Why Zarf in Bengaluru is a call for celebration

If there is a milestone you want to celebrate with loved ones, the food and ambience are equally important. Here is why you might want to consider Zarf...

Published - May 15, 2024 01:16 pm IST

  • Restaurant Zarf the Indian Kitchen
  • Cuisine Indian
  • Cost ₹₹
  • Address SEE MAP
Zarf the Indian Kitchen

Zarf the Indian Kitchen | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A sleek, shiny baby grand piano catches my eye as I walk into Zarf and I wonder if something so lovely could strike a wrong note. Looking back, I realise that thought set the tone for the royal spread I was to enjoy.

Zarf is at the Sheraton so it is not astonishing that the ambience is on a grand scale. Every nook, cranny and surface gleams and the décor is a study in muted elegance. Opened around two months ago, Zarf focuses on serving Indian cuisine with recipes unearthed from different corners of the country, especially those that have stood the test of time.

Chef JP Singh comes to our table and shares the ethos of Zarf with us and how each dish on the menu has been curated with thought to ingredients indigenous to its place of origin. Apparently, many of the so-called ‘exotic’ vegetables in the Indian market today, including asparagus and avocado, have been cultivated in our country for eons now.

Chicken chargha at Zarf

Chicken chargha at Zarf | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The menu card comes with a glossary of Indian terms right at the beginning so patrons can make an informed choice. While one can argue it is for the benefit of foreigners, it still is quite informative. Did you know multani is a masala made with dry ginger powder, Lahori salt, cumin, raw mango powder and carom seeds? Or that chilgoza pine or neja is a pine-nut native to the Northwest Himalayas?

Our amuse bouche, the avocado poori, arrives with great fanfare in a highly polished wooden box; the millet poori and avocado ragda take on a roadside snack are a precursor to the feast to follow.

The bharwan gucchi or morel mushroom at Zarf could put any truffle snob to shame. Subtle spices add to the delicate flavour of the mushroom and its velvety texture. The asparagus and edamame shammi is stuffed with pine nuts and goat cheese, and is served with a tangy tomato condiment. Every bite of both these starters is rich, filling and a revelation into the understated decadence of vegetarian dishes.

The Himalayan pink salt salmon tikka and the Zarf murg tikka are succulent and bursting with flavour. Yet, they are accompanied by the seven types of house chutneys — hemp, raw mango, tamarind, mint, tomato, papaya and pineapple — each unlike the other and still, they complement the tikkas in a symphony of tastes.

Pishori paneer makhmali at Zarf

Pishori paneer makhmali at Zarf | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

With a bite of the kakori kebab, which melts in your mouth, it is easy to understand why it got the royal stamp of approval. The addition of raw papaya and other ingredients to create a kebab soft enough to swallow is legendary and has been well-documented in the annals of Indian culinary history. The kakori kebab at Zarf is no exception.

The richness of ingredients used in all the dishes here left us feeling quite full at this point, but the main course was yet to be tackled. Mughal-era breads — bakarkhani and sheermal naan — arrive at our table with Lucknowi murgh korma and black mutton curry. The korma is a meticulous arrangement of spices while the black mutton curry tantalises your tastebuds.

Adding to the abundance on our table was the dal-e-Zarf — the humble moong dal being tempered at the table was still a riveting sight, irrespective of the number of times it has been witnessed at home.

Coconut jaggery gujiya at Zarf

Coconut jaggery gujiya at Zarf | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

We end our meal with gadbad kulfi, carefully crafted by the team to include the flavours of falooda, berries and betel. Much like the baby grand, its hard to find a lack in anything at Zarf, from the starters and raspberry sorbet palate cleanser to the décor and ambience.

Truly, a venue for a memorable occasion.

Peshawari namak mandi lamb chops at Zarf

Peshawari namak mandi lamb chops at Zarf | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.