By Rupali Lamba

The new South African place in the hood was making waves. I read mixed reviews, witnessed endless debates and arguments on food forums and concluded that Uzuri is on the top of my ‘must-visit’ list.

The meaning of the word Uzuri is ‘goodness’ or ‘beauty’ is Swahili. Both qualities were present in most of the dishes served up. So what was it that was driving food critics loco? The main point of contention is the basic understanding of what South African cuisine really is. SA is one of the few countries that has been colonized repeatedly. Their food reflects influences from the native countries of all the colonists as well as their slaves. Be it Dutch, German, French, Indonesian, British, Indian, Portuguese or Malaysian – South African food is a colourful fusion of the best of European and Asian cuisine.

On top of the fun one could have with the cosmopolitan nature of the food, the Uzuri kitchen is led by Chef Rishim Sachdeva and Chef Guy Clark who have been sous chef to Heston Blumenthal and a finalist on Master Chef SA, Season 1 respectively.

There was a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian {moi} at the table – and this is how it went down…

First, the Breadbasket. I judge a restaurant by the effort they put into a breadbasket – it shows their attention to detail and also reveals their spirit of generous hospitality {or not} through what is technically a freebie. The Uzuri breadbasket was delectable – warm focaccia, dinner rolls and crisp herbaceous lavash, accompanied by three flavoured quenelles of butter – pesto, paprika and garlic.

The mocktails were CRAZY GOOD. The kaffir lime mojito was in that wonderful place that mojitos can be when they are not doused in sugar to offset the lemony-ness.

STARTERS 

uzuri-starters-drinks-1{Kaffir Lime mojito, Lemon posset}

The Trio of beetroot and goats cheese mousse, toasted pumpkin seeds and warm bread {foolproof combination} was more fun than its counterparts around the city. It was also ridiculously simple. Every bite and variation of the dish contained sweet beet and creamy goats cheese. Texture was created with warm buttery bread or with a smattering of pumpkin seeds.

The Spicy vichyssoise with garlic herbed croutons, more commonly known as potato leek soup, was served warm {it is usually served cold}. It was tasty and apt for the weather, which was closer to winter. The underlying heat added to its warmth.

The Cape Malay fish cakes, saffron mayo and nutty capers were not as refined as everything else we ate. They were an oily version of something you may make at home. I loved them because I am a sucker for all food Malaysian. The cakes mentally transported me to after hours in KL, when the city gathers by the street to eat after a night out of partying – not something you would expect in a relatively formal setting.

The palate cleanser came in the form of a Lemon posset. An old English spiced drink made with curdled milk/cream with a spirit, a posset is not for everyone. This particular version exploded in my mouth with tartness, sweetness and a grainy texture that I am not used to. I am still undecided on whether I enjoyed it or not – a big ‘no’ for the purists.

MAINS

uzuri-main-course-2{Tenderloin, Cannelloni}

The Spinach and ricotta cannelloni with spiced herb bake showed us that the chef was not afraid of turning up the heat! A creamy translucent cannelloni lay beneath spiced crumbs that Heston Blumenthal has popularized as various flavours of ‘dirt’. Each bite was packed with heat, which subsided between bites. We tasted all the elements of the dish to try and identify where the chillies lay, but in vain. Overall, all the mirchi lovers out there – this one’s for you.

A sneak peek into upcoming items on the menu {as the vegetarian in the house was unimpressed} was the Filo wrapped haloumi with carrot mash. This dish displayed some fine craftsmanship, with precise and neat layering. It was also very filling – the best of both worlds! Most importantly, the carrot hater was converted into a carrot lover, as the mash was exquisite!

The Coffee and paprika crusted tenderloin, truffle compound butter, marrow roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables was phenomenal and memorable for all the right reasons. The meat was cooked exactly the way I had asked for it to be, cut beautifully, and the butter simply did it. The veggies were good for my conscience, but the potatoes were outshined by everything {even the malay cakes}.

DESSERT

uzuri-delhi-3{Chocolate soil, semi frozen truffles, caramelized nuts, pickled grapes and butter caramel ice cream}

I was looking forward to sampling my first Eaton Mess. It was light, it was fluffy, the meringue was perfect BUT the cream was warm – enough said.

The very very grand finale was the Chocolate soil, semi frozen truffles, caramelized nuts, pickled grapes and butter caramel ice cream. Luxurious, rich, layered and mesmerizing. I am lost in the sweet fond memory of that plate now.

Over and out.

 

Notes in our Little Black Book |

Uzuri; A fabulous vibe for friends, families and partners alike. A place where you can actually converse with one another. Recommended for a steak and dessert kinda date.

Where | M 40, Greater Kailash 2 Market

Timings | 12 Noon to 11.30pm

Contact | 011 41623623, 011 41623625

Price | INR 2100 for two