Uzuri - Deck &Dining
Honestly, folks I'm beginning to think there's something in the water here that just isn't conducive to good food. After hearing about the young chef duo - Indian Chef Rishim & Chef Guy from South Africa, who opened a modern European restaurant (laced with African influences) - I was quite excited. Chef driven restaurants are a little more reassuring for some reason. Plus they had the double M stamp - Michelin training (Chef rashim has supposedly trained under Chef Blumenthal) and Masterchef experience (Chef Guy was a masterchef finalist in South Africa), I assumed the food would be great! Well, ever heard the expressing “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me” ?
The decor - felt like Payless's African themed home collection - a tacky mess of sorts. Though the outdoor deck area on top is lovely and would be great for small private gatherings. That's with the hope that their drinks will at least be better than their food.
So I painted grand illusions in my mind. Convinced the troops that this was well worth a Sunday lunch, even without the alcohol ( liquor license should be in this week apparently) . What a grave mistake to attempt that food without advantage of altered judgement.
- Lets start with the Trio of Beetroot w/ Goat Cheese Mousse, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds & Warm Bread. Pardon my french, but what the hell was that?? I feel almost offended when I am served a dish like this - yes I get the whole contemporary thing, I get the whole minimal thing - but if you're going to have two things on the plate make it bloody well count. The "trio" comes from - salt baked, pickled, and braised - now thats a lot of time spent for nothing if you ask me. So you can cook beetroot 3 ways? Am I too applaud you on attending culinary school? Even if I were to get past that and believe, some how eating beetroot cooked 3 different ways, is going to add a lot to my dining experience - what about the other ingredients on this plate? Serving goat cheese that tastes rancid is a no go in my books - minimal or not. Goat cheese is quite fragile in that sense. Once opened and exposed to air it can very quickly develop this rancid taste, often found to develop in yoghurt or feta too. When I say rancid, I mean rancid, not sour that came from the lemon juice it was combined with. And why was the bread skulking in the corner you ask? Well, because it was punished for being stale and soulless (and cold).
- Filo Cocoon Prawns, Mango Mint Salsa w/ Parma Ham, Melon w/ Summer Vodka Dressing - this was in the appetiser section (which it sounds like) not the salad. Maybe I'm missing something here and you all could clarify it for me. Does it or does it not sound like you would be getting 3 very different elements on one plate? Or do they get to pick any two things, toss it in a bowl and make a salad out of it? It's one thing to not execute a dish well because of a lack of prowess and another to completely mislead your guests. For me what was on the menu did not replicate on my plate. Oh and there was absolutely no sign of any melon in here. How was it as a salad though? You have to be really inept to make fried prawns taste bad, so thankfully they managed that. The parma ham was good. However, some of the lettuce looked a bit sorry, which is inexcusable especially since it is a salad. Oh no it isn't. I wonder if they're as confused as I am? Yet, surprisingly or unsurprisingly it was one of the better dishes on our table.
- Spiced Chicken, Roast Carrots, Pickled Onions w/ Chilli Crème Fraîche Dressing - Overall, the dish was not bad but neither was it much above average. The chicken meatball like things were slightly dry, very chickeny (you either get that or you don't, at this point I'm too annoyed to explain). I did appreciate that no one element on this plate was superfluous and they all came together well. I guess that's about it.
- Cape Malay Fish Cakes - Saffron Mayo & Nutty Capers - I ordered this because I love Malay food and I love fish cakes. Seemed like an obvious choice. What I thought was an ugly puddle of water under my fish cake, I was just rightfully corrected is a Beurre Noisette to actually moisten the fish cakes - my bad. The fish cake was a bit too sour. According, to a couple of my friends it tasted more like a potato cake than fish cake. I agree there could have been more fish - deja vu - I feel like this happened to me elsewhere recently. I like the texture more than anything, that comes from fish rather than potato. But I didn't think they skimped all that badly either, but I did feel cheated on the "Malay" front. If they just called it a fish cake it would have fared better with me for there was nothing "Malay" tasting about this dish!
- Beef Carpaccio - At this point I started wondering whether the chefs had gone on an early Diwali break, leaving the kitchen to a bunch of amateur cooks. First of all, the colour of this meat, was enough to make my breakfast churn. Now, unless you are serving me some Grade-A meat that has the pedigree to stand on its on - season, season, season! But what really led me to my earlier suspicion, was the sacrilege committed in the name of butchery. Now, it's all very well to have learnt how to cook a beetroot three ways, but what would any chef training say if they saw this? Not only was the meat sliced unevenly, but those thick cuts were a far cry from carpaccio. What we had on our plate was, low grade meat of an unsavoury appearance (though it didnt taste off at all), sliced too thick - a perfect way too ensure its descent in to the dreaded realm of "chewy ". Good carpaccio simply rests on two things - good meat and good knife skills - if you don't have them, well then don't butcher us instead ...
- Lemon Vodka - Palate cleanser - Yes it was lemony, and creamy, and it sure wiped that awful taste left from the carpaccio right out. But honestly, at this point who cares?
- African Spiced Leg of Lamb, Braised Radish, Mint Puree, 48 Hr Caramelised Onion w/ Confit Garlic & Caper Jus - Pheuf! To start I wish they wouldn't put me off a dish before even tasting it. Anyway, the Mint Puree was actually potatoes tossed in a mint puree (for some reason). That neon pink streak isn't leftovers from holi but some sort of horseradishy mush, which I didn't mind. Though they may not look it, the radish tasted too raw and bland to merit the description of braised. The lamb and jus were not bad. In other words the dish was edible after coinciding with several poorer dishes.
- Pressed Pork Belly, Apple Cider Mash, Warm Fennel w/ Star Anise Jus - Ok so this for me was the best main, but again more because of what it followed and because I was starving by now and extremely cranky (my friends there would happily vouch for both). The skin/crackling was perfectly crispy. The meat itself was a bit overcooked, and not as tender and juicy as I would have liked it. The mash tasted fairly standard and blah. I do wish the jus had been cooked down more and been a little bit more impressive than the watery puddle on my plate. I yearned for a little sweetness with that pork, which I luckily got from the sweet potato on my plate and wish there had been more because its the only thing that got me through this dish - ok 1/3 of it was all I could manage.
- Harissa Chicken & Bacon Burger, Crispy Onions, Confit Tomatoes, Lemon Mayo, Crusty Bap & Spicy Wedges - You would be annoyed too if you read that and got this, as were two of my friends, who both ordered it. I don't even know where to begin - the chicken patty was a bit dry - my friend again claimed it smelt too "chickeny" - I tried it and was most disappointed too. The patty didn't sing Harissa or bacon - it just sat there and yawned at us. It's a big burger, maybe that's why we failed to find the confit tomatoes? Instead we were met with this uninspiring slaw of peppers, onions, and rancid mayo - yup that same rancid flavour. Bah! At least the wedges were good
- Side of Posh Fries - Posh fries are basically regular fries with an ungenerous amount of parmesan on them. Though after everything else I did gorge on these - the fries were super crispy - I couldn't stop eating them - think they were laced with crack.
Uzuri opened with rave reviews - This is why I wait a month or two to review a restaurant from its opening, I believe either it'll get a lot better or a lot worse - but either way it will be a truer picture. I don't know if the chefs have decided to lay low till their liquor license comes in, but my advise would be to just shut shop till then because impressions like this aren't easy to forgive or forget.
Alcohol - Coming soon
Outdoor/Alfresco - Yes
011 41623623, 011 41623625
M 40, Greater Kailash (GK) 2 Market
Labels: Burger, European, Modern, Outdoor Seating