Zaica, a fine dining restaurant on Cathedral rd, Chennai, offers cuisine from North West, i.e Peshawari. For people who are hearing it for the first time, this is the food of the warriors from the north-west frontiers, loaded with spices. And this review is on the buffet offering for lunch at Zaica.
Restaurant looks a bit different with spacious rooms (possibly a house converted), decorated with figurines, mirrors and little chandelier like lights. Lets now move on to the food.
Welcome drink was lemon soda and we were also served roasted paapad and papadi chat (nothing to talk home about them). I was eagerly waiting for the starters, to get the taste of the warrior food. and BTW, for buffet the soup and starters are served at the table.
First came the soup, I would say I was disaapointed with it. Yakhni Shorba was not hot, didn’t have even a single piece of meat, and tasted like broth. Next came the series of starters. For the non-vegetarians it was Murg Til Tikka, Murg Malai Methi and Fish Fry. Murg Til Tikka is spicy and tender, best among the lot. Murg Malai Methi is also spicy and tender. Fish fry was well done but not spicy as the tikka dishes.
This is one place where I hogged down vegetarian starters more than the non-veg variants. Veg starters for the day were Gul Gul Fom Ki Paneer, Beet Root Ki Tikki and Bhutiyan Di Seek. Beetroot Ki Tikki was nice and well done, ate tad too many of them. Corn stuffed Bhutiyan Di Seek was flavoursome and tasted good. And to my favourite one, Gul Gul Ki Paneer, it was just awesome. Paneer was well marinated and cooked so tender. Had to ask for a second serving :P.
I had just too much of the starters and didnt venture out for the main course. Tasted the main course dishes from my friend’s plate, the biryani wasn’t upto the mark. Chicken tikka masala was just ok. Mutton rogan josh was the best among the lot, meat was tender and well done. I tried these with the rotis and Parotta. Parotta was soft and good. Only veg gravy I tried with Parotta was Paneer Methi Malai and it tasted good with big enough bites of paneer. Breads combined with their signature dish, Dal Peshawari was good.
I was looking forward to the desserts, but was a big let down. Rice Kheer was cold and tasteless. Cake didn’t taste good either. Only hope was Gulab Jamun which was kept hot and I paired it with Vanilla Icecream and was better.
They change the dishes on buffet list often and is priced at 480rs on weekdays for non-veg and 450 for veg. I wouldn’t spend 480 just for the starters. The place needs a lot to improve on the biryani and desserts.