Fun-dining: Zega is heaven for those who love pan-Asian cuisine
Jazz music and dimly lit interiors welcome you at the pan-Asian restaurant, Zega, which recently opened in Hotel Sheraton, Gachibowli. Zega overlooks the bustling traffic of the IT hub of the city and sets the perfect mood for a classy evening. It now occupies the two restaurants that earlier stood in its place – inAzia and Chime. While the interiors haven’t changed much from what they were, the seating and the ambience has been refurbished for pan-Asian enthusiasts. And as they like to put it, Zega is more fun dining than fine-dining.
The Eastern influence
What seems like your everyday contemporary decor actually has subtle hints of the Far East. For the keener eye, the Chinese bells on the ceiling, the Japanese cherry blossom-coloured hues against the neutral walls and chimes that frame the view from the 10th floor are pleasant details. The busy kitchen set up on one end of the restaurant and bartenders flipping bottles will keep you entertained as you wait for your food to arrive. A choice of interesting cocktails adorns the menu aside from the usual bar staples. Ninja on Fire is one such rum-based beverage that features wasabi and pink ginger. On the other hand, the bartender’s recommendation, Nirvana, is a pineapple-flavoured vodka drink with hints of coconut, topped with star anise. If you can hold on until the food arrives, the waiter insists they go well with the Asian flavours in store.
Start with a bang
The meal starts with succulent dim sums. Chicken Shitake Siu Mais are a party in the mouth while the Crystal Dumplings stuffed with celery, mushrooms and asparagus are be a no-brainer pick for the veggie folks. The sauces served along with the appetisers, onion vinegerette, tomato salsa, schezuan sauce, make for perfect condiments that you’ll want second helpings of.
Their ‘Small Plates’ can fill you right up and you won’t complain. Prawn Tempura might not be for those with an Indian palate, but the Stir Fried Sole Fillet and Vietnamese Chicken will fulfill your need for some spice. On the vegetarian end, the Crispy Thai Lotus Stem is a must-try.
Zega’s speciality, Chef Amit Dash says, is the Tangra Chilli Chicken. Slow-cooked on granite, and served at the table with burning charcoal beneath the stone heating the chicken, this dish is inspired from Kolkata’s China Town, Tangra. As the chicken is doused in Korean sauce, which is quite tangy, the Chef chose to garnish the dish with pickled apple slices to cut the sourness of the chicken.
After an explosion of strong flavours, the Asian staples of rice and noodles arrive. The egg jasmine rice served with Yellow Thai curry soothes your soul while the wok-tossed soft noodles are cooked to perfection. The subtle flavours in these dishes cleanse your palate for the next course – desserts. Crispy brown surfaced Coconut Creme Brule is a treat for non-dessert-lovers too. Their home-made caramel ice cream plays the salsa on your taste buds with its sweet and salty flavour. But the matcha ice cream with its subtle tinge of green tea has to be the winner.
Average cost for two: `1,600.
From 12 pm onwards. At Sheraton Hyderabad. Details: 33165150