The great Cape Town curry-off

Cath Shone and Caro de Waal get curried away at Bukhara and the Bombay Brasserie in Cape Town.

by: Caro de Waal and Cath Shone | 18 Mar 2010
Bombay brasserie

Bukhara, Bombay Brasserie… Bukhara, Bombay Brasserie?

Imagine. You’re stuck in boring old Cape Town and you fancy a good (authentic) Indian. But you want the best. Weeell, the best, ladies and gentlemen, is to be found at the Bombay Brasserie at the Taj Hotel on Wale Street.

A bold statement we know (I can practically hear the pin drop) – but as sure as God made sambals The Bombay Brasserie IS the premier curry destination in Cape Town. And for all those Bukhara faithfuls out there (myself included), fear not… it’s not that your favourite curry house has gone south (in fact if anything,  it’s improved since the fire and subsequent renovations last August), no, my fanatical friends, there is just a new BIG DOG in town.

So, up to the challenge and buoyed with loads of advice on where we should be storing our toilet paper, we headed to the top two Indian eateries in Cape Town for a curry-off.  Accompanied by 48 hours Brian Berkman and his partner JP we lunched at Bukhara and dined at Bombay Brasserie.

Not for the faint-hearted.

Bukhara: Always impressive.

The starters were interesting with the new ‘street food’ section lending a relaxed authenticity and something a little less pricy than the main menu. The dosas (large, crisp potato pancake with different fillings) were great and the salmon off the a la carte was heaven. The chicken tikka arrived lonely and dry on the plate for R69 which we felt was very un-Bukhara, whilst the Kastoori Jhinga (prawns in a mild chickpea marinade) were luscious and large.

For the mains, the must-have butter chicken was so more-ish that even when the top buttons had been surreptitiously released, we could not stop our forks from dipping in. The prawn biryani was an outright winner though, and we wowed and ahh-ed when it arrived at the table, covered in a cap of naan. We cut it open to reveal a steaming fragrance that was just beautiful and wooed us into some serious non-stop fork dunking.

Starters: R44-R84 Mains: R109-R249

The Bombay Brasserie: Sensational.

The ambience here is extravagant serenity with perfect lighting and breathtaking blue Murano glass chandeliers. We felt like a couple of Indian princesses whisked away on a magic carpet. The food experience is just that, an experience. Because they offer silver service, it  allows you to taste the various dishes that were ordered at your table.

The spiced corn soup was a perfect start to the fragrance and delicate spice journey that followed. The chicken kebab was one of the most succulent ever tasted and huge perfectly done prawns are juicy and delicately spiced.

 A whole baby leg of lamb on the bone was impressive and delicious and the vegetarian options shine as brightly as the meat. Desserts are traditional with things like a creamy chai crème brulee and a rich cardamom ice cream.

Starters: R55-R110  Mains: R60-R275

Not a day our tummies are likely to forget for a while. Check out  Brian's thoughts.

Now we’re sure there are some Kebab Mahal and Chandani fans out there who will object to the lofty titles we’ve bestowed upon these two places… so please, by all means, leave your comments below. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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