Let me start this review by saying what a special restaurant Zumbura is. Nestled in a pretty, quiet street in Clapham Old Town, this restaurant is vibrantly alive with colour and flavour.
Zumbura is a new restaurant that serves up food local to the Purab region in North East India. Whilst the ambiance gives of an edgier, soho-ish vibe; the food and flavours transport you to India. What is distinctive is the healthy nature of all of the food, it is flavoursome without being overpowering and over-oiled. Zumbura has assumed a tapas-style form whereby diners choose from an assortment of mini plates ( on average £6-£7 each) and indulge in an Indian feast.
Now as a North Londoner I very rarely venture down to Clapham, so naturally as I came out of the tube everything was a bit alien to me. There was a distinct trendy-village vibe going on, which I know sounds like an oxymoron but thats really how it felt. Walking into Zumbura the trendy side is really alive. With a bright turquoise wall off set by bricks and a 5 metre oak bar, this is no village restaurant. The owners were also the co-founders of Dwell furniture store, so it is no surprise that the place is superbly decorated. They thought of everything right down to the hodge podge/ mix and match plates and serving bowls.
We started our meal with the chaat which was a plate of chickpeas coated in yogurt, crisp breads and a tangy tamarind sauce ( £4.50). It was a gorgeous explosion of flavours that were all equally balanced and the perfect way to start our meal.
The next two dishes to arrive were the Tallee Machli (£8) and the Sikkiwe Chops (£8). The Talle Machli was a fish dish where the fish was succulent,smooth and melted on the tip of your tongue. I enjoyed this dish but it was nothing in comparison to the Sikkiwe Chops, this was our favourite dish. A simple dish in essence: twice marinated lamb chops, but not simple in flavour. They were perfectly cooked and all I can say is I wish there was more!!
We then indulged in my second favourite dish which was Murghi ka Salan (£7.50) which was a home style chicken curry, cooked on the bone. There was so much flavour and the chicken fell off the bone as it was perfectly cooked. The sauce is rich but not overpowering which is why it was so enjoyable. We paired the chicken with Daal (£4) a lentil dish which was a watery consistency making it very light, although a texture we weren't expecting as well as a portion of Parval (£5) and side of Muttar Pula rice (£3.50). The parval was recommended to us, and the recommendation was spot on! For those of you not familiar with parval it is braised pointed gourd with crunchy seeds, and it was just the perfect vegetable accompaniment to this meal.
We finished our meal with a pot of fresh mint tea and two small desserts. We had initially only ordered one, the Gajjar Ka Halwa (£3.5) which is a warm carrot dessert, but were then advised to try the Kheer (£3), a cold rice pudding dessert. We definitely preferred the Kheer as the Gajjar Ka Halwa was more of an acquired taste.
Lastly let me talk about the cocktails! As amazing as the food was, the cocktails 100% held their own with an exquisitely unique menu. We tried 3 different ones, the first was the Fruity Wallah (£7). This was Zumbura's take on a mojito, and it was better then any original I had ever tasted, fruity and delicious this was a special cocktail that I can't quite say I have ever had anything like as it was stirred with chaat masala. For those of you who read my blog, you will know I am a huge tea fan, so it is no surprise that our next cocktail was a Himalayan Ice Tea (£7) which had a combination of earl grey and jasmine tea infused into the rum based cocktail. It was a subtle taste, but it complimented the food well and I would order again and again. Lastly we were told to try the Molly Moo Moo (£7) as this was the most popular cocktail. We enjoyed its raspberry fruity flavours but I think we agreed our favourite was they Himalayan Ice Tea.
There were so many more dishes on the menu that I am already planning my next trip to Zumbura to try everything! This is a restaurant that should not be missed, whether you are keen on Indian cuisine or not, the restaurant is packed with colour and flavour that makes for the perfect culinary excursion. Check out their website for more information and a more detailed menu.