Award-winning Melville restaurant The Leopard is changing its spots to become a deli, takeaway and catering service in a new manufacture-and-retail hybrid space at 44 Stanley in Johannesburg. Andrea Burgener and Nick Gordon’s new incarnation of The Leopard: Kitchen, Larder & Can Do is set to open in June 2017.
Chef and cookbook author Andrea says, “We want to focus on what we’re best at – making food taste good – by removing the overheads associated with a sit-down restaurant and replacing them with a ‘restaurant in your home’ concept, incorporating delivery service, catering and a larder.”
Fans of The Leopard restaurant experience need not fret too much; they can still look forward to occasional sit-down dinners at the new venue. (Find details on The Leopard website, www.leopardfoodcompany.com.)
A small takeaway menu – available to pick up directly from the shop or by delivery until 5pm – will feature dishes from the current restaurant menu as well as new items that lend themselves more to casual daytime eating. Think Fordsburg-style chicken curry, bang-bang noodles, fennel-and-chilli salad and mom-style tomato soup.
There will also be dishes ready made to reheat at home, says Andrea. “Everything from very cheesy mac ’n cheese to lamb tagine, pies and loads more soups, plus dishes to do a final cook on: marinated ribs and many other free-range meat options.”
As for catering, you can order in advance for groups over 10 from the entire repertoire: “From oven-ready stuffed quails and Congolese chicken to swimming-gala cake and granadilla-curd pavlova. For frazzled parents, there are the lunch-box emergency items to order for use the next morning: already mixed free-range chicken mayo in a tub, biltong sticks, yoghurt-and-berry pots, and banana bread.”
Home cooks will also be delighted by the selection of goodies to purchase, including some of The Leopard staples such as Quasi-Caesar dressing, apple atchar, ricotta, chilli sauce; small-farm, free-range eggs, raw jersey cream and butter; and free-range charcuterie made by co-owner Nick. “He’s worked hard over the last five or so years to source pork from a number of farmers who are raising animals in more humane, fully free-range way,” explains Andrea. As a result, fantastic rillettes, salami, bacon, sausages and more are on the cards. Soon the store will be selling a good selection of wine and beer to enjoy at home, too.
But don’t think they’ve forgotten the sweets. The new store will offer cakes and other desserts, both “evil and sugar-free”, as Andrea puts it. “In the main, we’re trying to move away from the sort of deli offerings you can get elsewhere.”
It sounds to us like they’re on track.
Visit The Leopard: Kitchen, Larder & Can Do at 44 Stanley Avenue later on in June. In the meantime, phone 011 482 9356 to place an order or visit www.leopardfoodcompany.com for more information.