Zaman, Hotel Ista
April 3, 2007
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Located near Trinity Circle where Lido theater once stood, Ista is a four star hotel which has two restaurants – Lido, a 24 hour coffee shop serving multicuisine food and Zaman, a formal dining restaurant that serves Awadhi cuisine; and a bar, Liquid.
Zaman is a fine dining restaurant – at the entrance are huge temperature controlled wine shelves stacking about 300 wines. Sparkling wine and water glasses catch the flicker of innumerable candles, huge vases filled with fresh white flowers add to the classic and elegant dinner ambiance and gorgeous chandeliers glitter from the ceilings. On one corner is a glass partition through which you can view the kebab display which extends to allow a view of the open kitchen where the chefs dish out exotic rotis and naans. By one side are chairs and tables arranged like private booths – separators are muslin curtains hanging from the ceiling, a nice touch.
The menu is extensive – and I must say, has excellent vegetarian options, which surprised me, since we usually associate Awadhi cuisine with kebabs and mutton biryani. The dahi ke kebab which is basically a yogurt flavoured vegetable patty is superb. The shama bahar, green chillies stuffed with cottage cheese, was a bit too spicy. The sunhari kannez or chicken kebab was ok. Main courses, especially the vegetarian ones, were fantastic. The tawa ka parantha, subtly flavoured with saffron, is a complete winner. Rich, sweetish flavoured kajur kofta was superb and so was the robust channa masala. The makai phalli, mixed vegetables with corn, was delicious. The murg dum and the dum biryanis, both chicken and vegetable, were good. For dessert, try the malpua rabdi – it is guaranteed to melt in your mouth.
The restaurant is a good, if somewhat pricey option, to celebrate a special occasion. A meal for two without alcohol is approximately Rs.1400. Parking is available inside the hotel.
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