Chicken livers at Aarya.
With the winter chill still making  its unwelcome presence felt, I  made my way to the recently  opened Aarya restaurant at  Silverstar Casino.

This eatery belongs to Deena  Naidoo, season one winner of  MasterChef SA. That humility  and passion he exuded throughout  the reality show hasn’t been  abandoned. Unlike other celebrity  chefs, he’s not just a name – he’s  front and centre.

While his signature butter  chicken dish is on the menu, he’s  added a few other dishes, catering  for the palates of the rainbow  nation.

Butter chicken pizza at Aarya

Naidoo’s proclivity for  experimenting with flavours  is manifested in some of his  creations. One of which is the  tandoori mushrooms, comprising
black mushrooms stuffed with  paneer and cashew nuts.  It’s an unusual dish, to say  the least. I loved the crunchy  texture of the nuts, the crispy
outer layer of the mushroom  and the gooeyness of the cheesy  centre. There was a lovely sauce  on the plate, which I would have  preferred more of as it took the  flavours to another level.

A fan of chicken livers, I  decided to try theirs – but as a  hot option. While it was a far cry  from the spiciness I was looking  forward to, the flavours with the  sauce, seasoned with garlic, was  still there.

Chicken livers at Aarya.

The butter chicken pizza and  Durban’s best lamb curry were  our choices for mains. Again, both  lived up to expectations.  The curry was cooked with  Up-To-Date potatoes and the butter  chicken pizza was all sorts of  yumminess.

Naidoo was made aware of my  craving for heat. And he offered a  taste of the most delicious chillies  pickle he had started making two  days earlier.  It had a wonderful burst of  sweetness and acidity provided  by the vinegar it was soaked in.  Overall, it offered a wonderful

Durban's best lamb curry is a dish Deena Naidoo's most proud of.

For dessert, I decided to try the  highly-recommended kulfi crème  brulee. It was divine. You got the  beautiful aromas of the cardamom
once you broke through the  thick layer of caramelized sugar.  And it had a wonderful creamy  consistency.

The crème brulee at Aarya.

The ambiance at Aarya is  relaxed, the seating comfortable  and the decor a cross between  rustic and elegance.

WHERE: Aarya, Silverstar Casino,  R28, Muldersdrift, Mogale City. Open:  Sunday:   11am to 9pm;  Monday to Thursdays:   11am to 10pm;  Friday to Saturday:   11am to 11pm. Call 011 662 1206.