Bella on Rivonia Road in Johannesburg is a perfect place for lunch. Airy, friendly, relaxed staff, serving easy on the palate light food, which is consistently good, with a wide choice of specials of the day. It is very much the place for ladies who lunch.
Safe and ample parking.
Outdoor heaters to supplement the winter sunshine.
The fare is light bistro-esque. Quiches, salads, delicious fish-cakes, chicken pies in winter, generous open sandwiches, and delicious in-season puddings.
It’s not cheap, to be honest, but the food is good – although crab-cake and a small side salad at R 90 did strike me as a tad pricey.
Lunch for 2 with no alcohol, no pud, just a main course, fruit juice and a coffee each cost R237.
I have eaten at Bella about 5/6 times over the past 2 years.
66 Rivonia Road
Tel : 011 883 6665
This unassuming South Indian restaurant in Delhi’s Hauz Khas village is always busy at lunch-time, testimony to the delicious food, quick service and all-round nice feel.
3 of us went to Naivedyam on a boiling hot May lunch-time, relishing the cool interior and (paradoxically) the complementary glasses of piping hot, spicy rasam. Service was friendly and prompt, the food was as delicious as it has been on every previous visit and the bill for 3 of us, who were too full to finish the crispy dosas, was less than Rs 600.
What more can you ask ?
The full 9 yards – a paper dosa.
Great address, too : 1, Hauz Khas village. Phone numbers to reserve are on the bill (above)
Tucked away in the gardens of the Italian Cultural Centre in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri district, is the delightful Diva restaurant, where they serve their signature good food, as well as pizzas cooked in the outside pizza oven, and have a small, good (though pricey) wine list.
The charm of this branch of Diva is its garden setting – there is also an indoor restuarant, but the diplomats and cognoscenti who patronise the Italian Cultural Centre restaurant do so for the garden. Sitting out under the shady trees on a summer evening, with lanterns twinkling and candles glowing, and the resident sleek cats curled up at your feet, you feel more as though you are dining at a friend’s home than in a restaurant.
A recent visit, though, revealed that the lawn has been paved over. Undoubtedly more practical, but not half as pretty as sitting on the grass.
We had a mousse di formaggio to start with – 4 smallish pieces of toasted bread with a rather industrial-tasting mousse – for Rs 210. Not to be repeated. The excellent grilled fish with mashed potatoes will, however, be repeated – Rs 330.
Rs 1900 for a bottle of chianti classico was expensive, and the wine was fine but not breathtaking.
With taxes and service, the bill for 2 for the items described above came to Rs 3,536.
Be sure to have photo ID with you, for a serious but polite security check as you enter the ICC.
The entrance to Diva is on Chandragupta Marg.
Phone : 011-2467 4575
A popular, busy Italian restaurant on the rue des Martyrs in Paris’s 9th arrondissement, FUXIA offers classic Italian food at reasonable prices. We were 3 for lunch, and eschewing starters, we ate well, with good food, and more than healthy portions.
Between us, we had a rigatoni siciliana for €12, a lasagne carne for €13.50 (very substantial and possibly overly generous on the tomato sauce) and a delicious risotto roquette for €15 which was far too copious to finish.
Rapid service, a friendly waiter eager to try out his English, though we suspected he was flirting with our youngest and prettiest diner, and a sort-of view of Sacré Coeur from our pavement table, if you craned your neck a bit.
All the elements you need for a brisk, no-nonsense summer lunch.
Total bill for 3, with 3 mains, 1 Orangina and 1 coffee = €46
25 rue des Martyrs
tel : 01 48 78 93 25
Pindi in New Delhi’s Pandara Road Market used to be an iconic “dhaba”, so I was told. Simple but with fantastic food.
Buoyed up with a nostalgic memory from his student days, my husband took me there in February 2011. Gone was the dhaba – which is basically an ultra-simple food joint – to be replaced with a large, but nondescript restaurant. Patterned walls and alcove-type seating. We were a party of four, two of whom remembered Pindi fondly.
The wall next to our table was filthy, so perhaps they had kept some of the old-style dhaba, after all.
Famous for its offal – brain curry and brain fry were remembered specialities – my 3 dinner companions chose brain, brain and brain. I had tandoori prawns which turned out to be the wisest choice, and the mushroom masala was fine, though eye-wateringly spicy.
The brain curry was apparently not as good as remembered, the brain fry was good, and the “gurda kapura” (kidneys and testicles, another speciality remembered from yore) were a disaster. No testicles, just kidney and liver. The first plate was sent back, a replacement dish cheerfully supplied, but this too was deemed not to contain testicles (I didn’t taste any of this, just watched the proceedings) and – yet again cheerfully – removed from the bill.
Bread came long before the food did, so had to be sent back.
My prawn curry came long before the brain dishes, so also had to be sent back to be kept warm.
Morale of the story ?
Let good memories stay that way.