In a nutshell:
Thematic Décor that kept me engaged for a long time, average waiting staff who r just doing a job, and good but not outstanding South Indian vegetarian & non vegetarian food.
Address & other details: Zambar
Meal for 2: Rs. 1000 onwards
Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:
A lot of people I have come across in Delhi NCR have the notion that South Indian restaurants serve only Idly dosa, vada. Zambar breaks the notion for such people. They serve vegetarian & nonvegetarian dishes from different parts of the 4 southern states. I guess there r not too many resturants that serve this cuisine outside of Amravathi , Swagath etc & some 5 Star restaurants like Amaranta, Dakshin etc.
The walls have huge posters of South Indian Movies. That catches the eyes b4 anything else.
The furniture is basic polished wooden and have a retro look & feel.
The salt sprinklers, the trays in which malabar parotha is served, the serving utencils r not the usual ones but carefully chosen and stand out in the mind.
Staff were average. Not bad, nothing good to talk about. Our server just seemed to b doing a job.
Food here is firstly stuff that u do not get in most places. That makes one crave for it. Food was generally good. Some had sparks of brilliance but overall far short of ‘outstanding’. Authentic / rustic ness of home made south Indian food was missing. Pungency reduced. I guess this happened due to an effort to adapt taste & flavor to the family diner of Delhi.
Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:
The first brush with something here was with Buttermilk. The tadka had been freshly made, flavors were all over the drink & infused into every drop of this drink. Rate it 4.5/5
Fresh Fruit juice of the day. I was told fresh fruit of the day was ‘musk melon’. Muskmelon juice sounded interesting & we ordered it. A Red colored thin juice came. I said ‘this is water melon’. He argued. I drank it. It was nothing but plain & simple watermelon juice .…………… unless the haunted atma of a murdered watermelon had entered a genuine muskmelon juice!!!!!
Assuming I ignore this spooky incident, I wud rate the bland, feeble, tasteless juice 2/5.
We then moved on to Gunpowder prawns – Prawns stir fried with ‘home made’ gunpowder – claimed the menu card. I always wonder ‘how can something served at a restuarnt b home-made.’ Isn’t that an oxymoron?
The prawns were very nice & soft. However the gunpowder did not have the zing that gunpowder is supposed to have. It was mildly flavored & mildly hot. I guess someone adjusted it for a kids menu & then forgot to change it back. Rate it 3/5
South Indian Calamari / Squid rings – Squid rings with a juicy seafood filling. That description in the menu card got us salivating. I do not remember seeing too many Indian restaurants serving calamari this way. Great concept. Very good taste. Really juicy inside but a bit far from excellence due to subdued flavors. Rate it 4.25/5
We also tried Zambar potato roast. Loved munching on this potato dry curry. Rate it 3.5/5.
We had this with Malabar Parota. It was nice, soft & flaky. Rate it 4.25/5
We also ordered Aleppey stir fried crab meat. This was nice. Though any preparation like this tends to kill the sweetness of crab meat & the flavors, they did not do a bad job of this. Rate it 4/5.
Achamma’s lamb curry – Grandmother’s recipe, lamb cubes simmered in coconut milk and spices. One of my co-dines who was a Keralite said it was not authentic. I thought so as well. However the taste of this gravy was really nice & we finished it off till the end. Rate it 4/5.
We enjoyed the meat curry with Neer dosa. Nice & soft but lack of fermented feel to it. Rate it 3/5.
Overall rating of food at Zambar averages out to 3.6/5. In the lack of options, I will keep going till a more authentic & rustic South Indian Nonvegetarian restaurant pops up in Gurgaon.