A unique, exotic and totally magical food experience. One of the largest vegetarian restaurant chains in the world, Saravanaa Bhavan, recently opened its first restaurant in South Africa.
Serving south-Indian food, the group was initially founded to cater as high-quality, but relatively inexpensive “home away from home” havens for lovers of Indian cuisine.
In 1968, P Rajagopal, owner of some small shops on the outskirts of Madras (now called Chennai) consulted an astrologer as to find a solution for his debt-ridden business. The advice was that he should look into a venture involving fire.
Today there are 57 Saravanaa Bhavan restaurants all over the globe, situated in, amongst other countries, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Singapore, France, Germany, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Malaysia and in Africa.
The reason for the success, is that all the chefs, waiters and other staff in each restaurant come from India and work strictly to the original recipes and methods.
Zara Karmali, franchise owner of the South African branch, says she and her partners are expanding into Africa and already have a restaurant established in Kenya.
At a first visit to Saravana Bhavan, it is evident that there is a massive pride in the preparation and choice of only the best ingredients.
The kitchen is glass-fronted and visitors can view the barrage of chefs preparing dosas and other exotic dishes from scratch. All spices are imported as to match the high standard needed.
In addition to the traditional south-Indian snacks (dosa, idli, utthapam, vada, with several variations) a few north-Indian dishes (Parotta, Chana Bhatura) are offered. Thali’s, naan and south-Indian sweets such as (Badam Halva, Rava Kesri) and north India Gulab Jamun are offered. It also has its own brand of vegetarian ice cream.
A highlight visiting Saravanaa Bhavan is tasting the original Madras coffee served.
Drinks are squeezed right on order and include mango, pineapple and watermelon juice.
Saravanaa Bhavan – Shop F-3, Rivonia Junction, Cnr, Rivonia Road & 7th Avenue, Rivonia, Sandton, South Africa. 011 234 4270.