As South Africans, we're spoiled for choice when it comes to the variety of food we can chow down. From the old pizza place around the corner to Moroccan food in Maboneng, we have our mouths full of the good stuff. Now before you shrug Saravanaa Bhavan off as just "another Indian restaurant" in Joburg, I would like to stop you with a "hey, buddy, his is South Indian food, ya goof".
With that said, it's good to note that there is as big a difference between North and South Indian cuisine as there's between a chicken and a duck. The ingredients in both regions are similar but the difference comes in the cooking methods and mixtures... and the fact that the south is predominantly vegetarian. Yup. Vegetarian food enjoys widespread popularity in the south of India – and that is where one of the largest vegetarian chain restaurants was born.
Hold my hand and let me walk you through the wonderful world of good vegetarian food... and yes, there is such a thing. The menu at Saravanaa Bhavan in Rivonia is packed with delicious dishes. Patrons can expect mini-idlis (fermented rice dumplings) immersed in delicious lentil gravy garnished with ghee for starters, a wide selection of dosas (massive Indian pancakes) with delicious fillings for mains, and for dessert they have the most velvety ice creams, Falooda (made from mixing rose syrup, vermicelli, sweet basil seeds, and pieces of jelly with milk) and fruit salads in town.
The menu is massive with an extensive list of different veggie curries, a Chinese wok (yup) and lovely treats made in their clay oven. In fact, this restaurant is so South Indian that their entire kitchen comes from that region. Another interestingly South Indian thing is that all the plates, cups, spoons, forks, knives, etc. are similar to those you can find when eating at a restaurant in India. They also recently included a juice bar where you can enjoy 100% apple, pineapple and mixed juices... oh, and they have madras coffee. If you don't know what that is then you're in for a treat. You can also find them on UberEats – just remember to be in the 3km radius of the restaurant to order from them.
All in all, it's a hit and a half. If you like authentic Indian food or struggle to find a lekker vegetarian restaurant, then make sure to pay Saravanaa Bhavan a visit.
Here's a little video I shot of the chef at Saravanaa Bhavan making a dosa.
By Shawn Greyling
Have you been to Saravanaa Bhavan in Rivonia? Let us know what you think of it in the comments section below. Sharing is caring, so show those vegetarian friends of yours this cool review.