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
kick.

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.