On a muggy rainy Wednesday evening, we tiptoed across puddles to reach Zitar. The name is inspired by Niladri Kumar’s electronic Sitar, popularly dubbed as Zitar. As the manager explained to us, it embodies the philosophy of the eatery — experimentation with traditional dishes to enhance its flavours and presentation.
At 9 pm on a weekday, the eatery was empty while its next-door neighbours were doing brisk business. We decided to forego judgment until we sampled their fare. With large windows overlooking the street and dim lighting, it made for a cosy nook from where one could survey the world passing by.
The eatery’s decor was confusing — we spotted bouquets of white artificial flowers lining the ceiling with multi-coloured as well Gond-inspired paintings on its walls. There was a main seating area and a bar (which was out of bounds as it had been reserved by a group) and a main counter. Strains of instrumental music were playing in the background.
The thick-set menu arrived, and we started off with an Egg Kebab (Rs 240) and a Tandoori Mutton Chop (Rs 350). Meanwhile, we settled with a Watermelon Cooler (Rs 199), which was a mix of watermelon juice, lemon and mint. The cooler was refreshing but the flavours of the watermelon were overpowered by the other elements.
The Egg Kebab arrived soon and tasted average. While we love eggs, this dish consisted of an egg white stuffed with coriander, tiny bits of egg yolk and egg whites piqued our curiosity. The concept was interesting and the crumbly kebab looked good. Alas! the dish lacked in taste. The Tandoori Mutton Chop, on the other hand, was juicy and succulent.
For the main course, we opted for Rajma Masala (Rs 220) and Hyderabadi Garlic Chicken (Rs 360), for a mix of north and south. The chunks of Hyderabadi Garlic Chicken were delicious and the dish had a balance of spices. The Rajma Masala, which was simmered in tomato gravy, was disappointing; it offered nothing new to tantalise our tastebuds.
Their dessert menu tempted us, thanks to the Cherry Rasmalai (Rs 120) and Chocolate Jalebi (Rs 120). The Rasmalai arrived with layers of cottage cheese, dunked in malai and jam, and made for a delicious sweet. The Chocolate Jalebi, a must for chocolate fans, was actually a regular jalebi drizzled with warm chocolate sauce — still, it made for a great combination.