The City of Nizams has two distinct facades – the old city show casing the rich heritage of Hyderabad. And the new city – Cyberabad – making a statement on the world’s IT map. The alleys of the old city hold the secrets of the Nizams while the ones in Cyberabad hold the secret of software. The lives of people in both these place have a stark contrast – the easy going folks vs the agile force. And how could the food not be different. When the taste buds desire Biryani and Paya, we head to the old city. But when we want to try out some of the finest global cuisines, we head to the other side of the city.
That was exactly what happened last weekend. An email landed in my mailbox inviting me to experience Asian cuisine at Zega, Sheraton Hyderabad. Being a foodie, I was totally in to try out something new, something that I don’t usually eat. So this post will be a review of the Exquisite Asian cuisine at Zega, Sheraton Hyderabad – Eat, Drink and Socialize.
Restaurant with a view – Zega Sheraton Hyderabad
Earlier the concept of dining out never existed. Slowly and steadily as the disposable income of people started increasing, they started venturing out to explore places and experience cultures. Few years back eating out meant good food. But today it’s much more than that. The ambiance, the service, the view, and the food, everything needs to be a part of the dining experience. Zega by Sheraton has hit the perfect balance of everything. Located in the heart of Financial District in Hyderabad, Sheraton is a well known landmark here. I was here at Feast for the Gharwal Food festival sometime back. The calming vibes at the ground floor slowly turns into a groovy vibe by the time you reach the 10th floor.
You’re greeted by their warm staff who guide you to the table. The restaurant has two distinct halves, one which has the bar with few tables and other with the kitchen and seating area. The ambiance is really amazing and it’s perfect to unwind after a hectic day at work. From the 10th floor you get a wonderful view of the ISB road.
They also have a roof top area where you can have your food. The place is perfect for socializing with friends or with your loved ones as the cool evening breeze hits your face. I was truly impressed by their roof top area as well as their indoor seating place. As the clock ticks into the night, the foot fall increases and the restaurant livens up. So if you love your beer and want some groovy music, reach this place by 11-12 pm and you won’t be disappointed.
Delish Asian Cuisine at Zega, Sheraton Hyderabad
Zega is a pan Asia restaurant serving delicacies from across the south Asian region. From Japanese to Thai, they have some exquisite dishes on offer. Our chef for the night was Chef Ho Chi Ming who hails from China and brings with him the culinary magic. He greeted us with a broad smile and understood our preferences. What followed next was a delicious ride with Asian flavors.
Drinks for Teetotalers
Being an Asian restaurant with a bar, it’s a nice thing that they do cater to the needs of teetotalers like me. The team was quick to mix up four variety of drinks which were presented pretty nicely. We had Bejing Colada, Oriental Fantasy, Herbal Delight and their signature Zega Mojito. Made in tonic water and fused with kaffir lime leaves, this Mojito isn’t sweet. The bitter taste of the lemon leaves make it taste pretty good. Something I enjoy, some might not. The Bejing Colada which had Jasmine Tea, Litchi, Honey Pineapple and Lemongrass was my pick of the drinks. The right mix and pick of ingredients gave it the perfect taste. For the non-teetotalers, you’ve an entire bar to yourself serving everything from beer to exclusive wines.
Dim sums, Tofu or Sushi – heavenly starters
Our dinner started off with some Dim sums, four of them in fact. We had the Crystal Dumpling Celery Black Mushrooms & Asparagus, Edamame & Water chestnut dumpling, Pok Choi, Napa Cabbage & Roasted Garlic dumplings with chef’s special Pan Fried Chicken Gyoza. The tri-color vegetarian dim sums not only looked great but tasted great too. The Crystal Dumpling were nicely done, the stuffing was chewy with mushrooms and the covering was translucent & soft. The Edamame dumpling was new to me and I liked it. The Napa Cabbage one did give me the momo feel though.
