There is something about The Leopard in Melville with mismatched mid-century chairs, faded Micky Mouse printed napkins, and right next to my table a framed photo of an Air Gabon airplane that I loved from the second I settled into my table. I had plenty of time to admire the quirky decor as I had arrived 30 minutes prior to my reservation. With all of the load shedding, I have been adding significant additional travel time to allow for non-functioning robots (traffic lights), but luck was with me. I was meeting a friend of a friend who is in town for a few months for work. One thing I enjoy about being an expat, is you end up meeting up with anyone and everyone who a mutual friend, work colleague, or acquaintance puts you in touch with. So we decided to meet at a restaurant we had both heard good things about but neither of us had tried.
The menu is eclectic and a bit cheeky. At the bottom it stated that dishes came out faster if you shared instead on ordered separately. We opted to split the Caesar salad, gnocchi, and stuffed quail. The food was solid (especially the stuffed quail) as was to expected from Eat Out’s 2013 Best Bistro of the year. This is a warm, relaxed place where you will want to take a loved one or chill with friends and colleagues.
My only small gripe was that during the 30 minutes I waited, I studied the menu, stared at the pressed tin ceiling, watched the red and white stripped awning flap in the wind and no one on the wait staff inquired whether I wanted a drink. The truth is that I didn’t actually expect them to offer and while I could have flagged down the waiter, I also wanted to know if I would be left to my own devices for 30 minutes. Luckily as soon as my dining companion arrived the service was fast and efficient.
There were so many dishes on the menu that I wanted to try. I am looking forward to my next visit.