Restaurant Review: Zaika in Delhi

Restaurant Review: Zaika in Delhi

It might seem rather strange that old Delhi-'s Fatehpuri area, otherwise known for its masjid and budget hotels, lacked a sit-down eatery despite a...

New Delhi: It might seem rather strange that old Delhi's Fatehpuri area, otherwise known for its masjid and budget hotels, lacked a sit-down eatery despite a profusion of these in the Chandni Chowk area. Enter Zaika and its delectable Mughlai fare.

"Zaika's priority is the taste. Our main aim is to satisfy our customers with the quality and quantity of our food," Zaika co-owner Danish Iqbal told IANS.
"There are no good restaurants in the Fatehpuri Masjid area. So we decided to open one and provide authentic Mughlai fare," he added.
It's not just the food. Hygiene gets top priority as well. Iqbal and his family members closely supervise the food as it is being cooked.
Zaika was first opened in Daryaganj in 2001 by Iqbal's father-in-law Mehtab Ahmed.
"The idea of opening a restaurant just popped into Mehtabji's mind. He is a big foodie. After the success of the Daryaganj restaurant we decided to open a branch in Chandni Chowk," said Iqbal, who now looks after both outlets.
"The style of cooking is the same as that in Daryaganj. You won't find any variation in taste. We just have a few more dishes than in Daryaganj restaurant and will eventually add more dishes," Iqbal said.
The owner proudly stated that their cooking style and taste of dishes distinguish Zaika from other restaurants.
"Our specialty is our recipes. The masalas are homemade and our cooking style is inherited from our forefathers," Iqbal added.
"We do not fear any competition. We are confident about our food that will keep customers coming back to our restaurant," Iqbal responded to a question on competition.
The restaurant, being new, is rather minimalistic in its interior decor - but this will soon change. There is a Kebab Corner at the entrance followed by simple table-chair sets for dining.
The menu was short and crisp and highlighted popular Mughlai dishes. The variety of rolls in the menu caught my attention.
As I sat down, I was welcomed with a Zaika chicken kathi roll. The filling comprised pieces of kebab dunked in malai, warmly wrapped in an egg-layered parantha. It was scrumptious.
Next came the chicken malai tikka - coated with butter and a thick layer of malai which melted in mouth the moment I gulped it down.
This was followed by a mutton shammi kebab; lip-smacking - tender and delicate, well-marinated mutton keema which replicated an authentic Mughlai recipe.
However, it was the fish tikka which satisfied my craving for tandoori dishes. The tikkas, made of surmai fish, were dominated with rich spice and butter flavours.
For the main course, I was served chicken stew and changezi chicken, accompanied by a tawa parantha as suggested by Iqbal.
The soft parantha was slightly sweet in taste while both the chicken dishes were rich in flavours with thick gravy spread over juicy, properly minced chicken. The taste explicitly spoke of the dishes being cooked with love and care.
Mutton nahari was another attraction on the menu that Iqbal recommended, adding that it is cooked completely home-style.
The menu will also bring a smile on biryani lover's faces. Apart from traditional Mughlai biryani, Zaika also serves authentic Hyderabadi biryani.
With hardly any space left in my tummy I decided to end up my meal with kheer which is prepared in the traditional Old Delhi way - the kheer being garnished with dry fruits was served in a small clay pot.
Veggie lovers may be a little disappointed as the restaurant serves few dishes for the time like paneer tikka, paneer rumalli roll and shahi paneer.
Iqbal said the vegetarian menu will be expanded in due course of time.
A highlight of the menu is the reasonable pricing: You can gorge on to many dishes without burning a hole in your pocket.
* Meal for two: Rs. 1,000
*Nearest Metro station: Chandni Chowk
* Landmark: Beside Fatehpuri Masjid.
By Somrita Ghosh
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