A multi-cuisine dining experience.
Somewhat of a hidden treasure, thanks to its elevated position, Bukhara was the spot for the best North Indian cuisine in Cape Town for over 25 years. But, the time came, as it sometimes does, to breathe new life into the space, and Awara was born.
Filling that naan-shaped hole in our hearts, Awara is a reimagining of Bukhara – with an added Mexican and Middle-Eastern twist. If you’re sceptical, read on.
You could easily miss it. Hidden just above the bustle of Church Street, Awara awaits at the top of a flight of stairs behind an innocuous business-like entrance. But, once you set foot inside the dimly-lit restaurant, you’ll feel like you’ve been invited to an exclusive club entirely for eating excellent food.
The restaurant has been decorated in sleek, moody tones. Dark green, black and gold frame the central glass kitchen (where you get a glimpse of the magic), while the marbled floor and decorative greenery set the scene for an opulent experience. The service is as slick as the setting, with knowledgeable and professional waiters guiding you on your culinary journey.
My favourite feature is the wraparound balcony. Merely a floor up from street level, the plant-hung balcony gives you that innercity feel without the passing crowds – a key element for Covid-friendly dining.
Rather than a fusion restaurant, Awara could be described as a multi-cuisine dining experience, offering three distinct and vastly different styles – namely Mexican, Middle Eastern and Indian – each of which receives the same passion, potency and excellent execution.
A difficult feat to pull off, to put it mildly, but the chefs have done so, selecting their favourite aspects from each cuisine and adapting them into tapas, starters and mains, which intermingle seamlessly on one menu. Jumping from fresh guacamole with chips to a rich Lal Maas (spicy lamb curry) to grilled sirloin with adobo chilli sauce feels natural! And the presentation is as striking, thanks to the vibrant colours of the ingredients against sleek slate crockery.
A word of advice: Order their signature mango lassi, but don’t finish the entire thing before you start eating because you will not have space for the food…
Sadly, the current alcohol ban prevented us from sampling the delicious-sounding items on the enticing cocktail menu, but with creations such as Kerala Dreams (spiced rum, tamarind, ginger and lime) and Masala Old Fashioned (whisky, bitters and garam masala), I will certainly be heading back to the wraparound balcony, when lockdown is lifted, to work my way through it.
Good to know Haiku, Bukhara’s sister restaurant, is sharing floor space with Awara, so you will be able to order Chinese and Japanese, too! All food offerings are available for takeaways as well.
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