I am back in the Sector 29 market, which probably has more restaurants per square foot than any other place in Delhi NCR. This time the destination is the exotic sounding Zura. The first thing that strikes me is the interiors. Built in four sections at different levels with a total seating of 86 covers, the décor is a combination of wood, contemporary fresh colours, tall ceilings, open spaces, and natural lighting.
I am greeted by the affable proprietor Nidhi Wadhwa, who I later realize is herself an alumnus of the California Culinary Academy. I am efficiently seated and presented with the menu, which clears up the mystery of the name for me. Zura, as per its first page, is a word derived from the Azure, the pale cyan colour of the sky, and is a metaphor for authentic cuisines from all over. In keeping with the theme, there are sprinklings from all over in the menu – the Mediterranean, the Orient, the Occident and the US as well as a small section dedicated to the Indian curries, biryanis and kathi rolls.
I decide to start with the unorthodox sounding oriental chicken salad (Rs 255). The service is quick, and when the dish arrives, I am glad I ordered it. Here is a chatpata mix of grilled chicken, cucumber, boiled rajma, peanuts and spring onion with a tangy imli based sauce. All this is topped with fried wonton strips, making the dish rather familiar tasting – very much like a sophisticated version of the Mumbai street classic, Bhel Puri.
With the taste buds singing happily, I ask Nidhi how she would describe the restaurant experience. “We aim to provide comfort and familiarity for every occasion. Everything that we serve is fresh and authentic” she says, looking quietly confident.
I have ordered oven roasted meatballs tossed in a spicy tomato chili sauce (Rs 325) next and they arrive soon thereafter. Interestingly, meatballs, or koftas as we call them, are a part of almost every cuisine – from Albania to Indonesia, and from Romania to Brazil. The meatballs here in Gurgaon are soft and succulent as they should be. However the sauce is cloyingly sweet, overpowering the meaty taste experience.
The main course of grilled basa fish with lemon butter sauce (Rs 525) is exquisite. The fish has been cooked to perfection giving it a melt-in-the-mouth texture and an oh-so-buttery lovely taste. The accompanying veggies and mash add to the experience. It is a dish I would like to repeat when I am here next, and recommend to others.
I am joined by Chef Dhiraj Kumar, who happily approves of my choice of tiramisu (Rs 250) as the dessert. The dish has been prepared classically and served in a martini glass. It has savoiardi (Italian finger cake) dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone, and generously flavored with kahlua and cocoa. It is a good dessert, but I would have enjoyed it more had it been a little less sweet.
Zura is a wonderful experience. The food is excellent, the service top-notch, and the prices reasonable. It is just the place to go to for special occasions, without burning a hole in your pocket.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.0 | Ambiance: 4.5 | Service: 4.0 |Overall: 4.0
Meal for Two: Rs 1400 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes| Timing: 12:00 noon – 11:30 pm
Address: SCO-40, Sector 29, Gurgaon | Phone: 0124-4251545/46