I found myself in Gatesville this week braving the craziness that is Osman’s Spice Shop. Anyone who has ventured that way will know the challenge it presents. The tiny store with it’s narrow aisles is always busy even on quiet weekday mornings. The smells of spices is thick and the jostling for space can get quite intense. But for the sake of my Mum, who always gets her spices and baking goods for her home and business, we braved the madness. I once went there just before Ramadaan, and it was like being at a packed concert shoulder to shoulder with throngs of people inching ahead one step at a time. Never, and I mean never, make the mistake of forgetting something and have to back-track to find it. It’s like starting from scratch.
An hour later we emerged to find ourselves ravenous and ready for lunch. There are so many places in Gatesville and Rylands, which is the largest Indian area in Cape Town, to get something to eat so we were spoiled for choice. Being close to Gatesville Medical Centre, we decided to try a Bangladeshi place very nearby. I had once bought some take-outs from Cape to India and was very happy with the food. So this time we decided to try out the restaurant itself.
The location is right behind Gatesville Medical Centre, in the hub of the shopping district. Parking is somewhat limited and I had to circle a bit before I found a spot. It’s a very simple, no frills kind of place. It makes me think of homely restaurants I can remember from my trip to India when I was little. On the outside you might miss the Cape to India signage but there is a big sign above it that says Bismillah Restaurant. They are part of a group that goes by that name.
The tables are already set, glasses and cutlery ready and plates overturned as if they’ve been expecting you to pop in. There’s always several young Bangladeshi guys hanging around the counter and while it looks very casual and laid back they’re always quick to tend to you. We were seated amidst a small handful of other patrons and offered a menu which turned out to be quite extensive.
While the place is small, the tables are quite tight and could seat a fair amount of people. You would be very close to your neighbour though. Thankfully it was a bit early and there was no lunch crowd. They also have a Namaaz room available. Our waiter was somewhat brusk. It’s not the kind of place where you’re going to get 5 star service, more like 2,5 stars but I had no expectations and didn’t mind that he wandered off to tend to someone else when he could see I was still hemming and hawing over the menu.
They serve Indian, Pakistani and Chinese cuisine. We tried the Chicken Manchurian Sizzler, served on a hotplate, which we decided to share and it was enough for the both of us. It was quite sweet which I wasn’t expecting but tasty and enjoyable. We also had the Prawn Rosoiz starter which is a Portuguese savoury. It’s what we know as halfmoons is originally based on. I think it was very thin on the prawns though and at just one for R15 I think it was overpriced.
The garlic naan which we had with the Chicken was excellent. I can’t say I’ve had better naan anywhere else. I’ve had their Panir Palak, which is Indian cheese in a Spinach Curry before and found it very tasty. And their Falooda is a feast for the eyes. Their curries range from R48 to R99. Their grills start at R32 for 1/4 Chicken Tandoori to R80 for 3pc T-Bone Steak to R240 for a Family Combo. Chinese Dishes include Sweet and Sour chicken, beef or prawn , Chop Suey and Chow Mein dishes and start at about R60. You can even get a Toasted steak sandwich or Viennas and chips parcel. They’re a bit lacking on the desserts side with only Rassmalai as a real option.
I would say it’s good for a quick stop with decent Indian food but even better to buy it to take home, dress it up and pretend you made it yourself.
The Details: Halaal Certified
Casual Dining, Dinner, Lunch,