There is a lovely restaurant that I sometimes go to with my friends Eric and Beverly. It is an Indian restaurant called Bihari. This is a chain of restaurants, but the one that we like is in Newlands. They focus on Northern Indian cuisine. The restaurant has mostly Indian waiters and a muted décor that adds to the atmosphere.
One bit that I really enjoy is the open kitchen which allows you to watch the chefs cooking the food. I was most interested in watching them prepare our naan bread in the tandoori oven. I have always wanted to try this bread but know that it will be virtually impossible to get the same texture and flavor as they do. We always order two Rogani naan with sesame seeds and spices as well as garlic naan. It comes tinged with seeds and spice, drizzled with ghee and still warm. The slightly charred edges add bursts of flavor. The texture is akin to a dry pancake, but it is delicious. I went and watched the chef prepare our order. The years of practice show as he expertly twisted and flattened our bread by hand stretching it into a pear shape. It was then flung to stick to the walls of the tandoori oven to cook for just a minute. It was then chopped up and brought warm to our table.
Next we have to have the Afghani Lamb Chops. These are cooked in the tandoori oven as well. They are the most tender lamb chops I have ever had; they literally melt on your tongue. I think the secret is in the yoghurt marinade which tenderizes them. They are delicately spiced with cumin and a bit of chili. They have lovely charred, caramelized edges, and the best part is you get to pick them up and chew the bones to get the meat, getting unashamedly messy in the process – they bring you wipes at the end of the meal.
We also had a chicken curry called Chicken Lababdar and lamb in a spinach sauce called lamb Gosht Sagwala. The chicken was mildly spiced and the tomato sauce was delightfully creamy. The lamb was once again meltingly tender and the spinach sauce was mildly spicy. We all thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and this is one place in Cape Town that I can heartily recommend. They also have many delightful vegetarian options on the menu, although we did not have any of them the other night. You can visit their website and have a look at their menu. They can be contacted on 021 674 7186.
Bihari is located on the Ground Floor of the Southern Sun Hotel, Main Road, Newlands.