The Sitar–Cresta… Most agreeable.

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.


The Sitar - unplugged

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.

About Freud Fission Chips

Despite the banality of the name, FFC has led an intensely varied life. Grateful for surviving almost three years as a 'troepie' (soldier for non-South African Readers) in the Angolan war, he determined to wring as much out of life as possible. Currently providing Business Analysis services, trading on the stock market and developing web pages to pay the bills, FFC also dabbles in wildlife, landscape and people photography, writing, and far too many interests for his own good. He has also travelled extensively in southern Africa (working on the sound theory that a moving target is more dificult to hit). These peregrinations also include over 1500kms on foot through some of the worlds most spectacular scenery. It hasn't all been plain sailing, beer and skittles, and endless beds of roses... Chief amongst the prerequisites for surviving Africa, with its mind-bending characteristics, is an appropriate sense of humour.... So, for now, he will be recounting the amusing among the annoying, the frustrating wrapped in the funny and extracting the mirth from the melancholy... Oh yes, there might be some alliteration too.
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2 Responses to The Sitar–Cresta… Most agreeable.

  1. Steve says:

    Excellent write-up Alan, you should be reviewing for Dining Out or Eating Out or any of the other flashy websites. I don’t usually do “family” restaurants as a rule, but I’m moved to give this one a bash.

    Remind me to take you to the Augusto in Ontdekkers sometime. It’s another family ‘un with a Portuguese flavour, nothing too off the wall, but good value.

    • You are exceedingly kind squire; and I hope the write-ups give accurate reflections. Feedback, specifically yours is always welcome.

      Here’s hoping your visit to Sitar will be as good if not better than our visit – an’ all.

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