REVIEW: Lucknow festival kicks off at Zari in Crawley

A FOOD festival which explores the cuisine of the city of Lucknow in India is being held at a Crawley restaurant this month.

Zari in Ifield is holding the event in conjunction with the Sussex Food and Drink Network.

A special menu has been prepared by chefs experienced in the cuisine of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh which is home to the Taj Mahal and birthplace of Cliff Richard.

The restaurant held a launch night on Wednesday (May 2) where hungry customers were greeted with a delicious array of Indian delights.

I (Crawley Observer reporter Amie Morrell) went along on the night and sampled what the restaurant had on offer.

To start the restaurant served Lucknawi Kakori Kebab, a blend of minced mutton in Lucknawi spices, Murgh Chandhi Tikka, tender chicken marinated in homemade cheese and yoghurt and Nawabi Baingan, a delicious aubergine stuffed with homemade paneer and spices.

The starter was complimented by your choice of a glass of either Godello Blanco from Spain or Oveja Negra Single Vineyard Carignan from Chile.

The flavours were absolutely delicious and it is not difficult to see why the restaurant is hailed as the best in Crawley.

A refreshing sorbet made from Apple Juice from Wobblegate Farm Orchard cleansed the palate before the delicious main course was served.

There are many words to describe how wonderful the main meal was and it would be criminal to settle on just one. It was out of this world, and definitely the best Indian cuisine I have ever tasted.

We were given Kundan Kaliyan, a famous Lucknawi dish which is lamb simmered in aromatic saffron sauce, and Murgh Salan, tender chicken in a rich cashew nut, peanut and poppy seed sauce.

The main was accompanied by saffron pilau rice, a bread basket and a delicious glass of either New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Andeluna Malbec from Argentina.

A wonderful raspberry and chilli sorbet, which is Zari’s signature sorbet, was served for desert, which gave a refreshing and light finish to the evening.

Almara Miah, proprietor of Zari, which has been established for 25 years, said: “We want people to explore with us the cuisine styles of India which they may not have experienced in the UK before.

“Lucknow is rich in culinary history, mainly driven by cuisine of the royal rulers, the Nawabs, renowned in India for their ostentatious dishes in silky smooth sauces. It is the home of the famous Dum Pukht Byriani, slow cooked in airtight vessels sealed with dough to retain the richest flavours and aromas. This renowned dish is also on our festive menu.”

Local produce involved in the festival includes South Downs Lamb, Wobblegate apple juice, local meat from Flanagans Master Butchers, and fruit and vegetables from Laines Organic Farm.

For more information about the festival contact the restaurant on 01293 525107