Wincing in the bright crackling heat,we hurried into Ziba,a new restaurant that has opened up in Punjabi Baghs Central Market. Its worth a visit just for the sheer chutzpah that the owners show by coming up with a global dining restaurant in an area usually revered for rich North Indian culinary traditions. Stepping in is like entering a shower. In the ambient dimness,we sink into our comfortable seats our eyes adjusting to the light and space.
The courses in the menu are divided into three sections: Indian,Chinese and Global. For starters,we go with the chicken shawarma,followed by vegetarian Thai-inspired crispy rolls. Meanwhile,to restore our tissues,we order a Virgin Mojito. The mojito appears first a fizzy,minty confection with sweetness and tang balanced superbly.
The shawarma makes a brief appearance on our table,almost a cameo,before retiring to our mouth. No faux Lebanese,desi flavoured roll,this. The chicken is liberally and fragrantly spiced,and the addition of a frisee lettuce leaf between bread and meat adds an entirely new dimension to the dish. The gherkins in place of the usual semi-pickled veggie offerings are a nice touch as well. The Thai-inspired crispy rolls comprise vegetable spring roll-like cylinders,accompanied by a honey chilli sauce nicely rounded off with garlic. While perhaps not the most original dish,it is nicely executed nonetheless,and surprisingly light despite having been deep fried.
For the main course,we go for Peri-Peri Spiced Oven Baked Fish. Cunningly curved,we initially think theyve got the order wrong and served us tiger prawns instead. Closer inspection enlightens us,and we were happily drowning our fish in Peri-Peri sauce. A note: while the fish was a fascinatingly fresh and well-cooked Basa,it was the sauce that enthralled us. Soon bereft of fish,we dipped the accompanying greens and chips in the sauce,after which we had to resort to scraping up the remains with a dessert spoon. It is that good. According to famous American chef Anthony Bourdain,An ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins. In this case,the sauce canonises the fish.
Finally,we order the molten lava cake,with the unoriginal name (or so we thought) of Chocolate Bomb. When served,it looks innocuous enough. A lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a streak of strawberry jam glaze running across the corner. Then we dig our spoon in and,boom! A positive explosion of chocolate issues forth,drenching nay flooding the bowl-like plate.
Meal for two: Rs. 1,200 (including taxes,excluding alcohol)
Address:6,Central Market,West Punjabi Bagh