We had supper club on a Friday this month, because two of us had work functions on Thursday night. As it turned out, T had a work function, K had a family mini-crisis, and N’s husband, who was supposed to look after her kids, got stuck in a meeting. So there were just 4 of us, treated to a meal at The Leopard on an icy June evening. http://leopardfoodcompany.com/?page_id=30
I was really happy Feroza chose The Leopard. She’s from Parkhurst, you see, and she misses The Leopard from when it was in her neck of the woods. It’s been in Melville for a good few years now, and I’ve only had the pleasure of eating there once before. Then, it was summer and my friends and I sat outside on the patio. The bright red and white striped awnings are let down in the evenings, which make it a most pleasant place to sit. There was no chance of that last night – in the midst of the first cold snap of winter.
When the waiter informed us that there was a choice of gins (Inveroche, Jorgensen’s, Tanqueray and good old Gordon’s), Lisa and I knew we had a winner. That said, I ordered a glass of Vrede and Lust Chardonnay/Chenin blend (because it’s more in keeping with my diet), which F had water and L had a glass of red. Their wine list has a great selection, and most wines on it can be ordered by the glass.
While we waited for the food to come, my friends snacked on popadoms and we spoke about how to contain your inner bitch in the corporate environment. That sounds like a workshop we could all do with! I didn’t even mention how many times I had had to contain mine in the last week, and mostly with parents of nearly-emancipated adults. L told us how one’s hormones can go awry, and how in the corporate world, one has to be strategic about apologising for a hormonal outburst if you are a woman (because otherwise the men around you will never take you seriously again). I couldn’t help thinking that our businesses are still geared largely for a male-dominated way of operating, in so many senses. L, I think you’re a champion at juggling your hormones, your corporate job, your three kids and your husband.
I’m glad we had booked, because The Leopard is very popular, and its patrons vary in age and race. It seems quite popular amongst Joburg’s hipster population, or maybe that’s just how mainstream people are starting to look. The decor comprises a number of old landscape paintings and maps, mostly, a portrait here or there, and some mirrors. It is an old Melville house which has been transformed most successfully into a restaurant space. I remember when it was La Vista Social Club, co-owned by the late actress Ashleigh Callie. That, too, was a great Melville place. It’s very loud, and at times I found we were shouting across the table at each other to be heard. But that didn’t ruin the vibe at all. The Leopard is comfortable in its space – not needing to be ostentatious at all. That is largely because the food is SO good.
Lis and I went for the mussels in cream and white wine sauce. I chose extra veggies instead of whatever carb was on offer. They we the most delicious mussels I’ve ever eaten! Both F and L chose the Fish Curry that was on special, and before I could even ask for a taste (having been caught up in my mussels) they had both cleaned their plates. Feroza even ordered a take away portion for her husband.
We spoke about our troubled children – each of us describing difficulties our daughters have with stress, anxiety and trying to get it all done. I think we have got it all wrong. As a teacher I think we’re doing it wrong. How on earth can 8 year olds be stressing? They should be playing! This divine TED talk sat waiting to be watched when I got home, which makes me want to pull my daughters out of traditional schooling and let them do Hack-schooling: https://www.facebook.com/DavidAvocadoWolfe/videos/10152783856271512/?pnref=story
The portions are a decent size, and the food is seriously delicious. It’s not cheap either, but it won’t break the bank. My friends all had desserts, which were beautifully presented and also apparently delicious. Until all these places start serving Banting-friendly desserts, I’ll pass on the pudding (not that I’ve got a big sweet tooth anyway). I could have had a coffee, but I was still savouring the delicious buttery taste of the wine.
I highly recommend that you book a date at The Leopard. I left feeling most satisfied that I’d eaten delicious food, the service was very good (the young service staff were hip and efficient) and the company, as always, was excellent. And, to top it off, my lovely generous friend Lisa footed the bill. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am most grateful to have these women in my life.