Chapli kebabs, bakhlavas, sheermaals, zafrani paneer...
Mmhmm... Are you salivating yet? Tracing the routes from Turkey, consuming culinary cultures of Persia, Kandahar, Kabul, Kashmir and finishing at Awadh; Orza at Ansal Plaza, devours all its influences and produces a delectable "influenced Indian cuisine". Orza, translating to "earthenware", dictates most of its interiors—there are earthenware jars and ceramics which decorate the shelves of the restaurant, the sheer blinds allow for natural light. Minimalism in its modern design!
Exploring the eastern belt of Central Asia, the cuisine at Orza guarantees not to disappoint. Playing with flavours is one thing, getting them right is another. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Orza effortlessly blends cultures with its dynamic flavours and adapts its food for the modern palate. While entering the restaurant, I was greeted warmly by my hosts for the evening. As a five-month-old stand-alone restaurant seating 48 people, Orza does wonders with its 'five-course meal' idea, keeping in mind practical portions for individuals, avoiding wastage and adds to a fine dining experience with its splendid plating.
With a complementary vegetable bread and an assortment of dips and pickles, Orza hit it off right. The watermelon and feta salad is a winner and finely suited for the summer. Chunks of feta and fresh, sweet watermelons are married together with a ginger balsamic vinaigrette and pine nuts. The flavours keep you going back for more and the Delhi heat is soon forgotten with every bite. The starters and main course offer a wide variety for the hungry vegetarians too- who would've thought? As a newly turned vegetarian, my taste buds were aroused with the kind of vegetarian options I could spot on the menu.
You cannot miss the lip-smacking zafrani paneer spiced with Kashmiri chillies and saffron and the subz gullar kebab which remains my personal favourite because of its textures and explosion of flavours. My friend, who was excited to try the non-vegetarian delicacies of Orza, cried yelps of satisfaction while tasting the chapli kebab. With its reputation of being a regional delight, this non-vegetarian starter took my friend back to her roots. Perfectly pounded and aromatic as aromatic gets, we say! It is, however, served with a dip that is not as authentic but goes well with the theme of an influenced Indian cuisine.
For the main course, we went with khoresht gharch— a stew made with three types of mushrooms, the gravy tasting of mushrooms and aromatic spices, served with Orza Pulao. The khoresht gharch was well cooked and portioned perfectly for one person. The Dum Murg ka stew felt a little lackluster in comparison due to its creaminess and the sheermaal (saffron bread) could have been replaced with another bread to enhance the flavours. Overall, the meal did pack a punch. The star of the main course meal was the famous Berry Pulao, its aroma filling the corner of the restaurant. Easily one of the best berry pulaos on the block!
All's well that ends well, they say. Damn right! The desserts at Orza were enough to make me walk through the authentic spice and dry fruit markets of the Persian Peninsula. Fragrance, flavours and visual delight never leave the diner at this restaurant. The Bakhlava, a traditional flaky pastry filled with berries and pistachios is splayed out on a bed of cinnamon dust and edible flowers. Coupled with their homemade saffron ice cream-Bastani Akbar Mashti, you are sure to reach a divine destination of appetites and heightened senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and the sound of the crumbling pastry, Orza has it all.
After a scrumptious meal and a memorable overall experience. The executive chef of the restaurant, Mr. Amit Rai, who was all smiles, stated, "Most diners come in from Noida and Gurgaon. It's surprising how much of a distance they cover for authenticity..." And why not!
Come and experience the magic of Oudh with a modern twist at Orza and set out on a culinary journey like never before.
Paneer Kundan Kaliyan; berry pulao; bakhlava; cocktails like the classic martini and margarita
B-105, Ansal Plaza,
Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi