An ardent fan of South Indian cuisine, my mind stopped at Zambar. Located amidst the bustling life of Defence Colony, Zambar on the moon sits pretty in a quaint shop that sells intricate artifacts. As we approach the shop, I am swept away with the majestic appearance.
A compact place that Zambar is, it gives you a very familiar appearance that makes you congenial with the surrounding. A wallpaper of books look alluring but a rack on the left with pots and pans on the highest shelf reflects the urban household with secret recipes to share.
Zambar at Defence colony is a blend of the old world charm of treasured grandmother’s recipes presented in a suave and elegant setting at the chic Moon River store.
The newly established place has a cover area of 28 seats. We are escorted to a table of four, where our attendant serves us with a welcome drink – Vasant Neer. A refreshing drink of coconut water and honey served at room temperature in very interesting small bottles quenched our parched throats.
Along with it is accompanied a fried paapar served with three different chutneys namely ginger garlic, coriander and tomoto. The ginger garlic won hands down with its spicy flavor and pungent aroma while the tomato one was a little tangy. An add on was a gun powder served with sesame oil; bit bland but different from the other tastes.
Drinks from the menu that appealed to us were the humble buttermilk, mojito and aam panna that had their own unique tastes and flavors. The buttermilk made with a concoction of mint, crushed chana daal, curry leaves, mustard seeds and ice was heavenly while the aam panna accentuated the ripe mangoes to a different level altogether.
Zambar is famous for its coastal cuisine, so we were happy to try their authentic coastal flavors from down South. The talented chef Arun has diligently crafted the Zambar Special, keeping in mind the intonations of traditional South Indian community and home recipes to satiate the taste buds of the contemporary palettes. The menu speaks largely about Mangalorean and Coorg specialities sharing space with Kerala’s Malabar and Syrian cuisine.
An assorted platter of starters
The flavors of tamarind, asafoetida, star anise evoke a boisterous appetite as we were waiting patiently for our food.We started our culinary journey with an interesting platter of starters. The plate had a mix of different flavors in the form of mushroom pepper (mushrooms sautéed with pepper), Telengana aaloo (baby potatoes covered with spicy and tangy sauce), idlis in a pouch (mini idlis stir fried in gunpowder) and vadas (lentil fritters with chutney). Not a very big fan of mushrooms, I still tried them and found them
very different. The softness of mushrooms matched with the consistency and flavor of the freshly grounded pepper. Telegana aloo had a tangy flavor of tamarind covering the mildly done potatoes. The soft idlis were my favorite with its fried curry leaves and mustard seeds glistening on top.
Scintillating biryanis served with garlic chutneys. Then followed the ‘secret’ spiced Mutton Sukka, Gunpowder Prawns, and the very special Chilli Chicken Kerela Chi Kada. The tea shop version of the infamous chili chicken has a huge fan following down South. The soft and tender chicken pieces marinated with spices and herbs in coastal style make the dish more palatable.
The main course prepared for us consisted of Chicken Chettinad. Served with hot Appams & Malabar parotas, it created an epiphany that stirred our souls. The next one, a Tamil Nadu Fish Curry, that consisted of a premium basa fish prepared with curry leaves and tomatoes had an intriguing aroma and spicy tone that left us asking for more.
The mutton and chicken biryanis were the highlights of the feast. Prepared with chillies, cinnamon, coriander and tomatoes, each ingredient gave justice to the Biryani. The mixed raita and garlic paste acted as the perfect accompaniments. We closed the deal with two flavorful desserts of litchi payassam and basundi. The payassam, a perfect concoction of milk and sugar perfected with dry fruits was the perfect answer to end the meal on a sweet note. The highlight of the meal, a piping hot filter coffee delighted us even further. A dry pan served to us later complimented the entire experience.
Zambar on the Moon
D – 16 Near Diva Kitsch, New Delhi 110024 India
Ph : +91 11 4170 6669