When it comes to Indian food, we’re rather spoilt here in Brum. There’s seemingly no end of variations on the cuisine to try around the city – from established curry houses to modern chain venues. So it takes a brave person to attempt to bring something new into this crowded marketplace.
Though it has been open for around two years now, Zindiya in Moseley does offer something genuinely a bit different. I gladly found this out the other night after one of my frequent visits to the nearby Prince of Wales, and just about got a table before the 10 o’clock cut off.
Tucked away off the main Moseley thoroughfare, it’s not the most prominent restaurant in the area, although as you enter they certainly make up for that with the wildly vibrant colours of the walls and furniture.
It’s pleasant enough though. They have tried to evoke the street markets of an Indian city with bold murals and wall hangings, and also faux shop shutters emblazoned with the logos of the Indian soft drinks they serve.
In terms of the food offering, the people at Zindiya have niftily labelled themselves a ‘streatery’, serving street food dishes in small portions from tapas-style menu. I have to admit, the Brit in me has always struggled somewhat with the concept of tapas, preferring to stick to my own plate of food without the awkward complications of sharing.
However, it is something I’ve had to get used to, as this Spanish-style dining has become a lot more common in UK restaurants in the last few years. It has its advantages,
Credit must go to the waiter here who, despite surely being annoyed at our last-minute showing, kindly and helpfully explained the concept of the menu and how much we should order. A small demerit however, for somewhat predictably pointing to the most expensive item when we asked what he would recommend.
The drinks we ordered were by the aforementioned exotic brands that decorate a part of the interior. We each had a ‘Thums Up’ cola, and although I have to give Zindiya a (correctly spelt) thumbs up of my own for authenticity, I can’t pretend I wouldn’t have preferred one of the popular American colas we’re all used to. Never mind.
When the food arrived, it looked every bit as vibrant as the décor. Even though I was particularly hungry at that point, when I saw the range of things we had in front of us, I was very excited. The dishes we ordered on this visit were all vegetarian and I can certainly say were not missing any flavour as a result.
Sticking with Indian authenticity, much of the menu is meat-free, although there are meat dishes to choose from including a ‘grill’ section that has your typical selection of barbequed chicken wings, lamb chops and the like.
Highlights of our meal included the tasty aubergine fritters, the aloo tikki chaat, which is served with a delightful array of dipping sauces (yoghurt, mint & coriander, tamarind chutney) and also some out-of-this-world paneer dosa.
The dosa was actually ‘Zindiya’s Trio of Dosa’. This meant instead of the traditional way of serving the dish, i.e. one humongous rolled up pancake that spans the width of the table, there were three easy-to-eat mini ones. The flavour of these was incredible and is something I will definitely be ordering again.
And I shall also return for the reasonable pricing. Although we didn’t exactly go to town with our order and only had one weird cola each, our food plus drinks for two came in at under the £30 mark.
If there was any other slight disappointment it was in the form of our ‘masala chips’, which were just standard fries with a small amount of red dust sprinkled on top. But hey, maybe it served us right for ordering chips when there were so many more interesting options.
Ultimately though I came out satisfied and eager to go back to sample more of what Zindiya has to offer. Even if that means having to share.