Apart from dim sums, we had Tofu with Celery, Black Pepper, Fresh Red Chili, Crispy Thai Lotus Stem with Orange Chili Jam along with Coriander Sesame & Peanut marinated Lamb Chops and classic Prawn rolls. Hats of to Chef Ming for the Tofu preparation. What usually feels like eating rubber, Chef Ming’s hands had totally transformed it. Infused with fresh black pepper and red chilies, the Tofu was soft and was rich on flavors. This was the star of the night for me. I’ve had lotus stem at home in the typical Indian curry form, but the Thai Lotus Stem was quite different. Big & crispy discs coated with orange chili jam were delicious. More on the sweeter side for me, but I’m sure many folks would like it.
Lamb chops was presented pretty nicely and were juicy & chewy. Prawn Rolls were something unheard of earlier, these were delicious too. I’ve had Sushi earlier too and I’m not a big fan of it. The ones they served here were good on tasty with the crispy vegetables, served with wasabi and sauce. It was my first time eating wasabi and I was blown away. I got a strong mustard flavor which soon ‘gave me a kick’ in the nose. Tip: Start with a small amount of Wasabi, if you haven’t eaten it before.
Wholesome & Flavorful Asian Main Course
After the heavenly course of starters, we requested the team to send in smaller portions of food as we weren’t able to match up the pace of Chef Ming. While I watched Federer win a set against Nadal, we quickly had our main course dishes on the table. There was Tofu in Green Curry with Water Chestnut, Broccoli, Pea Aubergine and Baby Corn. Next was Steamed Tofu with Shitake, White Fungus in Black bean sauce along with Tai Pai Chicken.
These were served with aromatic Jasmine Rice. The long grain, aromatic rice went really well with the curries. I loved the Thai Green Curry, the Tofu soft and the veggies were chewy as I like it. I’ve never had Water Chestnut in this type of preparation, I liked it. The spices were in right quantity and the taste was just perfect. The black bean Tofu was also a good preparation, but I’d prefer the green curry. Tai Pai chicken looked droolworthy and was tasty too with chunks of chicken soaked with the rich flavors flavors.
Zestful Desserts – Coconut Brûlée is a must
We had to request the manager and the chef to pause the culinary treat we were having because we were full. The portion size of their main course is way more than the standard quantity served anywhere. As the night became darker, more and more people walked in to the restaurant and it turned lively. With that we had our desserts on the table in no time.
We had the Banana Toffee with Sesame and Salted Caramel Ice cream along with Coconut Cream Brûlée. The Banana preparation was nice and it complimented their ‘home-made’ ice cream pretty nicely. But for me, the Coconut brûlée was THE one. For someone who doesn’t prefer too sweet stuff, the Coconut Cream brûlée is a perfect match. The faint coconut flavor with a tinge of sweetness topped with sugar glass is absolutely delicious. You should surely not miss out on this.
Final Verdict – Head out to Zega to Eat, Drink & Socialize
Like I said earlier, I haven’t tried Asian cuisine a lot in the past, but Zega made me realize everything I’ve been missing. The ambiance at the restaurant is top notch – the cutlery, the upholstery, the music – everything. The food at Zega Sheraton Hyderabad is quite exciting and Chef Ming cooks up some really amazing dishes. Being a vegetarian, the Tofu Black Pepper is a must try along with the dim sums. The Green Thai Curry too is really good and of course the Coconut brûlée. The service is pretty quick and they always wear a warm smile on their face and make you feel special.
Special thanks to Arjun ji for coordinating everything and ensuring I had a wonderful time. He was kind enough to give us a tour of the place. A gem of a person indeed, he’ll feed you till you die ! Also thanks to his entire team right from Chef Ming and Pradeep who attended us. Overall, it was an excellent evening with good people and amiable food. If you’ve you not been there, do visit once and they won’t disappoint you. If you’ve already been to Zega Sheraton Hyderabad, then what did you like the most ? Mention in the comments below or tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj