For once I didn’t pontificate about my rather colossal lunch, I went for a singular reason. The singular reason had nothing to do with food, flavour or fame – I went because Chef Vineet Bhatia is just an incredibly fun and generous man and in a chef, those are sexy virtues. The hotel very kindly invited me to dine with him on his last visit to Bombay. Since it was sunny (and not soggy) I happily trudged to Nariman Point. If my last meal there with the chef was any indicator of joy over a meal, I was very thrilled to experience similar emotions once again. If you scroll through the post, you will feast your eyes on some of the countless things I sampled and tasted which I think was the best thing since sliced bread.
What fascinates me endlessly is how Chef Bhatia takes such humble dishes, ingredients and flavours and plates up a meal that ignites my love for the local. I still might not eat chaat of the streets, but I have fallen in love with coconut chutney (especially if they appear in lego format), buttons of rogan josh, balchao, curry leaves and achar genuinely used to infuse flavour into proteins, and before I forget the smoky kheer, the toasted kapi (coffee) pannacotta. The coherence on a plate that’s local and global all at once made my palette ring with joy. And joy is the flavour of all things served at Ziya.
I’ve ho-ed and hummed in delight about my first meal at Ziya and I really insist everyone who loves a
good great meal read it.
There is no love sincerer than the love of food. -George Bernard Shaw
Dakshin Chatka –Sambar-Medu vada, Idli kabab-coriander coconut chutney
Chaat Thali- Papdi Chaat, Aloo Tikki, Vada pav tokri, Dahi bhalla
Poha –Aubergine chutney/ Prawn balchao
All Sangrias henceforth must mandatorily be smoked. By Royal Decree.
Tikka & Manchurian –Broccoli & Gobi / Fish & Chicken, Pineapple kachumber salsa – the Manchurian chicken was so good, that Abhik asked for more! And being a gourmet restaurant and not a parish workhouse I was served another helping.
Kerala inspired mutton in a tokri (basket). Finger licking good, but since it’s gourmet, I ate it with a fork and a knife.
Coconut Lime Semiya –Lasooni methi paneer / Pulled raan. The raan made a reappearance and once again took centre stage with a bright spotlight on it.
I radiate joy when I am presented with excellent food. While food guides and critics would have enough to say about each dish presented at Ziya, all I can say was that it was served with such love and precision. Everyone on the Ziya team goes the extra inch to ensure that your meal is an experience that will make you remember it with joy, long after it’s over.
“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” -Paul Prudhomme
Mr Prudhomme, you need a golden fork to eat good food!
A balanced diet is a drink in each hand, and an extra one- Abhik Bee
Masala cheese-garlic Naan- Pav bhaji / Kheema -mattar
Kheer –Caramelised pineapple, coconut granola and since life is uncertain I must put up a picture of dessert before anything else.
Sugar & Spice- Toasted kapi pannacotta, Malai kulfi, Brownie fries
Machi Duo- Home-smoked salmon in a honeyed mustard-dill marinade pan grilled coconut bekti, coconut chutney lego!
Seafood Konkani- Grilled Chilean seabass, curry leaf prawns, dhokla- prawn pickle kokum moilee, sagoo noodle crisp
Chaap Kheema- Ginger lamb chops, walnut potato toss, kheema matter horn, rogan josh coins.
The next best thing about this meal was photographing it and so, once again a round of applause for Kashvi Gidwani who took all these lovely pictures and shared this meal with me. Look her up, book her up at www.kashvigidwani.com
Lunch is served from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Dinner is served from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. For table reservations please contact +91 (22) 66326210
About Ziya – Ziya is the sophisticated Indian restaurant at The Oberoi, Mumbai, serving modern interpretations of Indian cuisine. The restaurant’s name is derived from the word diya, which means “glow, light, and splendour.”