Happy New Year everyone ! I have not made New Year resolutions this year, nope. But I am armed with lists. List of restaurants to try, of books to read, and of places to visit. So we started the year off with The Leopard last week. After seeing it pop up in way too many blogs and restaurant reviews we decided to check it out.
The decor is very simple. Mismatched everything. From the furniture to the coffee mugs. So almost immediately it feels like being in your Grandma’s house – well my Grandma anyway. Really. Down to the enamel plates which took me back to those visits to the village. There was an eclectic mix of people the day we were there. But then it is Melville, so that’s to be expected. Young energetic waiters, probably students, and an overall laid-back feel to it. There are very long waits in between courses, but we were in no rush, simply there for the food on a rainy day.
They bring out plates of crispy poppadoms, instead of the usual bread while you wait. Starters of shiitake mushroom, chicken and ginger broth with snap peas, spring onion and wheat noodles. This can be ordered as a main. I had the “KFQ” – deep-fried quail with the sweet chilli dip which I loved. It was tricky trying to get to the meat with the quail’s teeny tiny bones. The others enjoyed their broth also.
For the main I went with a Pata plate. A colourful mix of tastes and textures that includes a taro leaf masala roll with tzatziki, apple atchar and flatbread. I ordered mine with an extra side of smokey chicken. A mélange of so many flavors: the leaf masala was very spicy, the atchar quite sweet and sour and the chicken more sweet barbecue than smokey. Then there were the Beef Meatballs with potato cakes and a pan tomato juice and onion muddle. Both were very good, and that potato cake was a sure winner. Homemade jersey milk ricotta and spinach malfatti in a tomato and bell pepper sauce, which was served with bolo bread. All the meals required dipping and mopping with the bread. Perfect for a rainy day.
The menu changes regularly, to keep things fresh I suppose. I will definitely go back again to see what creations they come up with. Dessert was a whisky crème-brûlée for me, the Belgian chocolate brownies for my bestie and Zoo biscuits with tea for my son. Yep! Truly like being at Grandma’s house. We all enjoyed it though. Reasonable prices, and a wonderful ambiance. We lingered long after our meal was over, and we weren’t the only ones doing so.
The Leopard, 63A 4th Avenue, Melville.