If only all Delhi’s restaurants were this inspired
Atmospherics: In an ideal world, all restaurants would be built to accommodate only as many diners as the chef felt capable of cooking for, and all chefs would own their restaurants, besides heading the kitchen. That is what the chef-owner of Ziu does: manages his own kitchen and restaurant on most days. When he is away, the team in the kitchen turns out perfect food and the service team is able to explain intelligibly what each dish contains. It helps that attrition in Ziu is very low: I have been seeing the same faces ever since my very first visit, which is a record of some sort in Delhi’s restaurant industry. It is the smaller eateries in Sangam Courtyard and seats 48. Chef Gurmehar Sethi has been in oriental kitchens almost since the start of his career, having worked with Nobu Matsuhisa and David Thompson of Nahm among other giants in the field.
Table talk: This is one menu where almost anything you can think of has been meticulously conceptualized with herbs grown on the restaurant’s own farm and sauces being prepared in a central kitchen. This results in even commonly encountered preparations like pomelo salad (Rs 395) and tom kha soup (Rs 325/425/495 veg/chicken/prawns) having a sweet, sour, fruity punch, with a play on textures, the closest to food in Thailand. Twice-cooked crispy smoked charcoal squid served with sweet chilli sesame sauce (Rs 455) is served on a miniature bamboo winnowing basket and features juicy squid rings with a hint of smokiness that combines superbly with the crunchy sesame seeds. Dip them in the sauce and you are in heaven. My personal favourite is their smoky coconut creme brulee (Rs 395/425/455 veg/chicken/pork/salmon). Like many of their other appetizers, these too are meant to be eaten in one bite: the multiple flavours of fresh galangal and kaffir lime leaves and the sauce burst with a satisfying explosion on your palate. The other must try is brown rice crackers (Rs 395/425 veg/chicken) that is soft as well as crunchy. For main course, steamed seabass with fresh lime spicy seafood sauce and crunchy morning glory (Rs 725) is a cornucopia of fresh flavours.
Must try: baby eggplants with red curry glaze; live flambe volcano chicken; home coconut ice cream
Food: 4.00; Service: 4.00; Decor: 4.00
Ground floor, Sangam Courtyard, RK Puram
Open from 12-12 (from 3.30-7.30 only sushi and dimsum are served)
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 1,800