The opening of Zumbura seems to have slipped under the radar of London’s foodies as they all scramble to a certain Mayfair based Indian restaurant that has been taking all of the plaudits of late (*cough, Gymkhana*). However, whilst both restaurants are crucial in changing consumer expectations of Indian food away from tired old Anglicized dishes such as vindaloos and kormas, it’s arguably the less celebrated of the two that is actually the more important opening. Indeed, Zumbura’s opening in Clapham Old Town demonstrates that that properly authentic and delicious Indian food is possible in a local restaurant environment.
In charge of the kitchen at Zumbura is head chef Raju Rawat – a chef whose talents are still being missed by Soho folk who used to flock towards his delicious Indian wraps at the now defunct Moolis. Raju’s menu takes its inspiration from the Purab region of North India, providing the kind of fresh, aromatic and light dishes that are similar in style to those found in many Indian homes.
Dishes range from tandoori grills to traditional stews as well as a good selection of vegetable dishes. Modestly sized portions allow diners to explore the menu and with many dishes priced between £4-7, your culinary journey won’t break the bank.
Light bites include a punchy Chaat (light crisp breads with yogurt, tamarind sauce and a touch of spicy coriander chutney) and Spinach & onion pakoras. Move onto the larger plates and highlights include Kullia (a hearty lamb and turnip stew, slow cooked on the bone for a full meaty smoky flavour); Machli ka salan (a powerful pollock fish curry with mustard seeds and fenugreek); and Murghi ka salan (a proper home-style chicken, with wonderfully aromatic spices and a rich tomato sauce). Vegetarian dishes are a delight too, including Ghuggni (deeply spiced Black chickpeas braised in onion with an uplifting touch of mango powder).
So we loved the food, but what’s equally impressive is the décor – not surprising given that the owners of Zumbura also happen to be founders of award-winning contemporary furniture retailer Dwell. Bare brick walls, reclaimed furniture and snazzy lighting set the informal tone, but taking centre stage is a five metre bar that’s been carved out of a single oak tree.
With some truly delicious food and interesting menu at such modest prices, we hope Zumbura provides the template for the future of local Indian restaurants.
Cuisine type: Indian
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £50
36a Old Town
London SW4 0LB
Tel: 0207 720 7902