You would be forgiven for thinking that a Sitar is a stringed musical instrument used mostly in Indian folk music. You would also be totally correct.
However, as it happens, we found ourselves on the most favourable end of a dinner invitation to The Sitar, a family restaurant in the Cresta mall in Johannesburg. See, this is what happens when one rubs shoulders with one of Johannesburg’s well-known photographers.
The quality and ambiance of The Sitar made me furious that I hadn’t encountered them before, but quietly grateful to our friends for this introduction and hopefully the first of many visits.
After being shown to our table, a beaming manager introduced himself while our waitress took the orders. The menu has a comprehensive selection, without differentiating the items into regional cuisine. My eye was caught by the Prawn Bhuna and in retrospect, I’m rather glad I did.
Despite the fact that the restaurant was at about 70% full while we were there, within 15 to 20 minutes that seductive blend of spicy aromas hung over our table and that contented silence, familiar to all happy diners, descended upon us.
Presentation took the form of the normal – but attractive – separation of Jasmine rice and main dish into the copper bowls. Naan breads were selected to accompany the meal and they too arrived in generous quantities.
Throughout the meal the manager and our waitress were attentive and worked hard to ensure a memorable evening.
Pricewise, I was most pleasantly surprised. You get far more gastronomic bang (if you’ll pardon the double entendre) for your buck at Sitar than you will at many of the other ‘family restaurants’ such as Spur, Dros, Cape Town Fish Market or Ocean Basket. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that even making a loose comparison between Sitar and those above, would be doing an injustice to Sitar. Naturally, I shan’t be so obtuse as to mention figures, as we were guests. But one look at the menu, bearing in mind the liberal quantities in the portions, and you too will be persuaded to visit them.
|Category||# out of 10||Notable Points|
|Perceived target market||*||A family restaurant catering to the wide mid sector of the market.|
|Date & Time of visit||*||30th October 20:00|
|Welcome/greeting||10||Greetings were warm and effusive. Wonderful Indian hospitality.|
|Manager visible?||10||The manager was present – he made several visits to ensure all was well.|
|Quality of staff||10||Our waitress – who was personable and friendly, executed the orders faultlessly|
|Ambiance||9||Décor, while modest, is unmistakably Indian. The large wall murals were splendid.|
|Table appearance||8||Cloth napkins and cutlery were spotless. It made eating a pleasure.|
|Menu variety & flexibility||8||The menu is sizeable with a large selection to choose from – also catering for non-carniverous diners.|
|Cleanliness||8||Despite it being a busy restaurant, the dining area (tables, floor, walls and fittings) were clean and appeared to adhere to the highest standards.|
|Service||10||Both our drinks and food orders were completed accurately and promptly.|
|Promptness||10||Our meal arrived within 20 minutes.|
|Food – presentation||9||Most satisfactory.|
|Ingredient quality||10||Naan bread was freshly cooked; rice was soft and feathery without being porridgy. Prawns in the Bhuna were well cooked without being overcooked.|
|Taste||10||Delicious – I didn’t want the meal to end.|
|Delivered as advertised||10||Although I’ve not seen any adverts, it certainly reflected the menu’s description|
|Worth the spend||10||Absolutely|
|Worth going again||9||Ditto – we’ll be back.|
|Total Score||141||Out of 150 – Very respectable score!|
Personally, as soon as the piggy bank has put on some weight again, I’m going back for round two. Oh, and if you’d like more info – click here.