Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Leeu Collection launches Marigold, Franschhoek's first authentic Indian restaurant

Franschhoek now has a good authentic Indian restaurant; not Cape Malay, not Durban Indian, but real subcontinent Indian. It opened to the public on December 8th. It is part of the Leeu Collection and is on Main Street/Heritage Square. We were invited to a media lunch just before it opened and sampled a lot of the delicious food
The prancing lion at the entrance is hard to miss
Look for the sign
A traditional Indian welcome by the Restaurant Manager, Shubhendu Vyas
Our foreheads are anointed with oil - PRO for the Leeu Collection Nicolette Waterford is the recipient ...
... a Bindi of a marigold petal is applied ....
... and more marigold petals are scattered in our hair
Then a welcoming glass of Bas Brut MCC
Jean van der Walt, Leeu Collection  Marketing Executive, Matthew Smith, Area General Manager of the Leeu Collection and social media specialist Linda Potgieter of The Squashed Tomato
Outside seating with umbrellas for shade
Hot crisp Punjabi samoosas with a tamarind dipping sauce were served as canapés
Inside, the restaurant is spacious, airy and light, with seating for 60 and 20 outside.
Lots of on trend modern touches with the touches of copper and retro chairs
A Mandala with marigold petals
Matthew Smith, GM of the Leeu Collection, welcomes us
and we meet the Executive chef, Vanie Padayachee, originally from Durban and, until recently, part of the Quartier Français culinary team.
Two of the white wines served with lunch: Mullineux Old Vines 2015 and the Kloof Street 2016 Old Vine Chenin Blanc. Both good with the spicy food
The lunch menu
Rice and chickpea poppadoms, served with a green coriander dip and a mango pickle atchar
Sitting down to eat
Enjoying the starters, Lynne with Nicolette Waterford, Myrna Robins and Siegfried Schäfer
This was our favourite starter of the day: Palak Chaat. Spinach leaves coated with gram flour batter and deep fried in oil, then topped with two chutneys and a sweetened curd. Oh, so crisp and mouth-watering with the different flavours and textures
This is Golgappa with a tamarind sauce (Pani), which you pour into the tiny, crisp, bite-sized orbs and pop whole into your mouth. They are made from potato and chick peas. Two new culinary experiences
Some Mullineux 2014 Shiraz. It is aromatic, spicy and silky, then the fruit acids arrive leaving a spicy end; also great with the Indian food
A hairnet of marigold petals
Shubhendu Vyas explains the main courses. We ate family style, sharing the dishes on the table as they arrived
Turning over the pastry top of the fragrant and fresh tender lamb biryani, steamed in a traditional Dam pot, which was slightly dry, but helped by the gravies in the other dishes ...
... the thick and creamy deboned Butter chicken (England's most popular curry dish) and the Palak Paneer (squares of paneer cheese in pureed spinach with tomatoes
Nimbu Machli Tikka; yogurt and spice marinated fish, cooked in a Tandoor oven, and fiery hot with spice. Great with a squeeze of the lemon
Jeera mutar pulao: Steamed rice with peas, tempered with cumin seeds and butter
A crowded table. On the left is a basket of Naan bread and some vegetable yoghurt Raita
John's selection. He also had a beer from the Tuk Tuk Brewery across the road, which is another component of the Leeu Collection
Dessert was pineapple baked in the Tandoor oven with a coconut and fennel khulfi (frozen) with a saffron crumb, and it was absolutely delicious. It was served with the sticky and sweet 2015 Mullineux and Leeu Straw Wine
And finally as is traditional at the end of Indian meals, Mukhwas, the fennel seed and candy sweetmeat to freshen your breath and aid digestion
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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