we tend to overeat, yet our portions were generous but absolutely perfect, we managed to eat most of what was presented and were not in the least bit uncomfortable.

We had the Lamb, Rosemary & Brie Spring Roll as an appetizer followed by the South African Shellfish Bisque.  Both were excellent.

The meticulously plated Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Chives & Caviar on Melba Toast were out of this world with an indulgent helping of caviar (image).

The Grapefruit & Mint Champagne Sorbet was a well-executed palate cleanser, preparing us for the main Buffet.

Main Buffet

We gravitated to the meats and made sure we had each of the 3 offerings on our plates.  The Springbok Carpaccio was a unique flavor experience as was the Confit Roasted Quail with Honey, Cumin & Orange, each bite providing forks full of flavor.

Umthunzi Hotel & Conference has acquired a reputation as a Wine Connoisseurs venue with a 2016 Diners Club Platinum Wine List Award, and it was no surprise that the champagne complemented the menu splendidly.

The salads, potatoes, risotto and other veggies were an assault of richness and flavours, but the favourite dish of the evening was the Lamb Rack with Rosemary, Garlic & Paprika.  We savoured every bit of it and even resorted to finishing off the bones by hand.


The popularity of Umthunzi’s Valentine’s dinner was evident by the fact that the restaurant was full.  From young couples clearly still courting to the older still-romantic–at-heart couples to groups of people all enjoying the evening.  Though it was a full house, we never felt cramped for space or neglected.

While we often find that live music can be too loud and people cannot hear each other, that was not the case here. The musician was spot on with his selection of mood music and he recognised the need for intimacy on a special night.

With a light breeze blowing in from the Indian Ocean cooling the hot summer evening down, Umthunzi captured the romance of Valentine’s day with dimmed lights, candle lit tables and live music that didn’t overwhelm.

Will we be back?

YES!  Without any doubt.  Umthunzi Hotel & Conference is in my view a fully fledged 5 Star Hotel cleverly disguised as 3 Star Hotel, the true gem of the KZN South Coast.  It was a special evening at a special venue with a special person – an evening to remember and treasure.

Ernst Meier (Guest)

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