Not too long ago, if you were looking for a traditional fine dining experience in Mumbai, Kandahar at The Oberoi was where your journey ended. Not any more. After months of rebuilding and refurbishing what the November 2008 attacks destroyed, the doors to Ziya were opened. Offering cuisine from several regions of the subcontinent, this new restaurant exudes more warmth than Kandahar ever did. The bright lights and printed couches have given way to a cream and gold scheme that accommodates up to 140 people. The dress code is 'smart casuals', and you could say the same of the table arrangements too.
And then there's Vineet Bhatia. The first Indian to be awarded a Michelin star, Bhatia began his career at Kandahar before moving to the UK in 1993. He set up Rasoi in London and then Rasoi by Vineet in Geneva, both of which won him the star that decorates his name. As the brain behind Ziya, Bhatia dishes up Indian fare that defies convention by way of both ingredients and presentation.
The food at Ziya is exquisite. Each dish offers multiple textures, with a distinctiveness all its own. The appetisers include many of Bhatia's signature dishes like the Masala Foie Gras accompanied by Spice Dusted Foie Gras and Wild Mushroom Naan. The Tandoori Scottish Salmon and the Trilogy of Chicken-a platter of malai chicken, red pepper and chilli chicken, and mustard chicken also deserve mention.
Although the portions might appear small, they are filling. The main course is served with an accompaniment of either dal and roti or khichdi and raita. So don't be deceived by first impressions. Even if you'd like the Raan Mussallam all to yourself, ensure that you have at least one person to share it with, as the Dal Makhani, Jeera Aloo and Roomali Roti served along with it will take two mouths to finish. Bhatia's Grilled Ginger and Chilli Lobster and Tandoori Herb Chicken also come highly recommended.
For vegetarians, the Patti Aloo accompanied by Kokum and Curryleaf Khichdi is delectable as is the platter of grilled Achari Coastal Vegetables. The chef recommends that you mop up the food with breads. The ones with keema, saffron wild mushroom and masala cheese are popular. The plain-vanilla alcoholic drinks are priced at Rs 750 plus taxes, cocktails at Rs 900 plus.
All in all, Ziya offers a delicious meal amidst a great ambience!
Meal for two: Rs 6,800 (all inclusive). Tel: 022-66324343. Timings: 12.30-2.45 pm & 7-11.30 pm.