Farzi is one restaurant I have wanted to be at the most but it, ironically, has taken me the longest. The reasons for this happening were plenty but I finally made it to Farzi last week and there was a sense of excitement and relief in equal measure.
The place is funky, chic and bohemian but I would not want to delve on it any more as it takes my focus away from what makes Farzi the best new restaurant in town - food and drinks.
Many people label the food here as molecular gastronomy but I think its akin to calling all Indian food "curry"; it strips away from the complexity of what's on your plate. Farzi is multi sensory cooking (as Blumenthal says); you don't just eat with your tongue but your eyes and other senses. Yes, there are elements of molecular gastronomy involved but (as my review ahead will tell) it is more a take on taking classic combinations or flavours and twisting them around.
Anyway, gyaan aside, our evening began with a mishti doi lollipop. Molecular gastronomy, spherification to be precise, was visible here. As soon as you bite into it though, you get that fabulous sweet and tart hit of mishti doi. Even though it was presented in such a fancy way, it tasted amazing and authentic.
Next came a drink called Apple Foamtini - a take on the classic apple martini, this had a light frothy apple flavoured foam and then a tart, cold hit of the great martini. Brilliant combination and a great drink this.
Next on the menu was a mini raj kachori with okra and chutney foam. Yeah, raj kachori with crisp okra and a chutney foam!! - mind blown. The kachori was stuffed with dahi, green chutney and the works but guess what, it was completely closed. After this piece of sorcery, when I tasted the kachori it was as good as any Delhi- 6 outlet. The chutney foam gave the "saunth kick" but it was way lighter. The crisp okra was great and I was told that the idea behind okra was that it goes well with yoghurt.
This, I believe, is the spirit of Farzi. The moment you bite into the food (or sip a drink) it feels familiar and utterly delectable. Also, every element has a reason to be there, not just to be fancy.
Next came a light, refreshing orange-vanilla drink called Farzi OK. Balanced, sweet and sour with a very light flavour of kaffir lime, this is what you will want to drink all evening.
Next came a portion of chilli pork ribs. Very well cooked ribs with a slathering of luscious chilli sauce. Wonderful.
I moved onto one of the many superstars on the menu (tapas menu), sarson ke gilawat with corn and cheese tostadas. Sarson ka saag becomes a FANTASTIC sarson gilawat kebab here. The makki di roti takes the form of corn (makki) popcorn. Corn and cheese tostadas provide warmth and there are even elements of safed makhan, sirka and pyaaz in this. You will fall in love.
The gastronomic adventure took me to my favourite dish amongst the pantheon of dishes - tenderloin pathar ke kabab with walnut and wasabi chutney. I'd say if you like meat, have this dish. If you do not like meat, have this dish. Dammit, if you are vegetarian - have this dish!!!! - it is that good.
In between we had a palette cleanser- rose water and coconut payasam foam with rose petal dust before the prawn tempura with nimbu chutney foam arrived. I have never had better prawn tempura in my life, period. I have to write a bigger review on this alone but lets leave that for now.
I had the braised lamb chops next along with cheeni ka paratha with duck liver maska. Cheeni ka paratha was farzified with a foie gras butter and all I could think of was why mom never served such delicious "cheeni ka parathas" when I was younger.
I had the chilli duck samosas, pulled pork bun and the galouti burger next. I am running out of space to write about how brilliant each dish was. The samosa was halwai khasta; the duck was flavourful and the sweet plum sauce brought the entire dish together.
Similarly, the pulled pork bun was So Goan yet so Farzi. There was flavour from the pork; the buns gave it airiness and the Goan puffed rice gave it crunch. *drool*
The gilawat burger came in a box and the soft and magnificent galouti was given a bit of bite by a layer of boti kebab. You have to admire the thought process.
The Mutton Irachi pepper fry came along with a malabari paratha and was sublime but the icing on the cake was the gucchi pulao risotto. Perfectly creamy risotto with morsels of expensive gucchi topped with a salty parmesan crisp. You have to taste it to understand how brilliantly flavours work together.
The CTM or chicken tikka masala came in a London telephone booth, what a cheeky idea. I will say that the "national dish" of Britain tasted way better at Farzi.
There are three special drinks I will recommend. The flaming Farzi tower was an event on its own – flambéed shots (Baileys, Sambucca, Vodka, Kahlua and Absinthe) caramelizes and forms a drink at the bottom. The red wine spaghetti shots were great too – acidic and sweet and it was a vision as well. Finally, there was the B-52 bomber that was basically B-52 shooters, spherified, so in effect you eat the shot!
Yes I had a tiny speck left in my stomach to try desserts and the best two came. The Parle G cheesecake is the most photographed Farzi dessert on the web and it tasted as good as it looked. My question before tasting it was if the Parle G would really work with a creamy cheesecake and voila, it does. It lends the dish crunch and saltiness - splendid.
The other dessert - rasmali tres leches was even better. First of all you need to admire it as it sits on your table - it’s that pretty. Then you start eating it to try and understand how brilliant the flavours are. The sponge is three layered filled with carrot cream bathing in "rasmalai" milk. If this dish does not Farzify you, I don’t know what will.
The evening ended with a final flourish - gujiya shaped, pan flavoured cotton candy!! The pan was dehydrated and it gave a delightful punch. You know how it tasted but it also brought a tinge of nostalgia with it. Farzi is all about that - senses, flavours and a little bit of magic.
Lastly, we do not just have to applaud Zorawar, Chef Saurabh and the entire team behind Farzi but give them a very loud, "Dilliwala" wolf whistle for bringing Farzi to us.