The menu is comprehensive, and allows diners to order half portions at half price, in addition to a range of different offerings for diners with different requirements. Start with spinach pakoras (a version of the chilli bite), paneer finger pakoras (fingers of homemade cheese, dipped in chickpea flour and deep-fried), or try a poppadum topped with a layer of fresh tomato and onion chilli. Mains include great Indian dishes: lamb dopiaza with garam masala and cumin; a Mughal dish made with lots of onion; or kingklip and prawn biryani with saffron, cream and butter.
The wine list offers a large selection of aromatic wines, which are great for Indian food, most notably bukettraube, rosé, blanc de noir and viognier. Other options include a number of pinotages (Warwick and the Barista Coffee Pinotage) and many great sauvignon blancs. Of course, the best drinks to accompany the food are refreshing lassis or masala chai.
Sitar appears to be a favourite of a cross-section of people, with many families with children enjoying dinner rather early. Waiters are seldom fazed and manage anything coming their way with aplomb and efficiency.
Although the chairs looked a little like torture devices, this is a friendly, bright restaurant – fresh flowers and swags of white curtains emphasise the high ceilings – housed in a large, circular room with a large balcony, which must be great in summer.
Perhaps the fact that only salt is offered on the table speaks of the care taken to get the flavours just right. Those with a sweet tooth should opt for a peshwari naan (studded with cashews, raisins and a bit of sugar) for dessert, or attempt one of the more traditional sweets like gulab jamun, kheer or burfee ice cream. (HF, October 2012)