Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Molecular Gastronomical Experience at Farzi Cafe

By Hamza Shafique

MasterChef famed Zorawar Kalra’s Farzi Café has been the talk of the town since its opening in 2016. With all the food bloggers and journalists giving rave reviews along with the esthetically assembled food pictures, I got excited as well and when it was time to celebrate my uncle’s retirement I decided to visit Farzi Cafe. I don’t usually do the typical food reviews, for me it’s always about the whole experience vs the expectations. So, from all the buzz that this place created, I got certain expectations set in my mind. My overall experience was very mix, from certain very enjoyable moment to parts where I was really annoyed and I blame it all on the expectations.

First thing that I got wrong was the nature of the place, my middle class desi brain automatically considers anything at upscale place with brighter lights and visually pleasing products as a fine dine but Farzi Café, as the name says, just creates an illusion (means Farzi in Hindi/Urdu) of that and is actually just a modern Indian bistro. It’s my bad I should have taken the hint with Café in the name. So, from beginning it was a bad idea to take your parents and celebrate their retirement there (who kept comparing it to Gazebo).

Zorawar Kalra

Before going to a new place, me or my wife usually would like to scan the menu online, so we are better prepared, but Farzi Café’s menu was not available online and our friends who went their earlier were not big help either. So, we went there unprepared (something that really annoys me) and spent some good time discussing what to eat and how much to order. Our server was a big help in terms of explaining the food but didn’t help in terms of how much and in what manner to order. I believe staff in such a place should be trained enough to guide a desi family or at least Menu should be available on website.


Place looks fantastic, Interior is also very modern and chic, especially the inverted jars/plants ceiling décor gives a very innovative vibe about the place. But tables are placed very close and tightly together. The place was super crowded, as we went on a weekend and with closely placed tables it felt like we were sitting in a bus, too much noise and loud chirping. Also, when I stood up for a sec as my son was a bit restless, I kept bumping into people passing by. I will suggest removing a table or two to improve the ambience of the place. I know it’s a café but still it’s a slightly upscale café, so ambience is important.


Sorry I didn’t note down the fancy names the dishes had but the names I am mentioning below are enough and servers will know exactly what you mean, if you go based on my review. We ordered Dal Chawal, Galvati Kabab Sliders, Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie as starters, for Main we ordered Yakhni Pulao and 2 orders of Chicken Masala with Naan and for desert we settled with Gulab Jamun.
Dal Chawal (Rice and Lentils)
I must say starters were ok, presented well, tasted well and the portions were ok as well. Sliders could have been presented better. I mean the place that talks about innovation, for them to present Sliders in a box with Fries thrown over is not what one would expect. But from taste perspective winner for me were the sliders and deconstructed shepherd’s Pie was also in the zone of average. We had an aww surprise moment as well (for which such places actually exist) with Dal Chawal, one would simply never expect Dal Chawal this way. Full marks on it from expectations perspective.
We got the drinks with the starters as well, I really enjoyed my berry cola that came in a traditional Soda Bottle (we call them Bantay wali Bottles, in such bottles a marble ball is used to seal the carbon inside), It reminded me of masala coke I had in New York (since then I was missing it). My wife ordered Pina Colada which was served with a smoking glass and when we inquired what it’s for, we got the answer that it’s for the presentation only. And this is where I felt off a bit as I expected presentation elements to be integrated with the food but its ok it’s just the drink.
Yakhni Pulao
Before main course we were given mango shots as palate cleanser, again something new for us. Till this moment it was up to some extent, the molecular gastronomical experience that we expected.

For main I was put off by the very ordinarily presented dishes, though still tasted pretty decent. I enjoyed the Yakhni Pulao and the innovation that Yakhni was separated and can be added to taste. Also, Pomegranate seeds kept on enhancing the overall taste. Chicken Masala was good and had all the tweaks of spices but felt like any good out of the mill chicken masala, there was nothing experimental or illustrious about the dish.
Gulab Jamun for desert presented wonderfully with the added element of liquid nitrogen but then taste here was quite ordinary, flavors lacked spark for me there and that I believe is because of the frozen rabri (condensed milk) that looked great in presentation with liquid nitrogen but in reality toned down the sweetness of the whole ensemble.

Overall a very mix molecular gastronomical experience, where it was hard to find all three elements of true molecular gastronomical experience (social, artistic, technical) in place for a single dish.

-----Service and Price-----

Service was big letdown for me, first of all they forgot to register one of our main course item. And secondly when they brought main course it was brought in bits and pieces like chicken masala came first then came the naan, after 5 minutes other serving of chicken masala arrived and then after couple of minutes they remembered to serve the remaining order of naan and when we were all done came the forgotten Yakhni Pulao.
Pina Colada
Also, when I asked the server to change our plates, they looked at us like we were asking them to lay eggs in front of us and after asking them another time they changed only one plate out of 6 and we had to ask again. This whole episode really spoiled the mood and affected on the experience negatively.
Another point that really turned me off that they served Pina Colada in a plastic cup, the least expectation from a place like this is some decent crockery.
Price wise this place was actually decent compared to the other places of this category. Around 100 per head including drinks is quite decent but then again as a Desi I would like to pay 100 per head for slightly fine dine (with buffet sort of system or at least better portions). That’s why I will emphasize on to have expectations aligned, here you pay for the whole experience and not just the food/portions.


If you are looking for a quiet fine dine experience, where the taste is familiar, menu card is usual and portions are standard then this is not the place for you. However, if you are looking for an unusual innovative fusion food where the aim would be to experience something new, then this might be the place for you. I had a very mix experience with all sorts of positives and negatives as given above but overall, I would still rate my experience more in the positive zone (thanks to the price range and liquid nitrogen 😉 ). Get your expectations right and you might enjoy the Farzi (may believed 😉 ) molecular gastronomical experience this place has to offer.

more pictures of food below :

Galavati Kabab Sliders

Mango Shots as palate cleanser

Deconstructed Shepherd's Pie

Chicken Masala

Gulab Jamun with frozen Rabri



  1. I totally agree with ur review I ve been there too and faced the same issues. Disappointed ��

    1. Disappointed would be a strong word , I would say, it did not meet my expectation to full extent.