Chef Arun Kumar Ex Zambar will bust a lot of myths in his 3 day pop up ‘Zeaside’ to be held at Café Dalal Street, Connaught Place from 22nd to 24th April. His offerings go much beyond the commonly available Udipi cuisine consisting of Idli, Dosa and Sambhar which can be easily found in every nook and corner of Delhi.
His scrumptious menu will give you a glimpse of true home style coastal cuisine with a lot of non vegetarian options. The preview tasting session opened my palette for delicacies I had never tried before.
I kickstarted my appetite with Gunpowder Prawns and oh boy they hit the bull’s eye with a punch of vibrant flavor of gunpowder combined with the juicy tenderness of the prawns. The cuisine served here is Toddy Shop Cuisine which means that the kind of dishes served here are the ones that people in Kerala enjoy eating with the state’s locally produced liquor Toddy, and they love these dishes in their spicy avatar, therefore everything on the menu here was unusually spicy.
In vegetarian choices Chettinad “Kola Urunda” was delicious. It consisted of spicy vegetarian balls served with tangy tomato chuntney. Udipi ‘tiffin’ Platter which consisted of Mini Idlis, Mini Uttapams and Bajjis was well made too but the various chutneys served with it stole the show. They added great flavor to everything. Konkan style potato wedges were also spiced in a way that my tastebuds had never experienced before. All in all the vegetarian fare was highly satisfying and transported me to a household in Kerala.
In non vegetarian I tried Chicken 65, Mutton Sukka, Coastal Chicken Momos and Kerala Fish Fry. Out of all these Kerala Fish Fry hit the right chord with me. It seemed to be a bit hard and dry from the outside but when my fork waded through, I realized it was perfectly cooked. The flavor was there and the red chutney elevated it. I won’t say that I didn’t like the other dishes but maybe my palette is not accustomed to flavors too authentic.
In mains Appam was served with thicker versions of Veg Stew and Chicken Stew and Malabar Parotas were served with Chettinad Veg. Kurma and Kerala Mutton Fry. We also tried various Moplah Biryanis and the prawn one was simply superb. Each grain of rice had flavor of prawns, with a right balance of spices. In dessert I really liked Elaneer (tender coconut) Payasam which was quite similar to Rabri, but Coconut Jaggery Pudding was a bit overpowering on the tongue.
I hope and am pretty sure that these as well as other items on the Zeaside menu will hit the right spot with you. I recommend visiting the pop up, while it’s on, to everyone who loves and enjoys local traditional south Indian flavors as well as the spices used in the preparation.