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Thursday, April 19, 2018

This Time for Africa

Uzuri Deck and Dining scores high on flavour, portion size and service

Written by Shantanu David | Published: October 13, 2013 5:43:23 am

Despite an aural allergy to Shakira’s annoying-though-catchy football anthem Waka Waka,we did not hesitate to pinch its chorus for our headline. Because it really is a statement of fact. African cuisine is slowly making its presence felt in the Capital,and the opening of Uzuri Deck and Dining,a contemporary African European restaurant,is a clarion call of this. Swathed in shades of bright orange (the upholstery) and muted red (the African landscape murals on the walls),and embellished with objet d’arts,ranging from a gigantic bronze sculpture to woven tapestries,it’s clear the restaurant takes itself seriously. A friendly and knowledgeable wait staff and an impeccable music playlist complete their arsenal. Now to the important bit.

The menu is split into Land and Sea (meats and fish) and Nature (vegetarian). The dishes are mainly contemporary European in cooking and presentation,but use South African ingredients and flavours. This also means a lot of Asian infusions given the rich,cultural history of the Rainbow Nation.

We begin our meal with Crispy Chicken,Bite Size Prawns in Spicy Rooibos Broth and Water Biscuits,and Cape Malay Fish Cakes with Saffron Mayo and Nutty Capers. A bowl is placed in front of us,piled with chicken strips,prawns and translucent strips of bell peppers alongside a soup ladle filled with laksa sauce. A steeping teapot filled with the broth is poured until our ladle runneth over,as it were,creating a reservoir of spicy soup,redolent in umami,and the maroon-black shade of dragon’s blood. The curry flavoured fish cakes are peasant-style discs,crispy on the outside,with melting,desiccated texture on the inside.

For mains,we order Coffee and Paprika Crusted Tenderloin with Truffle Compound butter,which comes highly recommended by our server,and the African Spiced Leg of Lamb with Braised Radishes and Mint Puree. The medium-rare steak is about the size of a rock you could win a war with,though there’s nothing tough about the meat. The coffee and paprika,instead of dominating the steak,provide a soft background score for the luxuriant tenderloin to hit its full,red-blooded notes. Meanwhile,the lamb tastes quite familiar,with its spices highly reminiscent of the ones we use at home. The accompanying fresh and light puree provides the perfect foil to its rather earthy flavour palette. Despite the symphony of flavours both dishes manage to compose,we are shamefully unable to finish either,thanks to the generous portions. Next time we’ll jump straight into the main course.

Despite a few tense minutes with buttons which threaten to give way,we still order dessert — Semi Frozen Truffles with Chocolate Soil,Chantilly Cream (a fancy name for the whipped variety) and Grapes. A medley of decadently rich truffles,crunchy chocolate soil piled on a plate with swirls of cream as soft as clouds,this one reminds us why there’s always room for dessert.

Meal for Two: Rs 3,000 (including taxes,excluding alcohol)

Address: M 40,Greater Kailash 2

contact: 41623625

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