Monday, October 26, 2015

Ziu, Sangam Courtyard: High on Thai

Vegetarian Thai food is often hard to come by, especially when you are in Thailand. Things are changing for the better in that land, albeit slowly. And when Skeeter heard of Ziu, a progressive Thai restaurant in Sangam Courtyard at R.K.Puram (Delhi), a reservation was instantly made. Run by Gurmehar Singh Sethi who is the chef-owner of Ziu, the kitchen is in expert hands. Gurmehar hails from Delhi but his Nobu and Le Cirque background sets the bar high for Ziu. Before ordering her meal,Skeeter quizzed Gurmehar about the fish sauce substitutes where required,  and was told they use fresh Soybean paste (flown in from Thailand) to make the vegetarian Thai food at Ziu. Needless to say, Skeeter was sold.

The meal
Looking at the menu at Ziu, one may detect some regular Thai menu offerings but prepare to be amazed. They treat the way they serve you, differently, and that sets them apart. Tom Yum soup (Rs 295) was a hearty portion, easily devoured by two. The flavourful veggies came seated in a polished coconut-shell bowl with a hint of smoke enticing you; the spicy and sour soup was poured from a little jug over the veggies at the table. Subtle and flavourful, this soup grows on you. You can adjust the spice levels with bird’s eye chilli powder and chilli oil that is served on the table.

 
                                                                   Tom Yum Soup

Skeeter ordered a Som Tam salad (Rs 295), next, quite unsuspectingly. Sipping on her Pineapple cooler that was served in a flute glass (champagne style) with a hint of chilli Skeeter was amazed to be greeted by a bowl of hitherto unknown ‘fried’ Som Tam salad: Juliennes of raw papaya and carrot fried in rice flour batter to a perfect state where they retained the softness yet were crunchy to bite in. These were tossed in a light dressing, adorned with cherry tomatoes, and could certainly make a hearty lunch with a bowl of Tom Yum.

Pineapple cooler (left); Virgin Mojito (right)

Som Tam Salad

A hungry table of two ordered Kanom Krok (Rs 295) and Meing Khum (Rs 255) next. Kanom Krok were wondrous coconut crème brulee bites filled with sautéed tofu, galangal, super finely shredded kaffir lime leaves in a finger-licking good tom kha and chilly lime dressing. Skeeter could volunteer to be the brand ambassador for these. These were washed down with a Virgin Mojito with Ziu’s twist of freshly shaved coconut swirls. One can’t resist those! And the Meing Khum took us by surprise. Skeeter forsees people writing about it as Thai version of Indian Paan. But the similarity ends there. These were the most incredible palate cleansers-cum-salad. Wild pepper leaves were stuffed with chopped lime, chilli, fried garlic, shallots, peanut, ginger, toasted coconut and tamarind jam. Skeeter will ask for extra tamarind jam and a notch higher chilli level, when she visits Ziu next. And the presentation was appealing too! Besides, the portion is generous for a table of two.

                                                                      Kanom Krok
                             
Meing Khum

Saving more appetizers for another visit to Ziu, Skeets hopped on to the mains of Tofu Song Krueng (Rs 525) or Pan seared tofu cakes, topped with wok tossed seasonal vegetables. What caught Skeeter’s fancy were the tofu cakes and what made her wary was the standard wok-tossed line written in menus. Soon enough, she was proven wrong. The hearty tofu cakes were encased in a crunchy peanut coat and the wok-tossed vegetables (like morning glory) had her craving for more.

                                                        Chef-Owner Gurmehar Singh Sethi at work

Saving more appetizers for another visit to Ziu, Skeets hopped on to the mains of Tofu Song Krueng (Rs 525) or Pan seared tofu cakes, topped with wok tossed seasonal vegetables. What caught Skeeter’s fancy were the tofu cakes and what made her wary was the standard wok-tossed line written in menus. Soon enough, she was proven wrong. The hearty tofu cakes were encased in a crunchy peanut coat and the wok-tossed vegetables (like morning glory) had her craving for more. The burnt garlic fried rice were the perfect accompaniment.
Tofu cakes (left); burnt garlic fried rice (right)

But the true test came in the form of their Phad Thai noodles (Rs 295), a make or break for Skeeter. And these didn’t disappoint either! They tossed in oodles of veggies with the noodles, and everything blended together with a lovely homemade tamarind sauce. Besides attention to freshness, they use home grown microgreens and herbs in their dishes and that gives them an edge too!
For dessert, try their coco-nutty twist on the classic Tiramisu, if you find even a wee bit of space left in your tummy bag and you’d dream of the meal when you turn to bed. Skeeter did!

                                                          Dreamy dessert: Coconut Tiramisu                      
Meal for two: Rs 1800
Address: Sangam Courtyard, Major Somnath Marg, Sector 9, R K Puram, New Delhi. 
Phone: 011 26180711

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Skeeter’s day out at Asian Hawker’s Market & The Grub Fest in Delhi


With three food fests happening simultaneously in town, Skeeter was a busy girl. Busy eating, ofcourse! She could do justice to two, and here’s what the experience was like. The first stop was Asian Hawker’s Market at Select CityWalk. A well-curated one with a choice of space that already has good footfall on weekends; they did a smart job! True to the name of the festival, there were oodles of noodles, pot stickers, dumplings, satays & Sushi aplenty. Spicy Sushi at En made Skeeter happy and the Asparagus cream cheese roll at Guppy by ai has always been her go to favourite. These were washed down with a Cucumber n Kaffir lime cooler at Pan Asian.


Spicy Sushi at En

video
Takoyaki

Absolutely fabulous Cheese and pepper Takoyaki at Yumi Yum Cha were savoured with Orange & Kaffir lime cooler in the cutest takeaway bottle ever! Fantabulous veg pot stickers at Jade were had too. Dessert was again at Yum Yum Cha: Mango Mochi icecream. Couldn’t have ended better! Free entry was a winner. Everything was pegged between Rs 100 & 500.


The Grub Fest was entertainment of another kind. This time round its bigger and better. Delhiites like Skeeter would have to make a trek to Gurgaon (well almost), but once you are in, you thoroughly soak yourself in the ‘foodie’ spirit of the city. To reach the grounds, one enters through the Grub Market. Skeeter suggests to have a look on your way in and pick up stuff on your way out. At the grounds, there are an array of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, food trucks offering some great grub. The waffles at Eggjactly were okay, Momocha's soupy jhol dumplings were yummy, Bombakery is dessert bomb; try their Nutella cookies for sure! Bombakery is also offering single origin coffee on the grounds and it is just what you need when you get a little tired with all that walking! 


Eggjactly food truck

There's SodaBottleOpenerWala, Social, Smokey's, The Backyard, Lalit Food Truck, Duzoku tribal kitchen, Budweiser, Olive Bistro, Chaayos, Chai Thela to name a few. While there visit Grub Stories, a multi-storey travelling restaurant, with chic design and interiors, offering a terrace bar which provides fantastic views of the ground. Sunset is marvelous from up there! Skeeter didn't try any food there, though. On her way out she picked honey twigs (honey measured in a sachet for one serving!), cold pressed juices at fabulous offers, cold pressed edible oils and a lot more!


                                         video
360 degrees view of the fest