If I have to equate Melville to a suburb in Cape Town, no doubt it has to be Obs. It’s got that same hippy-ness about it. Basically, I’m not cool enough to be there.
One Friday night I ventured over anyway. If you need a reason, The Leopard‘s it. With roots in starting in Parkhurst in 2011, they moved to Melville for the reasons the rest of us can’t live there either (i.e. small spaces, crazy rent). The Leopard’s been on my to-eat list for months now and when it was voted Eat Out’s best bistro in SA it all became kind of urgent.
As we made our way over, following our GPS conscientiously I couldn’t help but think that Melville broke all the stereotypes Joburgers hold about it. It’s a proper neighbourhood. The streets were clean and wide, the homes were old & characterful and almost out of nowhere, The Leopard popped up, quirky as ever on a corner, next to a video store.
But first things first. Can we agree Melville’s really pretty…
The Leopard looks & feels a bit like you’re entering your gran’s house…
Starters… Chickpea, celery & aged local assagio salad
I can’t remember the description for my starter, but it was really good!
- aubergine is usually on my list of things I don’t eat under circumstances eat but this dish was one of the specials of the day. I must have last eaten it 10 + years ago & I’m so glad I broke my aubergine sabbatical – this was so good!
- the service is a good step above average so you can expect good, switched on waiters
- the menu changes regularly and be sure
- the only thing not to like is my complicated (halaal, no alcohol) food requirements. I wasn’t left with many options on the menu
- ok that and the fact that my arrived undercooked.
Seabass fillet in a chile & ginger cream
I had the mushroom pie (special of the day) with a side salad
I sent the pie back (the pastry was raw) asking for it to be popped back in the oven for few minutes and the waiter advised that there was an issue with the oven (fine time to be telling me!) and I should order something else. I was really enjoying the pie and wanted it so I decided to wing it and told him to give it a bash anyway. Just as he warmed me it the pastry returned still doughy so I lifted it and peeled the uncooked layer off and kept going. I did like this touch from the chef though and in the en I wasn’t billed for the pie.
If I ran the place
- I really don’t think they’re doing anything wrong, I just have complicated food requirements!
- Ok I’d sort out the oven.
Need to know
- The Leopard has a handful of tables inside and 6 more outside. Don’t go without booking!
- They serve lunch and dinner only – check the menu when you book if you have strict dietary requirements as the options listed on the menu are few
- The also have a small lounge area off the side of the restaurant you can have a pre dinner drink – very cosy…
63A, 4th Avenue, (corner 5th Street), Melville