By Rose Chinery
Embark on a gastronomic journey at The Leopard, an unconventional new eatery in Parkhurst.
Physical Address: 12th Street and 4th Avenue, Parkhurst.
Call 011-447-6012 or email [email protected]. Open from 10am to 5pm Mondays to Saturdays and for dinner on Wednesdays and Fridays. Prices range from a modest R25 to just over R100. The Leopard doesn’t take credit cards and is not yet licensed, so take your own wine.
Named after a book by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard has a pleasantly casual feel. The 40-seat restaurant is all white paint, wide glass doors opening onto the pavement and sturdy polished wooden tables, no two of which are alike. Chairs and light fittings are an equally quirky ‘all sorts’ collection, together with an interesting assortment of crockery and table napkins.
Well-known chef and foodie Andrea Burgener co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Nicholas Gordon. Initially trained in fine art, Andrea is an enthusiastic self-taught cook whose interest in food was sparked by moonlighting in friends’ restaurants while working for her master’s degree. After a spell in television, the creativity of the kitchen called and she opened her first restaurant, Superbonbon, in Richmond, followed by Deluxe in Parktown North.
ON THE MENU
“I cook what I like to eat myself,” says Andrea of the eclectic choices available, which are subject to frequent change. With not a burger, pizza, wrap or toasted sarmie in sight, there’s nothing casual about the varied offerings on the smallish menu. Under ‘All Day Sweet and Savoury’ (neatly encompassing breakfast, starters and desserts) is a meltingly ambrosial Brie cheese with voluptuous curls of lemon preserve and black pepper.
Other choices include whimsical cinnamon-gingerbread people with custard cream; basil mushrooms on toast; richly decadent chocolate ricotta cheesecake; and a simple raspberry yoghurt whip. While this heavenly vegetable is in season, the lunch menu features lick-the-plate-clean smoky asparagus with garlic, olive oil and local Hijke Parmesan. Among the more lavish treats, those with adventurous taste buds can indulge in quail with breadcrumb-macadamia stuffing and Portu-Mozambique sauce; and kitfo, which is beef tartare with traditional Ethiopian accompaniments; or even duck ham with leaves.
A ‘green’ cook who is passionate about sustainability, Andrea uses seasonal fruit and vegetables, eggs from free-range chickens and cheese and beef from the milk and meat of grass-fed cattle, and she avoids anything containing growth hormones. Andrea is excited about the possibility of being able to serve properly farmed (and creatively cooked) freshwater tilapia in the near future