The best way to judge a good curry is to start with the basics. You won’t be disappointed with dishes like the perfectly grilled chunks of fish tikka; tandoori-style fish (a definite highlight); a saucy and richly flavoured butter chicken; and lamb korma, mopped up with the puffiest garlic naan and tempering lemon rice.
Other starters could include anything from their tandoor or singri menu – grilled bites hot off the coals – prawns, lamb chops, mushrooms, broccoli or kebabs. Your tastebuds won’t find anything to fault, with a menu designed to satisfy anyone after tasty Indian fare – with modest options of chicken, fish, meat, seafood and vegetarian grilled and curry items from a predominantly North Indian heritage, as well as some South Indian dishes like dosa and paneer thrown in.
If you have a sweet tooth, there’s a condensed milk-based carrot pudding – gajar ka halwa. Also try their ice cream flavoured with saffron, or more traditional ones infused with coconut, mango, litchi or halva.
Expect a decent and conventional selection of South African beers and wines, along with four international champagnes and local wines. They pair well with all the spicy flavours on offer.
Waitrons provide an effortless dining experience. Attentive but never intrusive.
Could do with a more relaxed, modern and effusive update to the décor and spirit. Family-friendly but formal, the restaurant is filled with businessmen and tourists because of its location inside a mall in the financial district, as well as because of its proximity to hotels and conference facilities.
You may bump into top dignitaries and celebrities indulging in their favourite tandoori or masalas.
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Since November 1995 when it opened, Bukhara, and its handful of branches popping up around South Africa, has leveraged the tagline “arguably the finest Indian cuisine on planet earth” to attract a picky clientele. Predominately of north Indian origin, and heavily influenced by the South African taste preferences, Bukhara keeps the business set from the CBD, families and couples on dates happy with its long-time favourites like the chicken tikka in a fragrant yogurt marinade, butter chicken and the lamb Rogan josh. Capetonians love a good butter chicken curry, and Bukhara’s is one of the most ordered items on their menu – tender pieces of chicken in their signature tomato and cashew nut sauce; perfect with basmati rice or buttery chunks of chewy naan bread. As with most Indian food in South Africa, there is none that can be said to be authentically Indian, nevertheless, the restaurant does solid versions of popular favourites like North Indian-style lamb biryani and paneer in a spinach (palak) sauce and a rich tomato gravy (shahi). There’s even an ostrich version of the tikka, and a crayfish tak a tak – a thick tomato and onion gravy, paying homage to local ingredients. Opt for the South Indian dosa, the Chettinad chicken (far milder than the ones found in Tamil Nadu, South India) or the fish curry with fenugreek and black mustard seeds for punchier flavours. Or try the creamy lamb korma if you’d prefer something mild and comforting. The saffron kulfi ice cream and ras malai – paneer dumplings with saffron and cream – make for a decadent ending.
The restaurant serves a very good selection of well-priced wines, with emphasis on the whites and chilled reds that suit the spice element found in the food. A small, classic cocktail menu is available, as is the ever-popular mango lassi.
Staff are well trained, as can be expected from this restaurant group, and usually very efficient and pleasant.
Once you get past the awkward entrance off Church Street and up the stairs, the deep emerald marble floors and dark wood furniture transport you to a world that is mysterious and richly spiced. A dark space with heavy furniture, Bukhara plays on the opulence of the grand old days and draws a business crowd during the day and others at night. Parking can be tough to procure in the area.
If you’re a party of 10 or more, the set menus offer an amazing showcase of the kitchen’s best dishes.
My friend Jean made a booking for 9 people on 13th Feb at 14.45 to eat at Grand West. We were booked for the second Rodriguez night - 21st Feb - to eat at 18.00pm. Booking was made with Shaheed.
Four of us arrived early at 17.45pm only to be told Bukhara had cancelled our booking because they were unable to confirm with Jean. I promptly phoned Jean and got through - no problem.
Bukhara were unmoved and said we should have confirmed ourselves and we couldn't expect them to honour our reservation.
They would easily have filled our table on such a busy night. There was no need to confirm and they might have at least been sorry. Instead they were hostile to us. I suspect they got the number wrong and they knew it.
Met my (American) VP for lunch after he arrived in the country. After 25 minutes I had to find someone to come and help us (despite the table next to us getting regular service). We opted for the buffet in the end, which consisted of two tables of unlabeled dishes so we had no idea how hot anything would be or what kind of meat it contained.
When our bill arrived the waiter who spent less than 5 minutes in total helping us had the gall to ask if we were adding a service charge (i.e. his tip).
Really poor experience. Never going back.
Food was ok, but the prices are higher than expected for the quality and the flavour of the dishes. The place is nicely decorated as well as ambience cozy due to the illumination.