Review: Why Zorawar Kalra's Swan in Delhi is the talk of the town
With an experimental menu, sprightly cocktails and bold interiors, this new diner is perfect for a date, a solo lunch or brunch with the girls
One would think that the pandemic would have affected the rush at restaurants, but that's not the case at Swan, Zorawar Kalra's latest venture in the capital city. Tucked away in the quiet streets of Mehrauli, it brings together the best of two eclectic cultures - Japanese and Italian, to your table.
And if it's true that you're not in Delhi until you walk into a new restaurant and bump into someone you know, then Swan embodies that perfectly, with Delhites stopping by from across the city. The food here is undoubtedly experimental, making the new diner an attractive new spot for food enthusiasts.
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Greeted with grape wines as you walk up the stairs to the rooftop restaurant, you are welcomed with light pop music and elegant interiors that also have a touch of bold. A massive metal tree installation at the bar dominates the interiors; while the natural setting, a beautiful Neem tree and the view of the Qutub Minar makes the terrace sitting space perfect for a night under the stars.
Taking all the precautions for COVID-19, the cutlery here is protected with a glass dome, distanced seating and the rigorous sanitisation to ensure the safety of guests and staff is followed, too. On the menu, there's authentic Japanese dishes, whipped up by chefs, who have had with years of experience at the internationally acclaimed Japanese restaurant, Zuma.
Kicking off the meal for one, I opt for their elderflower brightly-toned gin-based cocktail that was quite bold and strong. The Minestrone Di Verdure Soup, gives the age-old tomato soup a modern twist with parmesan, basil pesto and it is brimming with nostalgic flavours. Next up, we try the Herbs Marinated Chargrilled Prawns and Avocado Crostini. Avocado crostini—a thin slice of Ciabatta bread topped with avocado mash was a treat and the grilled prawns accompanied by spicy garlic mayo are worth the indulgence.
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I follow it up with a palate cleanser of Grapefruit, Thai Pomelo, Rocket Leaves, and Arugula Citrus Dressing, which comes with sweet, sour, and salty flavours. I highly recommend that you try the Spicy Avocado Sushi and Chicken & Chives Gyoza and are particularly pleased with the generous servings.
For the mains, there is Swan's thin- pizza that has been the talk of the town. I opt for the Pollo Arrosto Aglio Olio, a wood-fired pizza topped with mozzarella, parmesan, roasted garlic chicken garlic and Kalamatta olives. For meat lovers, there's the Grilled Lamb Chops Wilted Spinach Pepper Jus and the Charcoal Grilled Butterfly Prawns, which are both bound to leave you pining for more. I end the meal with their signature 'gram-worthy Messy Cheesecake, which has a creamy and smooth texture and is worth every single bite.
With every venture, Zorawar Kalra tries to play with the menu, but knows exactly what the audience is seeking for. It's much the same with Swan. The menu brings together a vast array of flavours, allowing you to switch according to your mood. Cooked to perfection, the prawns are borderline addictive. And the cocktails make for a great accompaniment to your Sunday brunch spread. The strategic location in Delhi's Mehrauli makes Swan ideal for #LadiesWhoBrunch and also, for a quiet solo luncheon if you don't mind getting a #TableForOne.
What didn't work
Maybe it was the expectations, but the one thing that didn't work for me was the thin-air pizzas. While it was light as air, I found it lacking a bit of flavour and texture.
Ticking off all the boxes for a new-age fine dining restaurant, Swan is a must-visit. From the strategic architecture to it's decor and of course, it's menu, and especially the cocktails—everything is curated keeping the audience in mind. All in all, there is a reason this two-month-old venture continues to be the talk of the town and we're sure that we'll be gathering a larger crowd for our next visit, which we hope is soon.