When we heard that a restaurant specialising in Himachali cuisine had opened shop in Navi Mumbai, we were curious to check it out. After all, on those trips to the hills; the staples offered were parathas, even dosas and the ever-present “alu+anything-sabzi”.
After an Internet search for traditional fare, we found Dham Thali, Marda, Kaddu ka Khatta and so on. With anticipation, we headed to Himachali Zaika at CBD Belapur for dinner. When we called for directions, the staff informed us that their ceiling was being renovated and so a takeaway was preferrable. Since we were on our way already, we dropped by.
The restaurant is in a building which houses many other eateries, but the surroundings are somewhat deserted at night. When we reached, staff informed us that there were no Himachali dishes to offer (!) and we could order their Chicken Chilly, Chicken Curry and Biryani. Though the menu showed one or two obviously Himachali dishes, we were told that these weren’t available that evening.
With suggestions from the staff, we ordered the Chicken Chilly (`220, eight chunks), Chicken Curry with Rice (`120) and Vegetarian Biryani (`110). The chicken was fresh, well-cooked and soundly flavoured, in both the dishes. The Chicken Chilly was tasty but had more Schezuan sauce and less soya sauce than what’s dished out in most restaurants. Likewise, the curry was flavourful (floating in oil), but tasted suspiciously close to a chicken curry served in Panvel’s village dhabas.
The Biryani was a hurried mishmash of spices, oil, vegetables, food colour and rice. To give them the benefit of doubt, they were probably getting their ceiling repaired and ill-equipped to deal with guests, but it would’ve helped if they had been honest about their inability to serve their entire menu before we came by. The small number of Himachali dishes doesn’t justify the name Himachali Zaika. We are hopeful for the real deal at a later date.
At Kukreja Plaza Building, Plot 55, Sector 11, CBD Belapur.
Himachali Zaika didn’t know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals.
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