Restaurant Review Zumbura
Restaurant Review Zumbura. First impressions, what a fantastic little place with wonderful subtlety and detail in the decor. I’m convinced this is lost on many of the patrons. Those who have visited India will notice the glassware and little details that nod discreetly to the regions and are framed by a western sensibility and aesthetic. I’m reliably informed the owners have an interior design background and that advantage is present, not in a boastful ‘West End’ way, but through understated, deft touches and unobtrusive arrangements – checkout the illustrated ceiling.
Zumbura produces dishes from the North Eastern (see Varanasi) region of India that few know about, so it avoids daft comparisons with places like the Cinnamon Club or Amaya. That’s good. Essentially though its dishes are variants of Indian street food and Indian home cooking that you find in Indian homes – in India itself. The only difference here is the food is produced in a much healthier way, so the Time Out review that talks about getting the same food in Tooting for half the price is ignorantly wide of the mark. Those places produce food swimming in ghee. There’s no need for a BUPA check-up post-Zumbura.
I have the advantage of having lived and worked in India and have tasted all of the dishes (with slight variations in technique) in our Mumbai home. Unless you’ve experience the same there is very little you can compare this to. Even the UK diaspora tend to adapt their home cooked food. This is similar but not the same. Visitors will get the guarantee of an unique and authentic culinary experience.
It’s important to note that it’s better to order ‘Indian style’ and share a few starters and even main dishes. The small plates we ordered included the delightfully light spinach and onion chick pea flour fritters, spiced mince pastries in flaky puff pastry and the tangy, yoghurt with crisp breads and tamarind sauce. It’s a great start.
Main courses maintained the standard with what was accurately described as ‘lamb and turnip aromatic stew, slow cooked on the bone for a full meaty smoky flavour’ . We married it with muttar pulao – braised rice with peas and spices. We also opted for hari murghi – which is chicken marinated in fresh herbs and yoghurt, the day before, then roasted. I cannot fail to mention the wonderful side addition of namuna – stir-fried peas with garlic and ginger.
Admittedly the puddings were a challenge and needed to be lighter. Kheer – chilled rice pudding with cardamom, Sooji – warm buttery sweet semolina pudding and Gajjar ka halwa – warm creamed carrot pudding all required discreet belt loosening manoeuvres. Pistachio and Vanilla ice cream are an easier alternative.
There is something welcoming and personal about this food. It felt as if we were sitting in a friend’s house in a Mumbai suburb. Zumbura have managed to skilfully capture the essence of Indian home cooking in an intimate restaurant setting.
The prices are extremely competitive which allows one to explore the cocktail/mocktail menus with abandon which I highly recommend. Zumbura ice tea – Pomelo, mint, lime, earl grey and jasmine tea, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon bark and Molly Moo Moo – Stoli Vanilla, Stoli Raspberry, Limoncello, fresh raspberries, apple & passion fruit juice both got big wows!
I’m told the popular lunch menu (12pm-3pm daily) is very family friendly – ideal for informal, easy going, plate sharing with small dishes, wraps, stews and braised creations.
Mon-Wed & Sun 6pm-10pm
36a Old Town, Clapham, London SW4 0LB
0207 720 7902