Venues

Bukhara (Cape Town)

Bukhara (Cape Town)
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Cost
R150 avg main meal
Ambience
Authentic culture, Classic elegance
Food
Indian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Ishay Govender-Ypma

Food
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.

Drinks
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.

Service
Staff are well trained, as can be expected from this restaurant group, and usually very efficient and pleasant.

Ambience
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.

And…
If you’re a party of 10 or more, the set menus offer an amazing showcase of the kitchen’s best dishes.

(August 2015)

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User reviews

  • We loved the upper class, yet authentic Indian feel to Bukhara Cape Town. Add to that the open window kitchen and the ambiance is the best thing about Bukhara. The food was good, spices spot on, good meat quality, but not great naan bread and overall for what you are charged and come to expect of Bukhara, quality rather below proper Indian cuisine par. The waiter was clueless, but the floor manager's professionalism made up for it.
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  • I have come here before during a "busy period" on weekends and had received decent service and great food. However! Do not bother to come in the week, on your day off with you boyfriend/fiance or husband during their "non busy times"... You will be ignored at the door, expected to disappear. Upon walking in and speaking to staff you will be told that lunch I served until 3pm. Do not dare come at 2:30 and expect to be welcomed. You will be told to leave due to it being almost 3 o clock! This has happened to us twice. I refuse to return.
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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Booked a table last night at Bukhara. Where do I begin, the service and food were shockingly bad. Firstly, the waiter could hardly speak a word of English, he knew nothing about the various curries, the naan breads were cold on arrival, the curries were supposed to be boneless. The one was full of tiny splintered pieces of bone, the other chicken curry was full of fat & hard pieces of grizzle. We asked three times for napkins, they never arrived. We waited for a further 15 minutes to speak to a manager about our dissatisfaction and no one came to assist us! The red wine at R40 per glass was hot and fizzy. We got up and walked out. I will never go back to any branches for that matter. They truly dont care about customer care. Ive experienced this with the other branches and Haiku in Burg Street.
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  • What a rip-off!Poor food and terrible service. No menus, utensils or napkins. Unfriendly and very inefficient staff. Poor curries that cost in excess of R100. Cold naans. The whole experience was terrible, and we will never go to any of Bukhara restaurants again. Its a complete ripoff and a disgrace.
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  • Having eaten with great enjoyment at Bukhara in Stellenbosch and Cape Town I happened to be in Grand West on Sunday evening and decided to test out the quality of Bukhara by the Casino. I have to say I was very disappointed with the whole experience! Upon arrival a lady who I assume was the manager was focused on her PC screen (not sure what she was doing) and it was a bit of a struggle to get her attention and it then felt that I was a real irritation by asking if I could get a table. It took quite some time to order my food and the service was very average. When I finally got the food it was quite bland and I did not get what I asked for and there was no real apology. Overall a real let down compared with the other Bukhara locations!!! Will not be going back
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  • The curries were tasty - certainly no better or worse than anywhere else in Cape Town. We were going to a show at the Arena and while we gave ourselves a good hour and forty minutes for dinner our waitress generously embroiled us in her own personal drama by whipping us through the meal at a speed which bordered on rude (think removing plates while the diner still had a fork in his mouth). Her previous night’s clients had run out on her but ultimately she wasn’t the only one to feel ripped off. For a single course meal including 2 bottles (of their most reasonable) wine, we paid R250 a head.
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  • we went out for an annivesary dinner, the food was bland in indian taste and we could not get anything hot (chilli) which was disappointing and after waiting for dessert for 15 min we were told they were out of stock!!!!
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  • Food, Service, Ambience.....if you are a lover of Indian food, this and you never have taken a trip to a Bukhara, then this one is definitely a must. The food is OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD.
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Facilities

  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian

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