The Post Office Centre in Illovo is quite the foodie’s paradise. With old favourites like Assaggi and The Patisserie and new entrants such as Escondido (I reviewed it a few weeks ago), there is no dearth of eating places to choose from. Added to this list is the newly opened Indian restaurant – Ahara, which means food in Telugu (an Indian language). Run by Kalay and her husband Deena Chetty, this restaurant specialises in North Indian flavours.
I went on a Thursday with K for dinner and the restaurant was fairly busy. Most of the diners were first timers like us and looked really excited to try the food. The decor of the place is simple with a mix and match of furniture. There are larger windows to one side which gives the place a lot of air and light. A large mural of an Indian royal painted on one of the walls is a really nice touch.
The waiters were really friendly and eager to please and the host Deena spoke to the diners at each table to ensure things were fine. Being Indians, K and I are no strangers to the flavours and spices and have eaten at a fair number of Indian restaurants all around Joburg. The food at Ahara was far better than what we have had at a lot of other places. We could really taste the actual north Indian flavours in the food and the spice quotient for each dish could be selected as per taste- mild, medium or hot.
For starters, we ordered a platter for one but it was big enough for two! It consisted of 2 chicken tikka, 2 malai tikkas, 2 samoosas a,d 3 onion bhajjis. I really enjoyed the onion bhajjis (spicy, deep fried onions in batter) and the tikkas – small pieces of boneless chicken, marinated in spices and yogurt and baked in a tandoor.
For mains, we shared a portion of dal makhni (black lentils), chicken jal frezi (chicken cooked in a tomato-based gravy with green peppers) and Indian breads. While the dal was ok, the chicken was really flavoursome. Each of the mains came with a portion of rice as well. The serving sizes were quite large and could be easily shared between two people. We had enough to takeaway too! The only negative were the takeaway bags – they used black plastic bags which were a little off-putting as they are akin to garbage bags. Brown paper bags, white plastic or no plastic at all would be better.
Cost wise, dishes at Ahara have been quite competitively priced and a meal for two – one starter, two mains and some breads, will come up to R250 approximately. So if you are around Illovo sometime, it’s worth popping in for some delicious curry!