Lebanese Affair at Zizo, Connaught Place

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When you think of Lebanese the first thing, at least in my head, is the endless hole-in-the wall joints that serve Shawarma rolls or a café that serves mezze platter with hummus, falafel and pita. And if you want something fancier- you need to head to more posh-restaurant, a five star maybe, to tuck into Baklava or bread flavored with Zatar.I have been bought in a family highly influenced by these flavors- my mum was bought up in the Gulf. So Zizo was on the list ever since everyone I see rave about it. Placed right next to Gola Sizzlers, Mr. B and I did no booking and headed straight in to try the Lebanon flavors. First off, the décor is wonderful, no second thoughts here. The restaurant is HUGE. There is a lot of room to fill in a lot of people. Every corner is beautifully decked up- mason jars with colorful pickled vegetables, cookbooks on a bookshelf, attractive wall designs and cozy, comfortable furniture. We started with hand-pressed mint lemonade and mulberry juice. The lemonade was alright but the mulberry juice is something I recommend. The berries gave a refreshing kick and a slight tangy-sweet-kind-of-taste making it perfect summer drink.

As we sipped, we were served the Hummus Chicken Ras Asfour. We did request to serve it with the spicy variety of hummus and the staff obliged. I am not sure if the chicken overpowered the spiciness of the hummus because we did not taste anything next to spicy. Nevertheless, the dish was delicious. The chicken was moist, the hummus good and the whole thing went well the fluffy warm fresh pita bread. To be honest, the hummus tastes okay- better than a lot of places but not the best I have had. Anyway to make the most of this dish, we order the Crusted Shankleesh Salad. This is basically a salad (lettuce, spinach and other greens) topped with Lebanese Cheese balls (homemade aged cheese rolled over spices) Dressed in a Rosewater Vinaigrette, the salad made me smacking my lips. The cheese does have a slight fermented odor but nothing disturbing. Black sesame, zatar, chilly and other spices made with cheesy-goodness heavenly. Crumb these up, mix it with the fresh greens, plop them into the pita bread, put some hummus and chicken- you have a dish you would love.

We also got carried away and ordered the Oriental Leg of Lamb. Rice, lamb, nuts, yogurt and oriental gravy made to our table steaming hot. As we plated on ‘Salted with Happiness’ plates and being awed by it, I decided to taste the pickle as well. Anyway the lamb dish is superb. The lamb was well-made, the seasoning perfect and the rice not at all mushy. The rich gravy along with cold yogurt and those crunchy nuts made the whole deal extremely delicious.We were full but I had to try the Baked Halawa Cheese Cake which I did. This was the perfect way to end the meal, in fact the best. We spooned into the soft, crumbly cheese layer down till the halawa layer, dipped into the sweetened floral scented syrup and literally went ‘umm’. The pistachios on the top (though I hate them) went really well here. However Mr. B wanted the halawa layer to be much thicker.Overall, I wouldn’t say it is authentic but better than many places I have tried in Delhi. The dishes are contemporary and slightly tweaked for us to enjoy which is good thing. I would recommend this place for a healthier meal though I would like the menu to expand. The options for both, vegetarian and non-vegetarians are limited.

For a fresh breeze in the food world head over here. The service is good; staff friendly, well-informed and prompt; interiors spick-and-span; food delicious and prices pocket friendly.

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