Delhi’s first restaurant with African flavours
Intro: An exciting, unique blend of familiar flavours and completely unusual tastes in this carnivore’s paradise.
Atmospherics: A lift from the ground floor leads you to the second and third floors where Uzuri is situated. The animal theme is all around you: on the walls as leopard prints, more subtly as borders on the tables and in the curve of the chair-backs. Clever as it is, and evocative of the African wilds, the food is far more ‘tame’. As the chef explained, African and Indian tastes are so similar that you could end up with a desi restaurant. So, the direction the kitchen has taken is modern European with touches of Africa in it. They plan to unleash their full range of dishes slowly, so by the end of the year, you could very well have pap – the khichri-like gruel dish made of corn that is the staple of vast parts of Africa. Even bunny chow is slated to make its appearance, albeit in a westernized form. The third floor has an open-air deck that would be a pleasure to sit out in when the weather is fine.
Table talk: tenderloin carpaccio with pear rosemary dressing (Rs 495) is good if not great: the tenderloin is local, and while it is of good quality, the flavour of its grass-fed counterparts is conspicuous by its absence. Herb quinoa salad, bush-style smoked vegetables and truffle-scented pesto (Rs 425) struck me as an uneven balance between too little quinoa and too much bell pepper. The finer points: truffle in the pesto and bush-style smoking, eluded me completely. 48 hours cooked mustard lamb shoulder with wild spinach and hazelnut salsa verde (Rs 390) didn’t seem to have much in common with the dish that arrived on the table, pleasant as it was.
The main courses brought us far better luck. Coffee and paprika crusted tenderloin, truffle compound butter, potatoes and vegetables (Rs 975) was a masterpiece because of the tenderness of the meat contrasted with the crust that had the earthy appeal of outdoor braai cooking. Sea Bass, salmon farce (Rs 890) was a medley of subtle textures.
Plus and minus: You won’t find better desserts anywhere in Delhi, especially the chocolate ones. As Uzuri is charting a new course, it would be helpful to have introductions to each dish and their associations with Africa.
Food 3.00 Service 3.00 Décor 3.50
M 40, Greater Kailash II Market
Tel: 011-41623623, 41623625
Open from 12 noon to 3 pm and 7 pm to 11.30 pm
Meal for two: Rs 3,500