Food review: Prashad Café, vegan and vegetarian curry, Cape Town

Prashad Café- vegan and vegetarian cuisine – North and South Indian food, South African curry influences

Constantia Village Old Courtyard: Shop 3- opposite Mugg & Bean, phone 072 402 6735
Rondebosch: Fountain Square – off the Main Road, phone 021 685 7891
Kloof Street:  Shop 11b, Palmhof Centre, phone 021 422 0264

Eat in and delivery: Eat on-site or take away – pick up or delivery service [extra charge applies]

*Theresa Peters and family operate the Baxter Restaurant at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, serving vegan vegetarian and food. The Baxter Restaurant is open when there are public shows on at the Baxter. As there is a global pandemic, the situation is in constant flux. Check with above numbers to see if the Baxter Restaurant is operating.  

This is an ode to the food made by the Prashad Café group of restaurants in Cape Town. Prashad may be translated as blessed’, ‘gracious gift.’ As of February 2021, there are three outlets. The food is vegan and vegetarian. If you want a category, let’s go with North and South Indian food but there are South African curry influences – Durban Curry and in other areas with the chutneys and Bunny Chow [a Durban curry thing]. A big difference with South African curry is that we refer to samoosas – not samosas. I cannot find a cogent reason why this is the situation. I have had samoosas/samosas around the world and I personally think that South Africa’s samoosas are the best. And Prashad’s are amazing – hints of chillie and dhania (coriander). Although the samoosas are fried, they are not oily and ultra-crispy. One can now buy frozen Prashad samoosas and air-dry fry them or heat them in the oven. I have not tried that. The frozen range of Prashad food is a new innovation [Feb 2021].

There are also mince samoosas- soya mince –everything at Prashad is vegan or vegetarian but the potato is my fave. In addition to samoosas, what can I recommend? Everything. Personal must-haves include matter paneer – Indian cottage cheese in a tomato gravy, veg korma and Aloo Saag (potatoes in a spinach sauce). Prashad is famous for its butter chicken which is a hit with carnivores. They cannot believe that it is not meat. I am not a huge fan of meat-substitutes but if you are Prashad has it all – plant ‘prawns’; the whole shebang, Everything is amazing and it is very reasonably priced –R85-R92 for the curries. Breyani from R92-95. Starters – samoosas R7 each, poppadum’s R7. Dhal – R65 to R85. Then check out the Bunny Chows. This is a South African Curry dish – hollowed out bread with curry – R60-R65. The condiment selection includes mango pickle (R25), curried chillies (R25) and coriander chutney (R20). Try the mango lassie or rose lassie (R35)

My story with Prashad, goes back more than a decade ago, I stumbled upon the curry made by Theresa Peters in a small shop in Rondebosch, Cape Town. I cannot recall how I heard about this eatery. I must have been told by someone. I don’t recall having GPS at the time and I got lost finding “curry place” in Fountain Square. Back then, the shop was low-key with minimal signage and it was called Maharajah Vegetarian. I recall biting into my first samoosa –and going “wow”. I took home my first box of take-out and was hooked. There was confusion with Maharajah Vegetarian and Maharajah – other restaurants in Cape Town, run by relatives of the Peters family and Vegetarian was re-named Prashad Café. Theresa began to operate the restaurant at the Baxter Theatre and her son Krishan opened up a Prashad Café in Kloof Street, Cape Town. During lockdown, at the beginning of November 2021, the family opened a Prashad Café in Constantia. It is in The Old Village – the centre where Mugg & Bean is situated. Many people simply say “Theresa’s food” but Prashad is a family affair – Theresa, her son Krishan Peters and daughter, Tereena Naidoo.

Eating the Prashad food is an experience – not just about food. It is a family business and this comes across in the way the food is served. One inevitably encounters Theresa, Krishan or Tereena, They know their customers’ names and I hear them frequently offering a taste of this or that when there are queries about a dish. 

For out of towners and international visitors –when this pandemic eventually burns out and you can visit Cape Town – you experience Prashad. The food happens to be vegan and vegetarian but that is a bonus. It is fragrantly wonderful soul food – cooked with love – with an array of ingredients. For home cooking, spices, rice and other ingredients are sold at the shops but at the moment Constantia is the flagship, with the biggest range.

Covid dining alert: Prashad Constantia has one outdoor table but the interior faces the outdoor courtyard, so there is good ventilation.

Curry feast: Eat-in or take-out at Prashad Café. This photo was taken at the Constantia Prashad, which opened November 2020. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.
Frozen to prepare at home. Prashad Café has launched its frozen food range [February 2021]. The range is currently available to purchase at its stores but it is hoped that it will be sold at selected supermarkets. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.

❇ TheCapeRobyn was hosted by Prashad Café.