The very best food of the Middle East/North African region in the city.
Intro: the most finely balanced menu featuring old favourites and never seen before delights from the MENA (Middle East North Africa) gastronomic area. Even the bread that comes to the table gratis is an epicurean treat with halloumi cheese and mint stirred into the dough.
Atmospherics: there is a courtyard with two pavilions that act as private dining rooms, seating out in the open as well as inside the rich, opulent restaurant with wooden lattice screens and touches of the Middle East. You could be in a Lebanese restaurant in Dubai Mall for all you know.
Table talk: The real achievement of Zerzura is in being able to walk the fine line between kibbeh and hummus that no Middle Eastern restaurant can afford to miss, and never seen before items that are common in that region. The first example is ash-e-reshteh (Rs 315/345) the signature soup of Iran (though it is billed as Arabic on the menu). Thick, nourishing and food for the soul, Zerzura does a good job of the leguminous soup, perfect in this weather. Even tastier is the spinach and chickpeas broth (Rs 313).
Hummus with meat (Rs 255) is common enough in the Middle East: cold hummus is served with pan roasted slices of lamb. Served with pita bread served gratis and made hot and fresh, it is a play of textures and temperatures. Muhammara (Rs 225) is the most flavourful of all the dips, being made of red bell peppers and walnuts. Among the hot mezze, sheefas (Rs 555) turned out to be irresistible. Not unlike a cocktail pizza, albeit with a bread base, even the cubes of lamb atop the pie are soft and succulent and packed with flavour.
The kebab section shows off the talent in the kitchen, showcasing never seen before offerings. The Iranian jujeh kebab (Rs 545) is a masterpiece of softness and succulence: chicken has obviously been marinated in curd and the result is outstanding. The gentle, subtle flavour of the minced lamb chelo kebab (Rs 585) is exactly the same as it is in Iran. But it was the kebab tabei (Rs 585) that was the most unusual, served as it was in a skillet. Tomato chunks and garlic pods gave it another dimension of taste altogether. Vegetarians will be spoilt for choice.
Must try: crushed lamb kibbeh pizza, tagine of artichoke, potatoes and saffron, rosemary and honey ice-cream.
Shaheed Jeet Singh Marg
Ph: 8130466334, 9910800814
Meal for two: Rs 2,500
12 noon to 12 midnight