Zizo in Delhi’s Connaught Place believes in traditional dining
Once upon a time in a village in Lebanon, there was a little boy who loved playing with his green beetle. And he loved it so much that many years later, it became the symbol of good life, a happy childhood for him. That’s how the green beetle came to settle outside Zizo, the traditional Lebanese restaurant in CP, Delhi.
Wooden chairs for a retro look, lattice work on the walls, soothing Arab music by Umm Kulthum, framed pictures of idyllic Lebanese landscapes— gel seamlessly to give you a warm feeling that believe me, whips up a good appetite. Chit-chats with the CEO/ Co Partner Fouad Abdel Malak gave us some insights into the history of the place, like the beetle story.
The folks at Zizo like to call the place a “cultural centre”— and rightly so because nowhere else in Delhi is the touch of Arabia so strong, to the extent of keeping Thursday nights as Movie Nights, when Middle Eastern movies are shown, and Friday nights for belly dancing!
I have been told many a times, in countless restaurants, how ‘authentic’ their food was. No one told me that at Zizo. Instead, I was asked to experience it myself. So there I was, snooping around the kitchen, not missing a beat when they fired up the traditional Man’oushe oven (I found out that they had the oven brought in from Lebanon); from the preparation of the dough to making of the pita bread, I witnessed it all.
But before going on about the food, let me remind you that soon summer will be here and oily and spicy food will be the last thing in mind. At Zizo, the food is not oily at all (everything seemed to be baked!) and they say that it’s spicy, but it’s just perfect blend of hot and tangy—well, at least for the Indian palate! Starting my gastronomic tour of Lebanese goodness with glasses of hand-pressed mint lemonade (Rs 120) and mulberry lemonade (Rs 180) was a very good idea.
I opted for the mezze platter (Rs 550) that came with pita breads, hummus, fattoush (mixed salad of tomatoes and green vegetables, Mediterranean spice called sumac and pomegranate vinaigrette), labneh—yogurt cream cheese—with zaatar—Lebanese thyme, falafel, mixed pickles and a dip of garlicky Tahini sauce.
The whole idea was to make your own rolls and eat with hands. So no fancy dining there! Isn’t that great for a change?
Then I ordered for Batata Harra (Rs 220)—crispy fried potato cubes with chili-garlic dip—which soon became one of my favourites.
I was expecting the Provencale chicken wings (Rs 320) to be somewhat oily, but they were not! The lemon and coriander sauce gave it a refreshing taste.
Well, the ‘make-your-own-meal’ experience adds the fun element in dining.
Another big meal on their menu was the hot mezze platter (Rs 480) that consisted of small Lebanese pizza lookalikes—two each of mini zaatar, veggies and cheese, lamb pies, cheese rolls, chicken kibbeh (fried Middle Eastern croquettes)—served with chili sauce and garlic dip.
Now I wanted to see how my dessert was going to be made. The dessert of choice was Chocolate Banana Man’oushe (Rs 290)—cut-up bananas and roasted hazelnuts in chocolate, made into a roll.
Encouraged by Fouad Abdel Malak’s request, I called for the second-last order of the day—Cheese Kunafa (Rs 190). A Lebanese warm dessert with orange blossom syrup.
Coffee lovers, round up your meal with a cup of steaming Turkish coffee.
At Zizo, go for the wholesome Lebanese food experience. That should satiate the search for ‘authentic’ food!
Where: Zizo Restaurant ,K 18,22, Connaught,Place,Outer Circle,New Delhi
Cost for two: Rs 1200 approx
Timing: 11am to 11pm
Contact: 070425 55444