Yesterday was my birthday and that meant going to the best place in town and having a slap up meal. The latest and supposedly greatest in Mumbai is Ziya, opened by Vineet Bhatia in the same place where he was head chef before he left to move to London and become the first Indian chef to gain a Michelin star.
The whole modern Indian food thing has just arrived in Mumbai strangely. You’d have expected the pretentious upper classes here to be desperate for some new way to show off their wealth but it seems they just don’t get it. They prefer their Indian food in a more traditional format.
In fact, just after opening, they had to call all the reservations to explain that the food would be served plated, course by course. Not trusting people to remember this when they arrive, the first page of the menu is devoted to a further explanation. Even still a table of four walks out after they realise that they won’t be getting their food in a little copper pot.
This doesn’t leave very many people in the place, just us a table of four, a single whitey, and a couple eating Michelin standard food with their hands – I’m definitely going to try this! So even with years of eating in European restaurants this way I’m not sure eating Indian food this way is going to catch on in Mumbai.
And in all honesty the food isn’t that great. We go for the seven course tasting menu and have an extra portion of foie gras. There’s a lot of repetition, like kitcheri twice – don’t they do other rice dishes in India, and the lobster mayo from the prawn dish makes three appearances. It just feels as if everything is not quite right. The only thing that I really enjoy is the masala foie gras with wild mushroom naan, but even this is served with a pointless fennel salad thing and the foie gras “coins” are grey and bland. At a price tag of 1800 roops it should be flawless.
The restaurant is just opened and maybe they need time to get everything right and even with the faults I had a great time there, but If Ziya wants to become the landmark restaurant I think they want it to be then they will definitely need to up their game a bit.