Soft, subdued lighting, spilling through filigree lamps; intoxicating strains of Arabic music; exotic aromas invading your senses – all come together to conjure in your mind a magical Mediterranean night. That’s ZIZO for you. Set in the very heart of Delhi at Connaught Place, this beautiful place is tucked away just discreetly enough to catch the discerning eye. Though I have eaten here on occasion, this particular dinner was special. Curated by their very passionate chef, Danny Elsoury and with the very warm hospitality of Fouad Abdel Malik (Owner), the evening promised to be a delightful one.
Chef started our evening with a traditional Fattoush Salad, a trio of hummus served with the most delightful pita and the Provençale Chicken Wings. Before I go on to anything else, I must make a mention of just how spectacular their bread is. It’s none of that kind of hard, dry, floury pita triangles you get in most places as a sorry excuse of Lebanese snacking. It’s fluffy, soft as feather, pale beautiful rounds of aromatic bread. Its melt in your mouth, with a flavor so delightful, I could do with just that alone. So you see, their bread comes from a specially installed oven, flown all the way from the homeland, to dish out the authentic stuff. You can take a quick peek into their open plan kitchen to see where your food is getting made.
The Fattoush is essentially a ‘peasant’ salad made with toasted pita bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, chickweed, and mint. Refreshing, appetizing flavors that leave you ready for more. The hummus trio has the traditional, spicy and basil varieties. Though I absolutely adore the traditional style hummus, the basil flavored one is remarkably good too. The Provençale chicken was slathered with an aromatic coriander and lime sauce-lip smackingly good!
The strawberry and raspberry lemonades are not to be missed. Next we were served the Hummus Ras Asfour, the Hot Mezze Platter and Batata Harra. Batata Harra is the ever delightful spicy potatoes. The mezze came replete with falafel, lamb kibbeh, mini pizzas ( ma’nushe), pickled salads and what have you. Here I was given a short tour of the beautiful ingredients that come together to form the Lebanese cuisine. The very simple, fresh vegetables, nuts, whole grains, spices like sumac and zattar come together harmoniously to invade deep into your spirit. The preparations are almost rustically simple, with olive oil and garlic tenderly flavouring the food. You wont find any over-powering flavors in this cuisine – absolutely nothing takes away from the original flavor of any particular vegetable or meat; it only gently seasons and enhances.
We tried the flat-bread pizzas (ma’nushe) that were absolutely great; the pasta that can be given a miss not because its not that great but only because the idea is to enjoy Mediterranean food. The piece de resistance, however, was the lamb burger. Oh what a delightfully luscious lamb patty! Made all the way from lamb, mind you; none of that reconstituted hash at Zizo. Every bite afforded a crunch from the fresh salad, a juicy patty, tangy sauces and the softest bread. If all you can eat is one thing, I would recommend it be the lamb burger.
It was time to wrap up. Oh but wait – the proof lies in the pudding, don’t it! As we dug into the Cheese Kunafa and Lady’s Arm, all we could do was look at each other, eyes wide with wonderment. They are indescribable. I have never tasted dessert that’s sinful and refreshing at the same time! Flavors of orange blossom water and rose water with the luscious creamy cheese stuffing ; Oh it was orgasmic ! You just have to bite it to believe it…
An absolutely beautiful experience, with a wonderfully gracious chef and his team. I would visit over and over again….. Long live ZIZO !!!
K-18 & 22,
Connaught Place, New Delhi
Coverage By : Vickrham (vicky) & Sonalini Chaudhry
Compiled By: Sonalini Chaudhry
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org