I was invited a while ago to try out Bhandaris Indian restaurant in Westlake, they had recently defranchised from Bihari and were keen to let everyone know that. I put off going because the last time I was in Westlake, I ate at some dodgy pub and it was all so horrible that I didn’t review it as I just wanted to forget about it. Also, Westlake is far away from Seapoint, where I live.
Then I needed a venue for a lunch meeting with the Slow Food Mother City committee and they are all in the southern suburbs so I decided we should all go to Bhandaris. Firstly, it’s not in the dodgy Westlake area by the Blue Route mall, it’s on the way to Steenberg in the Westlake Lifestyle Centre. I’ve never been into this centre before, it’s really nice. There are lots of shops and restaurants, with plenty of parking. There is even a kids play area and the whole centre is nice and clean. I was really surprised and impressed.
When I walked into Bhandaris I was again surprised and impressed, it’s really nice. I don’t know why but I had really low expectations. The place is huge (is it even legal for an Indian restaurant to be small?) but it doesn’t lose its atmosphere because some of the sections are separate like the private function area and the bar. The decor modern and stylish but with tasteful Indian elements which, when combined with the Indian chefs which are visible in the open section of the kitchen, gave the place an authentic feel.
We started with a cocktail in the enormous bar area. They have about six huge leather couches with big coffee tables in between, so you can imagine the size. The cocktails are unusual but tasty. I had a Goomsbay Smash (coconut infused rum is shaken cold with a green melon liqueur, pineapple puree and well rounded with a triple sec, freshly squeezed lime juice and a dash of vanilla syrup – R38). Then we headed to our table.
On Sundays they have a buffet (R100) with several starters and a selection of curries. It also includes your breads and dessert. We opted for a la carte because there were certain things we wanted to try. We started by sharing the vegetarian (R80) and the meat (R120) starter platters. They say they are each for two people but it was a lot of food, we could probably have done with just one.
Then onto mains, I had the lamb Vindaloo (R105). They warned me that it was made properly so would be hot, I was excited to hear that. We also ordered a prawn biryani (R115), a palak paneer (R75) and a daal tadka (R70). The last two are vegetarian dishes and the feedback was that they were good but not the best ever. They make their own cheese and yoghurt at Bhandaris which is cool. My vindaloo was hot but not killer, I really enjoyed it. The lamb was good quality and nice and tender. The prawn biryani was fantastic, really. I normally find biryani a bit dry and boring, but this was really tasty and moist with good prawns.
The dishes come with rice, but we ordered some naans (R20) as one must. You’ve probably noticed by now that the prices are not cheap. It’s certainly the upper end of Indian in Cape Town. The prices are knocking on Bukhara in fact, the difference is that you get a really generous portion and it includes rice. I ate my fill and had enough left over for a delicious lunch the next day.
We didn’t order wine, I drank Cobra beer. I had a quick look at the wine list on the website and it looks reasonable priced with quite a wide selection.
I was really impressed with Bhandaris. I have some family on the other side of the lentil curtain with some vegetarians amongst them and I will certainly be taking them for some curry soon.
ps. They deliver and they are halaal.
Bhandaris north Indian restaurant
Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake Drive
Tel: 021 702 2975
Bhandaris is running a Mon 2 curries for R99 and on Wed and Sunday a Buffet for winter at the Westlake and Fish Hoek branches. Westlake 0217022975 Fish Hoek 0217821525.