A meal at Zumbura, Clapham
***this restaurant has since closed down***
Tucked away in a pretty corner of Clapham is a recently opened, modern Indian restaurant called Zumbura. Mercifully moving away from the traditional and stereotypical decor found so often in Indian restaurants in the UK, Zumbura is sleek, with brick walls and colourfully decorated ceiling, unobtrusive looking furniture and crystal-like glassware.
We took a table right by the window, watching the early evening passers-by and a few people having a drink on the terrace outside, and received a warm welcome with our menus, also being told that dishes are recommended for sharing (maybe a bit of a cliche’ now but still not a bad choice when you want to try more dishes than one or two).
The premise of Zumbura is promising:
“A new concept in asian dining in the heart of cool Clapham, featuring authentic homemade food from the Purab region in north east India”.
I surely was not familiar with Purab, so it was a good opportunity to try some news dishes and flavours. We started with healthy dips and crudites, which were a pleasant way to open the meal.
We then shared a number of dishes, including hari murghi, chicken marinated in fresh herbs and yoghurt overnight and then roasted, which was delightfully flavoured, spiced but not hot and light; shami kebab, unusual, soft flat lamb kebabs, twice cooked which was definitely a discovery, they were smooth if a little strange; a great machli ka salan, pollock fish curry with mustard seeds and fenugreek, which we both loved, and I don’t usually eat fish curry. Amongst the vegetarian options, we chose ghuggni, black chickpeas braised in onion and mango powder which were also new to me, and full of herbs and intense flavours.
|Ghuggni. Spot the celeb!|
We added some well steamed rice, some muttar pulau (rice braised with peas) and paratha, flat bread for @bmcboy who can eat bread and is not on a low carb diet like me.
We were actually pretty full but I fancied something sweet, so I asked for a small helping of mango sorbet, light and summery. Yet the owner pushed me to try one of their puddings. I begged for a small portion, not really fancying an actual dessert but I am so glad he insisted.
I confess, I never thought I’d like an Indian dessert yet gajjar ka halwa (warm creamed carrot pudding) was absolutely a revelation: sweet but to the right level, soft in texture but with the added crunch of pistachios, it was easily my favourite dish of the night.
We really liked Zumbura: the ambience is pleasant, relaxing; the service is very friendly, knowledgeable and attentive, while the menu is different from the usual fare and offers a good choice between meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. My only comment would be that for some of the portions (eg the chicken), the cost is a little high for the size, yet the food is skillfully cooked and well sourced (top marks for using sustainable fish such as pollock and tilapia).
Dog friendly: on the outdoor terrace yes, not indoor although when we visited, a group of TV people were having drinks outside and were then forced inside by a sudden downpour. One of these people is a somewhat famous soap star I am told, and she walked inside with her pooch not bothering to even ask the staff (maybe she’s a regular?). I am hoping that this was an opener for well behaved dogs at Zumbura so we can visit more often with our own pooch!
We were guests of Zumbura. Opinions are my own.