Cool Spaces: Vadivelu

WORDS Michaela Stehr PHOTOS Supplied

The brainchild of a family trio, Vadivelu, an Indian restaurant on Cape Town’s bustling Kloof Street, aims to blend tradition with a contemporary setting and vibe.

With the tagline “We are not just another Indian restaurant,” Vadivelu offers a concise and to-the-point offering of delicious dishes in a considered, comfortable and carefully crafted setting. Not fans of the term “Indian fusion,” cousins and owners Jason, Kevin and Tim set to create a space that tells the story of the South Africa-Indian narrative – something that is close and dear to many locals.

Set in a row of Victorian semi-detached cottages, Vadivelu now occupies what was once Manna Epicure. The quaint space provides both inside and outside seating, with a cute street-facing patio for warm summer days and evenings and an indoor original fireplace for chillier nights. “Formally a cottage home until the turn of the century, right at the top of Kloof Street, it’s a beautiful space for a restaurant, with 30 seats inside and another 20 on our sun-worshipping terrace,” explains co-owner Tim Wyatt-Gunning.


When asked about the restaurant aesthetic he elaborates, “Our whole vibe is ‘Indian. With Attitude.‘ It’s all over our branding touchpoints. We are not just another Indian restaurant. We offer a short menu of Southern Indian street food-inspired style like nobody else in Cape Town. Modern, fresh and ever-changing.”

With interiors by Macgregor Forsyth, notably Christo Denyschen and Anri du Toit, some of the standout elements include 3D “graffiti-inspired signage” on the interior wall, bright orange branding on the restaurant roof, a bold, stencilled tiger on the floor on entering the restaurant.

A striking stand-out feature is the dusty pink wallpaper of a jungle scene by renowned local wallpaper designer Cara Saven. Matched with pale wood tables and chairs and Mervyn Gers crockery, each aspect of the design is carefully thought out – not to overwhelm, but to accentuate the dining experience.

Chef Jai studied in Tamil Nadu (the southernmost state of India) and brings this knowledge to the easy-to-read menu. From firm favourites like butter chicken to the more adventurous fish curry and tikka masala, there is something for every palate that highlights the vibrant flavours of the cuisine.

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