Author Topic: Zari, 214 Ifield Drive, Ifield, Crawley RH11 0DQ, England  (Read 883 times)

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Online Peripatetic Phil

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It is a shame that this forum does not offer an "Indian Restaurant Reviews" section that does not presuppose that the restaurant that one seeks to review is either outstanding or awful, but as Zari was most definitely not awful, I choose to post my review here.

I was staying nearby while attending a PAT course in Crawley, and had had a very pleasant Spanish meal the previous evening (higaditos de pollo con tortilla) which even including 3 Cokes and a bread-and-olive starter came to less than £23, and I followed this with a very good mixed sorbet in the gelateria opposite.  However, not really wanting to eat Spanish two nights running, I asked Gino (the owner/proprietor of my B&B) where else I might try, and he recommended Zari.  I drove over (it was less than ten minutes away) and was pleased to be able to park almost directly outside.  I entered and was greeted by a friendly Indian lady in national dress, who smilingly assured me that they could probably be able to find me a table for one...  The outer room was empty but the main restaurant was nearly full, and I was shewn to a table for two separated from nearby diners by an empty table-f0r-two on either side.  I ordered two popadom (one plain, one masala) to start, together with a Coke.  They arrived reasonably promptly, and were accompanied by a small pickle tray containing tomato and onion salad, something that was probably mango chutney (which I never touch) and a raita.  I tried the plain popadom, and finding it rather bland, asked what they had in the way of hot pickles (lime, mango, chilli, ...).  Sadly the waitress (not Indian; none of the serving staff were from the sub-continent) said "no", but then offered some chilli jam.  It was better than nothing, but a million miles from (e.g.,) Khanum Chilli Pickle (I must get in the habit of taking a jar of that with me, just as I take XO chilli oil to unknown Chinese restaurants).  The masala popadom was also OK, nothing special.  I also realised that I had no napkin, and there were no condiments on the table (I am addicted to salt).  I then ordered my starter (masala dosa) and main course (dum biriani with lamb).  These took an eternity to arrive, but were well worth the wait (although the dosa could have been a little crisper, and thereby easier to cut).  The dum biriani was excellent (albeit a little sweet for my taste) and this was the first real dum biriani I have ever had the pleasure of eating.  Needless to say, after a masala dosa to start there was no room for all the biriani, so I took the remainder away and (after festering overnight in the boot of my car in Crawley and then a 50-mile drive home the next afternoon) I finished it up for dinner this evening.  I was delighted to find when I opened the takeaway foil container that they had included the dough "dum" topping as well as the biriani proper.  Needless to say, this evening it was accompanied by all three of Mr Khanum's excellent hot pickles (lime, chilli, mixed) and was all the better for it (and a good grind of Himalayan salt).  Oh, and the masala dosa was accompanied by a most excellent dry(ish) tamarind vegetable curry.  Total bill, including three cokes and mandatory 10% service charge, just under £30.

** Phil.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 03:01 PM by Pedantic Phil »
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