Oberoi Hotel, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road, Nariman Point, Mumbai, India

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Ziya is the flagship restaurant of the Oberoi hotel at Nariman Point in Mumbai. The first floor dining room has a spectacular view out over the Arabian Sea, and has smart, modern decor with well spaced tables, gold leaf screens and a partially open kitchen. Vineet Bhatia in London is notionally the executive chef, but the chef actually in charge of the kitchen operations is Renji Raju, who has a background of fourteen years working for the Oberoi group. He trained at The Oberoi Grand in Kolkatta and The Oberoi in Mumbai, and then Wildflower Hall in Shimla in 2003. He moved to the Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra and in 2005 opened the Indian restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. In 2008, Renji returned to Mumbai as Senior Sous Chef at The Oberoi there. He oversaw restaurant launches at The Oberoi Raj Vilas in Jaipur and Maya at the Trident in Bandra Kurla in Mumbai. After a spell in London with Vineet Bhatia in 2010 he launched Ziya at The Oberoi in Mumbai. The tasting menu was INR 3300 (£39).

The wine list had 107 bottles, ranging in price from INR 2,250 to INR 220,000. Mark-ups seemed rather erratic. Example wines included Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc 2009 at INR 3650 for a wine that you can find in a shop for INR 1253, Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 at a hefty INR 9250 for a wine that you can find in a shop for about INR 2674, and Cirrus Syrah 2007 at 4650 INR for a wine that has a retail price of INR 1471. The priciest wine was Chateau Petrus 1997 at INR 220,000 for a wine that retails at around INR 107,000. 

At a lunch, a nibble of lobster was tender, a sauce including curry leaves going well with it (14/20). Pomfret with a masala sauce featured tender fish, a well-judged masala with a hint of lemon to provide freshness, and a buttermilk ice cream, an unusual touch, but this didn't interfere with the main flavours (15/20).

Tandoori lamb chop (the lamb was from Australia) was pink and tender, served with Indian morels. On the side of the dish was kedgeree and a tomato ice cream. I am far from convinced of the wisdom of having an ice cream with not just one but both savoury dishes. The kedgeree itself was a fraction soggy, and if you just removed these garnishes I think the dish would be improved (13/20). On the side, cauliflower was delicate, with subtle spices (14/20) and romali roti was excellent (15/20). By his time I had plenty of food, so skipped dessert.

At a second meal a lobster starter worked well, pan-fried lobster served on a mini uttappam with lentil tikka and a lobster chutney. The lobster was tender, the chutney subtly spiced, and the lentils and the pizza-like base gave a textural contrast (14/20). This was much better than a brief taste I had of tandoori broccoli, which seemed overcooked.  My main course of methi murgh had plenty of fenugreek flavour in the sauce, the chicken of reasonable quality though not more than that, but the sauce worked well (14/20). Makhani dhal on the side was suitably thick and nicely spiced (14/20). Naan and roti were reasonable (13/20), but I preferred the romalit roti at lunch. Service was good throughout. The bill will depend heavily on what you drink, but with beer a typical bill might come to around £45.

Overall I enjoyed my meals at this restaurant. The setting is lovely, the dishes generally well executed, the presentation showing more thought than is normal in Indian cooking. I preferred this to Rasoi Vineet Bhatia in London. 


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