Jozi's The Leopard + deli, where less is more
Expect the usual culinary goodness and quirky twists at The Leopard +, a kitchen, larder and can-do caterer in Joburg's Milpark. Andrea Burgener and Nick Gordon are still very much at the heart of the business, which has swapped out sit-down dining (at their popular former eatery, The Leopard, in Mellville) for take-home, deli-style meals in their reinvented space.
The thinking behind The Leopard + was to streamline the core business to focus on what works well – the food – and to lose the hassle of running a formal restaurant. Open seven days a week from 9am to 7pm, The Leopard + store at 44 Stanley has been conceptualised around making quality food readily accessible and easy to get onto your plate. You can pick up meals from the shop in person, or have it delivered straight to your abode via UberEATS.
On offer are some of the old favourites from the restaurant menu, such as paneer masala, seabass fishcakes and white chocolate brownies, along with some new additions like hearty stews (for winter), heat-at-home mac 'n cheese, soups, potato cakes and artichokes on a bed of creamy butter beans, to name a few. In keeping with The Leopard philosophy, the menu isn’t fixed and will change with the seasons, availability of ingredients and what the owners feel like making.
Alongside the ready-made meals, The Leopard + is also your new go-to larder for high-quality produce (which is also used in the meals). Stock up on grass-fed, full-cream dairy products from Bartley Dairy, fresh free-range eggs from Thorntree Farm, goats' cheese from Belnori and ethically reared beef and pork from local farmers. Beside these curated products are The Leopard’s own, such as quasi-Caesar dressing, apple atchar, chilli sauce and rooibos iced tea. Nick has been honing his charcuterie skills, so expect to find fantastic rillettes, salami, bacon, sausages and more. Coming soon: Nick’s selection of fine local wines and brews.
The decor continues where the restaurant left off: plywood clouds float erratically above a deli fridge-cum-counter that runs across almost the entire width of the space. Behind it, the kitchen is a bustle of activity. A plastic cow sits next to some sausages in the fridge and a plastic horse magnet canters along another fridge shelf, while pops of colour and irreverent knickknacks catch your attention. As always, the space is a feast for all the senses, humour included.
Nick says that the response to the new shop has been excellent. A range of salads that change daily has whetted the appetite of people working in and around the centre. For now there’s one small table and two chairs for those who want to sit and linger over their meal. Perhaps more seating will be added in the future, but perhaps not. What’s always set The Leopard apart from all other restaurants in the city is Andrea and Nick’s blissful disregard for conventions, expectations, and doing things any way other than their own.
Find The Leopard + at 44 Stanley Ave, Milpark, Johannesburg. Reach them on 011-482-9356 and visit leopardfoodcompany.com for more.