Zarf restaurant review

Bengaluru’s new Zarf | Indian, by design
“It took me five months to create this menu,” says J.P. Singh, executive chef of Sheraton Grand Bengaluru, where Zarf, a new fine dining Indian restaurant has just opened.

In a city overrun with new restaurant openings, Zarf differentiates itself by paying homage to undivided India but with playful twists. First come the papads with many chutneys, including one made from hemp. New ingredients like asparagus and edamame make their way into the kebabs but are used with restraint so that even corporate diners who want no-fuss Indian food will be satisfied. Chef de Cuisine Hardeep Singh exudes quiet confidence as he describes how he makes his fresh garam masala that elevates many dishes. The female wait staff too strike the perfect balance between Indian-style hospitality and Western-style knowledge about ingredients and soft recommendations.

The dishes have familiar tastes allowing you to either appreciate or forget the new ingredients used. For example, Zarf’s murgh malai tikka is marinated in saffron cream but has an added dose of parmesan cheese for an elegant twist. The dals and soups are outstanding. The paya soup, slow-cooked for 24 hours, was a nod to the season, while the vegetarian version had healthy, yet delicious moringa. Its yellow dal is served at the table with a bit of fanfare: Much like how waiters at a Mexican restaurant mix guacamole at the table, the excellent service staff at Zarf do the dal-tadka or tempering at the table. Its kali dal could give Bukhara a run for its money.

Part of the promise of a five-star is that they have the clout and ability to source excellent ingredients. Hence, New Zealand lamb makes its way into the melt-in-the-mouth kakori kebabs. Bannur lamb goes into the Gowda recipe that bears its name. The tandoori chicken dishes are melt-in-the-mouth without being dry or losing their shape. Seafood lovers will not be disappointed. The Kerala fish moily gets a new avatar with lobster being the star ingredient prompting repeat visits. One gentleman from the UK came four days in a row just to eat this lobster before taking off. Calcutta fish and chips carries the flavour of Gondhoraj lime and is expertly filleted. Standout vegetarian items include a shami kebab flavoured with soft goat cheese, a kathal (jackfruit) ka kofta, and a melange of greens including mustard, amaranth, fenugreek, and spinach, all combined with a masterful hand. The Multani paneer tikka has textures of mango—familiar to Indians, yet refreshing. The breads are varied with jowar, jalebiya naan, low-glycemic-index and are therefore diabetic-friendly. Desserts balance South and North with the famous Mangalorean gadbad icecream served alongside kulfi. But by the time diners get to dessert, the heart and stomach will be full. In short, Zarf is a celebration of Indian cuisine.

WHERE: Sheraton Grand Bengaluru, Whitefield, Bangalore.

CONTACT: +918071008100

COST FOR TWO: Rs 3,000 (without alcohol)

Subscribe to my newsletter