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Masterchef SA Deena’s Aarya restaurant

I thanked my lucky stars when I got invited to Masterchef SA winner Deena Naidoo’s restaurant Aarya at Montecasino’s Piazza yesterday. That was the 1st & last Masterchef series that I followed from start to end & I hadn’t been to the restaurant yet, so I was quite keen to check it out. It was an informal do with around 2 dozen foodies & of course Deena himself was there to host us. 20130419_142855_0

We started off with platters of unexpected combinations of cold cuts, roasted peppers & brinjils, grilled artichokes, gorgonzola & olives (I’m sure there was more but that’s all I can remember).

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Deena Naidoo himself

Deena is easily the most humble, grounded & down to earth person you’ll meet. He made a point of coming around to every table to introduce himself, chat with guests & thank us for coming (imagine that!). In case you’re wondering, he is at Aarya around every fortnight & commutes between Jozi & Durban (home). He answered questions, sharing about his life & the Masterchef competition quite openly & with such passion even though I imagine he must have had to tell the story a few million times by now!

Aarya is actually named after his daughter (lets say it together now, aahhhh!) & is Sanskrit. Translated it means noble, kind, honourable, dear, and favourable and is considered to be a respectful way of addressing women ( I know, I know, what a guy!). The other thing that struck me about him is his incredible sense of service to his family as the number 1, 2 & 3 priority in his life.

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I loved this “story” of Deena up on the wall…

My (preconceived) perception was that the Aarya would be focused on Indian food & while the butter chicken was fantastic, as you can tell from the starter & dessert below, they serve up quite a range & have made a point of including local flavours on the menu too.

IMG_20130419_150145The butter chicken was creamy & just the right amount of heat.  Obviously I had seconds 🙂

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The kitchen opens up into the restaurant – I love seeing chefs at work!

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The bar was quite a sight too!

IMG_20130419_231540There were a few options for dessert but I choose well went I went for this cheese cake.

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I’m not normally a groupie but I couldn’t resist Deena’s warmth & chivalry 🙂

This was a fab way to kick off the weekend. Thanks to Sheena Gates for the invite!

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Aarya

Montecasino Piazza

Cnr William Nicol Drive & Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways, Johannesburg

011 557 7007

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