Indian food can be categorized by the following hot or mild throw in a Chicken tikka masala and Bunny chow or a Durban curry. That more or less is epitome of Indian food of South Africa.
Then you visit Saravana Bhavan and realise you have missed out on the hedonist pleasure of unique spice blends and recipes that took centuries to perfect. Saravana Bhavan is a pure vegetarian restaurant now adding a touch of South India in Sandton.
The franchise is known from the prestigious Hotel Saravana Bhavan which is the most popular vegetarian chain in India. The range of food that is served at the eatery is exclusively vegetarian cuisine of South India with the chefs directly from India.
With its idlies, vadas, many varieties of dosa, spicy rasam soup, and other South Indian specialties, you will experience delectable South Indian vegetarian cuisine.
The traditional South Indian fare includes a variety of chutneys, many aromatic rice dishes and specialized breads. South Indian dishes can be described as the smell of crisp vadas (lentil doughnuts), the sound of spluttering mustard seeds, the taste of hot piping sambar (lentil gravy made with tamarind), and the touch of feather-light, soft idlis (steamed rice and lentil patties).
South Indian chutneys are made of tamarind, coconut, peanuts, lentil, fenugreek seeds, and cilantro. These chutneys are light, more flavored and aromatic, and are the perfect complement to the food they accompany.
Connoisseurs of Indian food, vegetarian gourmands are bound to be blown away by the extraordinary taste sensation when trying out their extensive menu which also includes some Chinese and North Indian speciality dishes.
Saravana Bhavan serves one of the best thalis I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant. The variety changes constantly, but the thali I tried once included drumstick — an Indian vegetable, not an animal part – in creamy dal; squash sparked with cumin; two kinds of soup; stir-fried cabbage with coconut; sultry, sweet-spicy chickpea curry; a saucy potato curry; raita — thin seasoned yogurt — as well as thicker plain yogurt; payasam, a milky pudding made with vermicelli; green mango pickle; two sturdy puffs of fried bread; and a snowy hillock of rice.
How can one describe the utterly delicious food, the extraordinary tastes, the cold, just-pressed watermelon or mango juice, the lassi’s and the Madras coffee?
An experience is eating a crisp dosa, served with spicy potatoes and chutneys. Dosa (a crispy, large, rolled pancake made with rice and lentil flour). Or having to choose between meal bases such as chappathi’s (thin, soft wheat bread served with assorted chutneys and curries); parotta (South Indian fluffy bread); uthappams (thick rice and lentil pancakes); roti’s, naans, kulchas an bajji’s (vegetables such as onion, chilli or plantains deep-fried in chick pea batter).
Another firm favourite to experience is the ‘Masala Dosa’ that has been listed as one of the World’s 50 most delicious foods by CNN’s Go.com.
“Must to taste” also, is Rasam, (a South Indian mild and spicy lentil soup); gulab jamun (Indian sweet pastry drenched with syrup) and Payasam (a rice dessert, traditionally served at the end of a wedding).
A first for South Africa, Saravanaa Bhavan in Rivonia, is co-owned by Zara Karmali, who is known as one of the most sought after caterers in the wedding and corporate function business.
All the chefs are from India and are masters in the blending, tempering and the exact cooking techniques and methods that are an essential for preparing the authentic dishes.
Saravanaa Bhavan chefs are available for outside catering and demonstrations and cooking classes are held in the restaurant.
Saravanaa Bhavan is one of the largest vegetarian restaurant chains in the world, founded in 1981 and offering mainly South Indian vegetarian cuisine. They have more than 33 outlets in India (20 outlets in Chennai) and 47 around the world (including Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the United States, and the Middle East.
Where to find them: Shop F3, Rivonia Junction. It is situated on the corner of Rivonia Road and 7th avenue in Sandton. Open daily from 9 m until 11 pm. Alcohol is not for sale, but patrons can bring their own.
- Telephone: 011 234 4270
- For catering enquiries email here firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kobie Richards/ Wine & Roses/ 083 601 483/ email@example.com