With a desire to modernise its gourmet Indian dining experience, the team behind Awara has curated a new menu that includes a variety of Asian grilled tapas alongside the finely prepared classic curries the Mother City adores.
According to Johan Venter, the operations manager of the Bukhara Group, “The restaurant was named after the Bollywood movie Awara, which translates to ‘The Vagabond’, that was directed by the owner Sabi Sabharwal’s father.”
The owner, manager and chefs remain the same - but the team now also includes talented new chefs who specialise in tapas.
The new menu covers Indian, Korean, Thai, Japanese and Chinese flavours that are grilled on open-flame charcoal grills and in traditional Indian clay tandoori ovens, allowing guests to choose between modern creations like slow-cooked teriyaki octopus and fish tikka, comfort classics like butter chicken and lal maas, or a combination of both. There is an extensive wine and cocktail selection, selected to complement the dishes, and seven classic desserts like cheesecake and chocolate fondant.
In parallel to the menu makeover, Awara has also had an interior decor revamp. The previously open plan area has been transformed into a cosier space with more private seating options and a lounge area.
“In Bukhara, we had orange walls and the whole space was filled with tables in an open-floor setup. For Awara, we’ve divided the restaurant into three sections: a large cocktail-esque lounge surrounded by decorative walls, the main dining area, and outdoor seating,” saidVenter.
“It’s been a wonderful journey with Bukhara, and we’re grateful to all our loyal customers for staying with us for over 25 years, and especially all through Covid. We could simply have continued with Bukhara, but we were all ready for a new challenge as a team, and we want to push our gourmet Asian concept even further,” Sabharwal said.
“Flame-grilled plates speak to a contemporary palate and we’ve always worked with flame, so we feel it is the right moment to foreground our grills and develop new flavours. After Covid, there seems to be such a renewed sense of appreciation for and celebration of life, and we’re really feeling that,” Sabharwal concluded.
The venue offers weekday brunch and cocktail sessions, and on Sundays and Mondays, there is a special three-course menu for two.
Awara is located at 33 Church Street, Cape Town City Centre, and is open from Monday to Sunday, between 11am and 11pm.