First taste: Franschhoek’s new North Indian spot, Marigold by Vanie Padayachee

Marigold Indian Restaurant, Vanie Padayachee’s new spot at Leeu Collection (formerly Le Quartier Français) in Franschhoek, has been drawing the crowds. We sent self-confessed Indian-cuisine fanatic Ingrid Jones to test-drive the menu.

Fast facts

Parking: On the street
Serves: Authentic Indian
Best for: Any occasion
Star ratings: Food 5, ambience 4, service 5


If you haven’t been to Marigold authentic Indian restaurant in Franschhoek, you’re missing out. It’s spicy and amazingly fragrant – what a treat. The sharing menu is highly recommended, allowing you to try little bits of everything.

A photo posted by Marigold (@marigoldleeu) on

The food is served in copper bowls on a big copper platter, and you can dish up the quantity you’d like. The waiters bring food with names like golgappa and tamarind pani, buffalo milk paneer, nimbu machli tikka, murg makhani (more commonly known as butter chicken) and desserts like fennel-seed kulfi, tandoor-baked pineapple and saffron crumble with coconut.

A photo posted by Marigold (@marigoldleeu) on

Everything on the menu is really good, but the butter chicken and deep-fried spinach are my favourites by far. Our waiter recommends the fish, which is also a winner and über delicious. To end, the kulfi, served on an ice lolly stick and flavoured with cardamom, vies for attention from your taste buds.

A photo posted by Marigold (@marigoldleeu) on

You should absolutely eat with your hands; there’s just something special about it. Afterwards you’ll still catch the aromas lingering on your fingertips…

Chef Vanie Padayachee has a good thing going on here.

A photo posted by Marigold (@marigoldleeu) on


The wine list is quite extensive, with Mullineux & Leeu Family wines taking pride of place on the menu. Analjit (or BAS) Singh, the owner of the Leeu Collection properties, has a bubbly named after him, which makes a really good end to the meal. If you’d like craft beer as an option, Tuk Tuk Microbrewery just across the street is also part of the Leeu Collection, and its wares appear on the drinks list.

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The waiters are excellently trained and know anything and everything about the origin of the dishes, the way they are prepared, the street food traditions of India, and what makes north-Indian cuisine different from that of other regions.

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If you’re looking for Indian elements everywhere, Marigold is not that kind of establishment. There are subtle hints like the traditional hand paintings presented as art; the colours are bold yet understated. There’s lots of light streaming in and you have enough room to feel relaxed. The aromas from the kitchen are very enticing.

A photo posted by Marigold (@marigoldleeu) on


It’s really refreshing to have an authentic Indian restaurant in the heart of the Winelands. If you’re not familiar with Indian food, the waiters and maître d’ are on hand to assist you through the process.

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

Have you dined at Marigold in Franschhoek? Write a review to put it in the running for the Best Indian category of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries later on in 2017. Write a review now.

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