11 July, 2016

Restaurant/food review: Zapata's, Mumbai

I was recently invited to review the Mexican restaurant Zapatas’s in Mumbai. It is a fantastic authentic Mexican restaurant. Well, when I say, "authentic", I would say, they do everything in their means to make it authentic Mexican with a small accent of fusion with Indian ingredients, resulting in a very good blending of Mexican food with Indian ingredients. The restaurant is actually situated in Malad, which would have been very far from the location where I had stayed, i.e Taj Palace. Hence, the owner of the restaurant, Frederic Langlois, was so courteous and accommodating that he got a special food tasting
session much closer to where I stayed. It costed him extra effort, money and staff but he did that and I really 
appreciate his effort. They worked very hard for this tasting session.

Disclaimer: I am a vegetarian and for food reviews, I generally take a non vegetarian expert with me who

helps me to review the non-vegetarian dishes. For this review, I had a Mexican paladar with me. Paladar, 
for your information means, "where the taste is in your mouth." So the review is coming from experts.

These are some of my Mumbai pictures as I got down and was settling in. I will be posting a lot more in my next blog posts.

Gateway of India. My hotel Taj Palace, where I stayed was right in front of it. I will be posting its review soon.

Let us start the review for Zapata's

First we started with Nachos de Zapata’s.  I got Queso, which is cheese with base of salsa. It had
Olives, jalapeños and pico de gallo. It was price at Rs.220/250 for small vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

The non-vegetarian one had minced chicken, refried beans, chipotle, onion garlic paste and a dash of tomato puree. I wish there were no jalapeño and they focussed the flavours more on chipotle than on jalapeños. Normally in Mexican food, the sauces are like our curry. We enjoy the flavour of single curry, not combination. You do not put one curry on top of other. Curries are good but should be separated and not mixed. 

I liked the vegetarian one much better. The sauces were not mixed in that and it did not have an overdose of jalapeños.

Next we had Ensalada Santa Fe. It is priced at Rs.380/-. It had fresh lettuce with grilled tender chicken, tossed with bell peppers and cilantro dressing.
Dressing was cilantro, serrano, coriander, onion garlic paste, mustard paste, lime juice and seasoning. My vegetarian one was simply lovely. For people who complain that Mexican food is too spicy and hot and for a person like me, who likes her food rather bland, this was perfect. I enjoyed it so much. Just loved it. Highly recommending it. It was a perfect salad.

We tried their Red and white sangria. They were simply delicious- smooth, fresh and wonderful aroma.

Next we tried Habanero’s cottage cheese. Sautéed in bell peppers and tomato sauce. Priced at Rs.320/
Habanero is World’s second spiciest chilli. Ketchup was used to cut down spice. It tasted sweet first and then spiciness of habanero hit. Try if you like spicy food. I am so glad they mixed ketchup. it had flavours- spicy and sweet and it tasted delicious I must say. 

Our next dish was Prawn soft taco. Priced Rs.430/- and Cottage cheese soft taco. Priced Rs. 400/-. It had alfa alfa sprouts, chipotle sauce- hot n sweet. Tortillas were served soft, topped with guacamole, queso (cheese) and fresh lettuce iceberg. We had to ask for it to be warmed up as we preferred ours warm. But they were excellent. Simply mouth watering. I have to confess I loved this Mexican food I was having here and it definitely was the best one I have had till date.

We were served 9 different sauces.

Pineapple salsa
Salsa cruda
Pico de gallo
Sour cream
Salsa verde- green tomato

I must mention, it is not easy or cost effective to import lot of vegetables like green tomatoes, avocados, habanero, etc. Yet, a great effort was made to create good high cuisine Mexican dishes with proper available Indian ingredients and imagination. There was a great effort to put all ingredients together. Like 9 different kinds of sauces-which is not an easy task. Because you fall in love with sauces and put a lot of it to tacos etc.

Our next dish to try was Quesadillas. The vegetarian quesadillas are priced at Rs.330/- and Lamb quesadillas are for Rs. 410/-. They were made fresh in house, came with melted cheese, pico de gallo, salsa crusada n guacamole. They tasted similar in taste to burritos. Same flour is used a lot and is popular in north of Mexico. It is called tortilla de harina. It was interesting to see that they served dished on wooden chopping board. That was very innovative. It was fun to try different sauces with small bites of quesadillas. (If you are fond of different sauces). I simply loved the food there. Every thing I tasted was just perfect. 

Next on our platter were Las Enchiladas

For Vegetarian option, I had zucchini, corn, jalapeños and beans baked with ranchero sauce, coriander n tomato based sauce. It was priced at Rs.320/-

The non vegetarian one had chicken. It was priced at Rs.380/-

They were very good, well presented. Chicken tasted same as Spaghetti bolognese, which has this kind of minced meat. But have to say, that it was delicious. I think Chef got inspiration from Italian bolognese sauce and adapted into enchiladas con carne de pollo or chicken meat. It would have been nicer if it had less jalapeños. Some chefs think that jalapeños are the only chilli in town. Flavours of jalapeños coming from cans is predominant in fresh vegetables. Its taste is very strong. Fresh jalapeños are much different.

Next we tried Jalisco chicken, priced at Rs.480/- It had tender chicken breast. The vegetarian one has cottage cheese instead. It was sautéed in spicy habanero and tequila-based sauce, served with Mexican black bean or tomato rice.
We felt the taste of habanero but not tequila . It must have been very well cooked and blended. It corresponded to what it said.

The cheese was priced at Rs.500/- I was so pleased to see, first time price of vegetarian more than non-vegetarian. :)

Time for Yummilicious desserts. We were served a dessert platter. It had:

Banoffee pie. Rs.200/- . It tasted like dulce de leche. It had homemade crispy biscuit base layered with caramel sauce, slices of banana and topped cream.

Zapata’s flan. Rs. 190/-
Reduced milk and sugar- Mexican flan with special caramel sauce

Tres leches. Rs.220/-
Vanilla sponge cake soaked in 3 different types of milk- fresh, evaporative and condensed.

If these desserts were not fattening, I would live on these. They were heavenly, insanely good. I highly recommend you to try each one of them. Not just that but also the food, which was simply awesome.

The restaurant caters to 99% Indian market and not to expats. They are looking to relocate. They have hired best Indian chef doing to do Mexican cuisine. The chefs has stayed in Mexico too. He was really good. The food is freshly made. They have friendly, casual and impeccable service. Their prices are really reasonable. The food is not oily. The restaurant is a bistro with lot of wood, sombrero everywhere.

Finally, we left so happy and satiated. Good food, good service, friendly owners, always bring a smile. You must try this awesome Mexican bistro of Mumbai. It is not to be missed. 

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