Spice up your life with Chandani

Chandani is an authentic Indian and vegetarian restaurant in Cape Town that offers a very traditional regional Indian experience.

Situated in Woodstock's bustling Roodebloem Street, Chandani (which means "moonlight" in Hindi) aims to give guests a taste of the lifestyles of the Grand Mugals of yesteryear by recreating the ambiance and hospitality of that golden era, when every meal was a feast.

Owned by Jagdish Vanzara and Dina de Bruyn, most things are still done the traditional way at Chandani.

Jagdish started his culinary career at the age of seven, where he began working in a restaurant kitchen, chopping ingredients in amongst copper pots and coconut fashioned spoons. These are well-loved tools he still uses today. Dina is a general practitioner who always had a passion for cooking and entertaining. She loves vibrant colours and has an eye for detail.

Together, they have transformed the small Victorian house into an Indian hideaway with decor elements showing off imperial India and prized antiques demonstrating the splendour of good craftsmanship. 

Spices are freshly ground for the day’s preparations, yogurt and cheese are made in cheesecloth and each creation is fashioned from scratch. A charcoal oven gives an authentic smoky taste with delicate layers of flavour. All spices needed are not readily found in South Africa and therefore imported directly from India.

Health benefits

Many people wrongly believe that all Indian foods are "hot". The truth, however, is that most dishes can be prepared as medium, mild or hot - you simply have to state your preference.

The spices and herbs used in Indian cuisine are not only for their flavour and aroma, but also for their digestive and nutritional value.

Chilies are rich in vitamin C, mehti (fenugreek) peps up the liver, ginger and peppercorns aid digestion, mint is cooling and coriander is good for the kidneys.

Wholesome food and good health are clearly linked, and at Chandani only the finest ingredients are used to prepare dishes that are nutritious and delicious.

Appetising starters include the Tandoori Mushroom, which is made with fresh mushrooms marinated in yogurt and spices, and tandoor grilled. The Onion Bhajia is a deep fried onion and chickpea flour fritter and the Chandani Kabab consists of chicken cubes marinated in ginger and garlic, and served with coleslaw .

Chandani has many delectable main courses to choose from including the Peshwari Gosht, lamb in very aromatic blended cashew nut and dried fruit gravy a typical Kashmiri dish. The Machchi Kerela is kingklip prepared as in Kerela, with onion fried in coconut oil, black mustard seeds in cashew nut and tomato gravy with a hint of coconut. The popular Rogan Josh is a multilayered spiced mutton curry cooked in the traditional Northern Indian style.

Desserts include such Indian delights as Kheer, milk pudding with fried vermicelli, Kulfi, a creamy nutty ice-cream and Gajar Halwa, grated carrots and nuts, with butter and sugar.

Chandani offers a wide selection of wines, which can be perfectly paired with the dish of your choice.

Visit the Chandani website to learn more.

- (Chandani press release)
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