I’ve only heard rave reviews about Chandani since it opened in Woodstock a few months ago. Unfortunately that raised my expectations quite a bit, resulting in a slightly disappointing experience. Not a bad experience, just not as good as I was expecting.
Woodstock can be a little dodgy (just heard last week about someone being mugged when leaving the Neighbourgoods market), but Roodebloem road is busy and well lit so it’s not a problem. A renovated house provides the venue for Chandani, and two lovely trees and some lights give the entrance a welcoming look. The decor did not disappoint, you can see they have made a lot of effort and invested quite heavily. The result is a very cozy and authentic looking venue with a warm and relaxed ambiance. This makes a pleasant change from the appaling interiors at places like Kabab Mahal and The Jewel of India.
Chandani touts itself as an Indian and vegetarian restaurant. They are not trying to trick you. The vegetarian selection is almost as big as the non vegetarian section (which is labelled non vegetarian) and the dishes sound fantastic. We didn’t have any herbivores amongst us so we didn’t try any of the vegetarian items but I’d recommend Chandani to all the vegetarians out there. Chandani serves North Indian Cuisine, the menu is not expansive but there are enough options to keep everyone happy. I had the the Kadai Gosht (R65) which was a hot lamb curry with green peppers and onions. It was tasty, although the lamb could have been more tender. We also tried the Rogan Josh (R65), quite good but I’ve had better. The last dish we tried was the Murg Makani (R55) which is basically a butter chicken. The indications of hotness are quite accurate. Mine was marked as hot, the Rogan Josh as Medium and the butter chicken as mild and we all agreed that they were exactly that. There are one or two very hot options on the menu for the sadists.
We mopped up the curries with naan breads (R13) and a bowl of steamed rice (R15). The food was good, but not amazing. I’ve had better curries around Cape Town. I was disappointed with the amount of meat though, 5 cubes of meat in a serving is just a little parsimonious for my taste. At least the prices are reasonable. Bukhara also gives you about 5 cubes but charges you double. We apologised to our tounges with some cool desserts. The Mango Lassi (R20) was ok, I prefer mine a bit cooler. The Kulfi (ice cream – R15) was not great.
We didn’t drink wine, but I had a look at the wine list. It’s short and quite pricey, everything was above R100. I find that I don’t appreciate my wine properly when I’m eating curry, so I prefer to just wash my food down with a couple of beers.
Chandani is a great place, whilst the food is not mind blowing, it’s reasonably priced and the ambiance makes up for it. I’d probably go again.
85 Roodebloem Road, Woodstock
Tel: 021 447 7887
Also one of the few places in town that makes truly vegan dishes…
We also recently, on two seperte occasions, had disappointing meals at Chandari. This was disappointing after coming across it last year and being so excited to find a good indian restaurant. The first few meals were excellent, then sadly as its popularity increased so too did the prices and the quality seemed to deteriorate. We have vowed not to return which is a shame as indian food is our favourite and Chandari its in our neck of the woods – as we live just up the road in University Estate. Hopefully they will take note and revert to the original high standard that generated such positive publicity and drew crowds.
I find it a bit culturally crude of you to describe hot curries as ‘sadistic’ and insensitive to describe vegetarians as herbivores, a term which is used to describe only animals… Maybe losen up and have some wine with your whine next time…
i couldn’t agree with you more, Dax. I decided to take my mom there for a Mother’s Day dinner… and was encouraged by the atmosphere and decor, which are both lovely. the food, however, fell far short of the recommendations I’d had from various friends. either they were having a bad night in the kitchen, or every night is a bad night in the kitchen. we had the chicken in cashew nut curry, the rogan josh and the prawns in coconut curry. not one of them was tasty at all. the cashew nut chicken was so bland as to be tasteless (i couldn’t detect any trace of cashew at all), the prawns tasted only of those desiccated coconut flakes you buy in packets, and the rogan josh, though the best of the bad bunch, was, like all the others, watered down and definitely not worth the money spent. the tastiest thing on the table was the sambals! really, i’ve had better indian food from our local takeout spot than at this raved about restaurant. and i will most definitely not ever be back.
I’ve been to Chandani several times and love its indulgent, romantic feel. I’ve had their chicken tikka, their subz makani (vegetarian) and, last night, tried a black dal dish. All were magnificent. I’ve never had a disappointing culinary experience there, but I do agree that they’re pricey. The starters, in my opinion, are ridiculously small and over-priced, but knowing this, I’m happy to give them a skip. We usually ask the owners or our waitron for their main-course suggestions, depending on what we feel like eating. Although, my boyfriend and I do have a hard time resisting our favourite dishes – for him, the Goan curry, and for me, those mentioned above. I can’t call myself a connoisseur of Indian food, and despite spending time in India recently, I try not to make comparisons. I love Chandani, I love the atmosphere, and I love the food. But I do go there knowing it’s going to put a dent in my budget. It’s not an end-of-the-month-Salticrack joint!
Thank you all for sharing your Chandani reviews–it looks like a party of 12 of us just had a narrow escape!
Besides excluding prices from their on-line menu, which immediately aroused suspicion amongst us, I just found a debate on Food24 amongst reviewers about their audacious corkage (and other) cost issues!
To Charl: I’m an out and proud ‘herbivore’ and have no qualms about calling myself one or being called such! In the same light-hearted vein that many gay men refer to each other as ‘moffies’! How culturally crude, wouldn’t you say?
I went there a while back and was expecting amazing vegan food. I wasn’t overly impressed to be honest. the best place for vegetarian/vegan curry that most of my meat eating friends love to is a little place called Maharajah (behind the rondebosch picknpay) SO GOOD!!!