ZORA – A Modern Indian Kitchen has taken Pune by storm with its progressive Indian food. Having won the award for the Noteworthy New Comer in the Times Food Awards, ZORA has upped the benchmark.
Headed by Joravar Sachdev and Chef Priyanka, Pune is in for a treat with some masterpieces flying out the kitchen.
As soon as you enter, there’s this really royal and nawabi vibe about this place especially with the chandeliers, the artefacts and the lighting. When you start dining, you might want to keep your camera handy because all the dishes are extremely photogenic.
The BTeam was really excited for this tasting and here’s a brief of the evening.
We started off with the Steamed Kheema Wanton Soup with Lavash Bark. The wanton sheets were well-cooked and the kheema flavour was evident. The Lavash Barks were served in a flower pot of dry ice.
The Palak Dhaniya & Couscous Shorba was served with a Garlic Buttered Brun. Being a person who has hated palak all his life, I must say the Palak Shorba was brilliant. It had a really subtle taste and the couscous added that extra texture to the dish.
For salads, we had the Peanut Chaat Salad in Kasundi dressing. For those who don’t know Kasundi is a Bengali mustard. This salad was almost like a bhel and had the pungent hit of the mustard.
The Stir Fried Kali Mirch Fish in a creamy kadi patta dressing was really good. It had diced cubes of fish in black pepper and juliennes of bell pepper. I must say that the flavour of curry leaves was really wonderful.
We had 3 starters each in the vegetarian & non vegetarian section. Most places do not pay attention to the accompaniments or the sides. But at Zora, I can truly say that the sides are as great as the primary component of the dish.
The Badami Yoghurt Kebab was served with a chatpata imli saunt. It was a very delicate and melt in mouth kebab with subtle flavours of the almond and cardamom. When paired with the imli saunt, the flavours just accentuated.
The Tandoori Broccoli was served with an aampapad chutney. Marinated in cream and spices, it was really flavourful. A good hit of the coconut cream and the equally complimenting aampapad chutney was a brilliant creation.
The Indian Spiced Lamb Chops were served with a red bell pepper achaar. I was a little disappointed with this dish because my chop had only two bites of meat. Nevertheless, it was perfectly cooked.
One dish I had been waiting for all this while was the Bhut Jolokia Tandoori Murgh with a cilantro foam. People who cannot handle spicy food should not even consider eating this. Having loved spicy food all my life, I was up for the challenge. The kebab was no doubt well-cooked but it ended up with water flowing down my eyes and a runny nose. I loved the level of spice so much that I went ahead and had another kebab. I will say, “Try it, to believe it”
For mains, we had almost 8 dishes but I was quite full and didn’t get a chance to taste all of them.
I had the Tawa Subz Fondue with cheese garlic naan and a toasted bread. The vegetable gravy was actually served like a fondue in a pot with a simmering flame. The gravy was creamy and delicious while the cheese garlic naan was simply brilliant. Took me straight to heaven!
The Sukha Tawa Chicken Masala was served with a buttermilk bubble waffle. It seriously looked so picture perfect and tempting. The spice in the chicken is well balanced by the sweetness in the waffle. It is a very subtle flavour combination overall.
The star of the night was definitely the Matka Butter Chicken Lasagna served with a crusty masala naan. Butter Chicken in a matka covered with a layer of cheese with strands of cheese as long as you pulled your fork was a delight to watch. The butter chicken was so damn heavenly that the entire dish was polished off in less than 2 minutes. It was absolutely creamy, cheesy, flavourful, sweet and subtle.
For desserts, I had the Chocolate Pani Puri. It had nutties and popping candy as the filling accompanied by a butterscotch and chocolate sauce. Hats off to the chef for the creativity in this dessert. Each puri is just a flavourful explosion in your mouth.
The White Chocolate Blueberry Kulfi was accompanied by a kumquat mousse and strawberry compote in the form of a splat. I am not really a fan of white chocolate but I had no problem in having a few mouthfuls of this brilliant dessert. When all elements are put together, it tastes all the more great.
We also had plenty of amazing mocktails to keep us going for the night. My pick from the mocktails were the Apple Cinnamon Mojito and the Pine Berry. They were sweet and just apt for my palate.
I would like to thank Mr. Joravar Sachdev, Priyanka and Team Zora for having invited and hosted us and filling our minds with memories of an absolute foodie treat.
Disclaimer: The invite was for a complimentary food tasting event. This review is a narrative of my experience at the event. The views expressed in this review are solely mine and others are more than welcome to agree or disagree with the same. The review is in no way influenced either personally or commercially nor has it been lifted, copied or plagiarized from any source however I have done my due diligence on the event via publicly available information on the internet.
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