If you’ve ever watched Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, or any of those American cooking shows, and wished you could visit some of the “fine dining” establishments that Guy Fieri visits on his show, then boy do I have news for you.
Hidden in Panvingergras Street in Danville, just west of the Pretoria CBD I found a gem of an eatery that serves the type of food typically found only at those trendy weekend food markets that have become so popular in many parts of the country. So, before you help fund SAA’s turnaround strategy by buying a ticket to New York, first take a Sho’t Left to Danville and make a turn at Lebo’s Pani-Leash.
Opened at the beginning of June this year, Pani-Leash is a family-owned gourmet sandwich joint that serves a selection of gigantic panini bread-based delights that are jam-packed with succulent layers of sliced beef, lamb, pork or tender chicken strips, seasoned and grilled to perfection, fresh while you wait. The waiting period can be a bit long, as it was on the opening weekend. But being in the township, you can walk down the street and get yourself a drink at any of the numerous places that sell soft and not so soft drinks while you wait for your order. Along with the meat, a generous serving of some home-mixed “yellow bone” source and the fresh panini bread, the combination is mind-blowing.
What really takes this Kasi gourmet dining experience to the next level, though, is owner and head chef Lebo Thobela’s signature cheesy spinach that caught me totally off guard, along with the layer of caramelised sweet onion on which the meat rests.
However, the real surprise is the pricing at this joint. For such a super-sized sandwich, served with a side of delicious hand cut potato chips, one would expect to pay close to R100 a pop. But for my pork pani-leash – yes, that’s what they call their sandwiches too – I paid a mere R35. But the fact that I had to drive all the way from Joburg kind of cancelled out the huge saving.
But would I go there again? Without a doubt.
When the listeriosis outbreak threatened to wipe out to the Kasi food culture, which has polony at its heart or should I say its gut, I was worried about starving on the weekend. But thanks to chef Lebo I need only worry about the petrol price increase because I am definitely going to be a regular at Pani-Leash.