Manoj Vasaikar’s latest venture has proved an instant hit with locals. On a recent Monday-night visit, the restaurant was comfortably busier than all neighbouring eateries. Vasaikar, who has cooked at Chutney Mary & Veeraswamy, has produced a pan-Indian menu that lists such classics as Malabar chicken, lamb rogan josh, & thalis, alongside more unusual offerings: mussels simmered in tamarind & tomato, & Khyber Pass raan (lamb shank with poppy seeds). Start with poppadoms & chutneys, before a robust stew of prawn & aubergine kharphatla, or vegetable bhanavla (a superior onion bhaji), both beautifully presented on betel leaves. Spicing is vigorous but not overpowering. Look to Zilla’s specials for what the kitchen considers its top dishes – a beef curry, perhaps, or pork vindaloo. Those wanting a palate-cleanser to finish should try the wonderfully fragrant paan.
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