Not being from Delhi, my companion and I entered Zen restaurant out of instinct, with full faith in the merit that a restaurant at CP Inner Circle must withhold.
Not knowing that we were in for the most indifferent service we've ever been given and food that would wipe out any trace of the butterflies in our stomach.
It began with an unclean fork (queer at a place like this i thought, but still fully understandable). And continued with the waiter asking us to order thrice in five minutes. It was a week-night, the place was less than 50% full and i couldn't fathom what the rush was about.
Menus now firmly in hand, we upped our determination and started asking staff for item descriptions and suggestions. Only to get a "chicken dish lo" .. and a "badhiya hai". A far cry from the process of the joy of fine dining.
The lamb starters came, seeming like it had been microwaved for 20 seconds.. the batter slightly warm, the meat cold and chewy. All rolling about in a very strong confused flavour. Now i've had sesame lamb strips many times before, but this time, a little serving was a little too much :-/
The 'burnt onion and garlic rice' smelled of neither and tasted like, well, just rice. I would say that the flavour came off too weak.. but then that would imply that it existed.
And the Zen Chicken (a flagship gravy dish i'm assuming) was so ordinary, it reminded me of this Rs. 60 combo i once had at Kamala Nagar.
Our mocktails tasted the same (they weren't supposed to).
We had to prompt them give us side-plates halfway through the meal.
And the only time anyone smiled was when the American on the other table said his punchline.
I won't say i'm very surprised after last night's meal. It seems logical that Zen has turned into an imperial monopolist dragon sitting fat on its Central Delhi throne, that ceased to care for its people ages ago.
All i'm saying is, when you're paying Rs. 750 per person, these things really get your blood to a boil. Don't feed the dragon and it'll run out of fire. Nobody gets burned.