Ajay Chopra Lends his Genius to 3 New Restaurants
Epicures in Raipur, Pune and Jaipur have had good cause for celebration lately. Chef Ajay Chopra, Director, Zion Hospitality Pvt Ltd has lent his magic touch to three new theme restaurants – Iraa in Raipur, Pandora in Pune and Reza in Jaipur. While it has been nearly three months since Iraa and Pandora opened their doors, Reza is barely a month old. But if reviews are anything to go by, all three restaurants have done justice to Chopra’s reputation for culinary genius. We spoke to the Chef for more details.
What the names mean
“Iraa” means “earth”. The place where it has been built is called Swarnabhoomi and it’s full of greenery. The restaurant too had to reflect the nature-rich surroundings and the theme of the five elements of nature.
People usually relate Pandora to Pandora’s Box but it actually means “gifted”. The Greeks believe that we’ve been gifted so much. So when you come here, it’s like opening a gift box of food.
Reza (in Arabic means "particles") is a galaxy of small elements, and that is exactly what is served with the most unusual amalgamations. The diversity of preparations at Reza brings together families, friends as well as acquaintances.
Cuisines and signature dishes
Wasabi paneer tikka at Iraa
At Iraa, the focus is on the style of cuisine and cooking, such as the use of grills and steam baskets. The menu is a mix of popular cuisines like European, modern Indian and Asian. Signature dishes include stuffed morels with mushroom reduction and wasabi paneer tikka.
Mandarin Blast at Pandora
Pandora features global cuisines from North America, South America, Asia, Europe, India and Far-East, symbolising various gifts from the world. Signature dishes include Puneri missal bake and kaffir lime chicken tikka.
Tandoori Mirchi Bada at Reza
Reza boasts of international flavours with the age-old recipes of Rajasthan and across India. The menus are inspired by the incredible diversity of India’s regional cuisines, enhanced with a progressive touch whilst the soul of the food is retained with robust and authentic flavours. Signature dishes include shades of laal mass and batao crumble.
The look and feel
Iraa is classic, with different zones. The earthiness comes from marble and there’s also a lot of glass. Overall, the look is very grand.
Pandora is grey, international, upmarket and minimalistic. The various patterns on the walls are a take on the whole geometric aspect.
Reza has two defined areas – indoor and outdoor. The décor is modern and eclectic.
Plan your visit
- PandoraAddress: Nyati Unitree, Yerawada, Pune
Timings: 12:00 Noon to 12.30 PM
Price for Two: Rs. 1200
- IraaAddress: Swarnabhoomi, Near MGM Hospital, Raipur
Timings: 10:00 AM to 10.30 PM
Price for Two: Rs. 1000
- Reza by Chef Ajay ChopraAddress: 5th Floor, Shivam Business Centre, Calgari Road, Jaipur
Timings: 12:00 Noon to 10.30 PM
Price for Two: Rs. 1200
And in case you can’t make it in person, here’s a recipe for Chef Ajay Chopra’s Pithaud Cake with Masala Green Peas:
Gram flour – 50gm
Ghee – 15gm
Breadcrumbs – 5gm
Turmeric – 2gm
Salt – 5gm
Curd – 10gm
Roast cumin seeds – 10gm
Coriander seeds – 50gm
Whole red chillies ground coarsely – 20gm
For masala peas:
Fresh green peas – 50gm
Onion, chopped – 10gm
Ghee – 5gm
Tomatoes, chopped – 5gm
Cumin seeds – 1gm
Ginger, chopped – 5gm
Green chillies, chopped - 2
Coriander powder – 5gm
Red chilli powder – 3gm
Turmeric powder – 2gm
Salt – 5 gm
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped – 10gm
Lemon juice – 5ml
For the kadhi:
Gram flour – 10gm
Salt – 2gm
Ginger-garlic paste – 2gm
Curd – 50gm
Water – 200ml
For the garnish:
Orange zest julienne – 6
Basil leaves – 2
Coriander sprigs – 2
Dill leaves – 6
For green masala, heat ghee in pan, add cumin seeds and let it crackle. Add chopped onion, ginger and green chillies and sauté well. Add tomatoes, green peas and red chilli, coriander and turmeric powders. Cook until the green peas are done. Add salt and finish with lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves.
For the pithaud cake, whisk curd and gram flour together. Add turmeric and kadhai powder, salt and mix well (it should be thick like a batter). In a kadhai, heat ghee, add the above mix and cook on a slow fire. When it becomes a little thick and leaves sides of the kadhai, remove from fire. Take a 1-inch deep grease tray, add this curd mix and let it cool. Cut into round shapes with a mould and grill it for 2-3 minutes from the both sides.
For the kadhi, combined all the ingredients of the kadhi and leave it on fire to reduce it. When thick, turn off the gas and cool it. Arrange the pithaud cake with the green peas masala on top and kadhi. Garnish with orange zest, basil leaves, coriander and dill leaves.