Griddle me this: What do you get when you add a sitar to a guitar? A Zitar, apparently, fusion instrument devised by Niladri Kumar and also name of Powai's new Indian restaurant. Here's another one: what do you get when you add okra to blue cheese dressing? An awkward appetizer, low on cheese and dominated by crunchy okra, one that started off our meal at above mentioned restaurant earlier this week.
We also ordered boneless Chicken Pahadi, marinated in herbs and yogurt, quick to melt in our mouths; and Fish Amritsari, a too-exotic name for uneven chunks of bland - and we suspect, stale - batter-fried fish.
Because the menu at Zitar roams from North to South India with a short sojourn in Italy - why oh why must we have pizza on every single menu?! - our mains were nicely varied, including herb rotis with Mangalorean Chicken Sukka, Kashmiri Dum Aloo and Spice and Garlic Roasted Chicken. This course was much better than our tepid appetizers, bolstered by soft rotis and made fragrant with well-seasoned roast chicken and baby potatoes dunked in creamy sauce. We only wish Mangalorean Chicken Sukka was true to its original recipe—if the chicken was cooked in a finer coconut paste, with a little less tanginess and salt, the dish would have been perfect.
Since we had eaten enough to feed a small army, we got small, bite-sized desserts instead of the cherry rasmalai we had been eying all afternoon: tiny, crisp chocolate jalebis dusted with cocoa and splattered with sticky chocolate syrup and a spoonful of creamy, just-sweet-enough coconut rabdi sprinkled with chopped pistachios.
All of this was served to us on dark, hardwood tables that matched the floors, in a largely uninspiring space large enough to seat 75 people, to the tune of Indian acoustic tracks that even our musical-snob friend approved of. Zitar also has an adjoining bar, delightfully named "The Bathtub", which will apparently host guest DJs on weekends. We plan to stop by, not for the food but for drinks, and to see how many different word combinations - or "sandwiches" as Emma Donoghue describes them in her deliciously creepy novel Room, we can create out of "martini" and "bathtub".
Getting there: G1/G2/G3 Ventura House, opposite D-mart, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, 40157888, open from 12 pm to 12 am every day, Rs 2,755 for three people (including taxes, without alcohol).
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