By Naushad Khan
The Table Bay Hotel is arguably one of the finest hotels in this city. Located in the busiest tourist destination in Africa, the V&A Waterfront, this five star property exudes grandeur and luxury from the moment one steps in.
Being one of my favourite spots, I always find any excuse to visit and celebrate special occasions here. We recently had a birthday celebration and decided to have a private dinner at the Atlantic Grill, which besides serving the best breakfast around, also offers an excellent dinner menu as well.
But I wanted to make this celebration a little bit more special and challenged newly appointed Che du Cuisine Joseph Govender to prepare a special mains menu of authentic Durban Indian cuisine. Indian food has travelled the globe and you will find it in almost every corner of the world. I was amazed to find three Indian restaurants in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia when we visited in December 2012.
However, the food does change in taste and offerings everywhere. The Durban Indian style of cooking was adapted to suit what local produce was available to the early Indian settlers in Natal since the 1860s.
Chef Govender hails from Durban and his special main menu for our dinner included a fish curry, prawn curry, lamb curry, chicken breyani and dhall. His seafood preparations were typical south Indian styled dishes and served with the soft pan fried rotis (chapatti).
The lamb curry had its moment, but just could not compete with the fragrant chicken and rice dish. Breyanis have been around for a very long time and originated in the kitchens of the Mughal Emperors. It is a rice based dish with spices and can be prepared in many ways.
Some favourite recipes include lamb, fish, chicken or a vegetarian option. To make a real breyani requires patience and a good knowledge of which spices to use. Bravo to Chef Govender and his team at the Atlantic Grill. This was a true Durban styled chicken breyani. It took me back to my days in Durban dining at the famous Sea Belle Restaurant in La Mercy on the North Coast.
Sometimes it is worth the effort to make an advanced request if you want to have a memorable dining experience for a special occasion. We are fortunate to live in a city that has so many top hotels with some amazing chefs that are more than willing to go the extra mile for their guests.
With a menu that includes smoked Franschhoek trout, oysters and pearls just for starters and mouth watering mains such as beef fillet and a few Cape Malay originals, you are sure to find something to leave you satisfied.
* The Atlantic Grill is open from 6.30am to 10.30am daily for breakfast and from 7pm to 10.30pm for dinner.
Call 021 406 5000 for reservations.