A celebration among British Asians will always include a grand feast, whether it is at home or restaurant, no jubilation is ever complete without eating well. A few weeks ago, I visited the Zaman restaurant, which has recently been taken over by Mumbai-born Chef Avadhoot Kamat. The restaurant which is situated at Old Qubec Street, next to Marble Arch station, in the heart of the city's cosmopolitan hub, caters the Sportsman Casino's global clientèle.
Kamat, who has rebranded the menu, arrived in the UK in 2006, with extensive work experience in India, to study at the Ealing Hammersmith and West London College, where he got a postgraduate diploma in hospitality management. After working for 6 years at the Metropolitan Hotel in Park Lane, Kamat moved to Crown Aspinalls London, a members' club, where he also worked for almost 6 years, before joining Zaman as it's head chef.
The menu which is aimed at international clientele with wide range of expectations, is divided into appetisers, starters, classics, signature dishes, sauces, sides and desserts. The dishes are a good mix of Indian, European and Arabic, including Lentil soup in Arabic style and exquisitely and exclusively flavoured butter to go with freshly baked herby breads. The new chef who loves to experiment with flavours, has added Arabic and Japanese influence to his dishes, especially evident in his soups and fresh salads. Kamat has also brought in his fine Indian expertise to Zaman, including addition of a few popular Indian dishes to the menu as well as rediscovering the most loved and old dishes in the menu.
The Aloo Tikki Chat is authentic with the right sprinkle of spices but the samosas are worth trying. Other than the India House canteen (High Commission of India), in Aldwych, which is not open to public, I have not tasted such perfect Punjabi samosas in the UK, with the right amount of stuffing. It reminded me of monsoon days in India, which was often spent stuck indoors eating hot samosas and chai (tea). Kamat has added many vegan and vegetarian dishes to the menu including batata harra and masala chips. But his latest addition of biriyanis, which is a mix of Hyderabadi and Awadhi (Lucknow) style, is finger-licking good.
Great cooking is one of the good things. Ambience, location and opening hours of the restaurant are other things that play a big role behind its popularity. Zaman is spacious, with enough room to host private events including a small stage. The restaurant is happy to cater to your particular requirements, and serve food till 2:30am. So if you want a hearty meal between Iftar (meal at sunset) and Suhoor (meal at sunrise) Kamat's team is there to cater to your special need. Zaman also has an option of set lunch and dinner or pre-theatre menus, and offers are sold through websites like Groupon.
Meal that fits your pocket and leaves you content, is definitely the perfect happy ending you are looking for.