Culinary delights from the coastal

Last Updated 17 September 2014, 14:04 IST

Being aware of a place’s worth is bad at times because one ends up indulging oneself more in enjoying food than being critical about it. About two years back Metrolife reviewed Zambar at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj and designated it as a place worth going if a non-vegetarian wants to experience coastal delicacies. Recently when looking for a good place for South Indian cuisine in South Delhi, Metrolife decided to explore the former’s smaller version called ‘Zambar on the Moon’.

Since the eatery is located inside the Moon River store in Defence Colony, it is easy to decode why it is named fancily. Sure to fall in love with the dishes, one ends up appreciating the dishware too!

The super-efficient staff welcomes Metrolife with a drink Basant Neer – a concoction of fresh coconut water, lime juice and honey. On this sweet note we begin our coastal journey from Telangana to Karnataka. Quite literally the vegetarian platter comprised Telengana Aloo, Madras Onion Dal Vada, Mushroom Pepper and Idlis in a Pouch. The baby potatoes were more on the sweeter side making one disassociate them from the fiery protest that led to the birth of Telangana. The presence of tamarind controls the spiciness in this but nothing could control the crunchiness in Madras Onion Dal Vada. Mushrooms from the Malabar region are also not too spicy but idlis tempered with rye and curry leaves can give any professional a run for their money.

For the non-vegetarians, the snacks platter comprises – Gun Powder Prawn, Kerala Fish Fry, Mutton Sukha and Tamil Nadu Chicken 65.

The overpowering flavour of curry leaf in the prawn takes away one’s pleasure in enjoying its juiciness and the less pungent flavour of Mutton Sukka compels one to compare it with authentic Chettinad cuisine. Contrarily, the mild flavour keeps the taste of fish alive and a coating of spices makes juicy deep fried chicken memorable.

Crisp poppadum and colourful chutneys keep one busy as the staff sets main course for us. The fragrance of Malabar Vegetarian Stew tickles the nose and grated coconut in the milky white curry makes one take a second serving. The vegetables are brewed well in the stew to become soft to the core. Just like the tender lamb in delicious Achamma’s Lamb Curry. “This recipe is from my grandmother’s kitchen. Since my family was mostly vegetarian, the non-vegetarian dishes were prepared separately in a kitchen outside the house,” remembers chef Arun Kumar from his childhood when he spent his summer vacations in Kerala. 
One realises that the courteous staff doesn’t wait for orders and serves ceaselessly. What reaches our table is Malabar Egg Roast prepared in somewhat khada masala of onion and tomato. But what impresses more is the culinary delicacy Chettinad Vegetable Korma when teamed with Malabar Parantha. A bit of spice in the korma would have enhanced the whole experience though.

The Appam and Neer Dosa are accompaniments that cannot be dismissed when eating at a South Indian restaurant. But to expect innovation in desserts would be demanding. The desire, however, gets fulfilled with Litchi Payasam – a stem glass full of litchi pieces that swim in condensed milk tasting like rabri. The last thing to do is seal this taste with freshly brewed filter coffee.  

(Published 17 September 2014, 14:04 IST)

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