In the most unassuming position on Ifield Parade, Crawley sits Zari, a fantastic Indian restaurant that my parents found with some friends. Staying at my parents on Friday night and not wanting to stay in we decided on going for a good curry. Their usual one in Cuckfield never hits the spot and so they suggested venturing to Crawley (not the most appealing place) but we used to live there and Dads first restaurant was there, so I have a nostalgic pull towards it and will eat out of a wheelbarrow if it’s good.
The service was seamless and better than I’ve had in many top restaurants and when asking the host (yes they have a dedicated host) for a table for three she didn’t ask “Have you booked?” the most annoying comment any server can ask if you have just asked for a table. The waiters (6 on the floor and 2 behind the bar) were excellent and explained what their Thali was made up of, offered more drinks and were polite and very knowledgeable about every single item on the menu.
We like to try a little bit of everything so went for an order to share of; Poppadums, Jungle Venison Curry, Vegetable curry with coconut, Chicken Dansak, Peshawari Nan, Brinjal Bhajee, Sag Bhajee and Lemon rice with mustard seeds and curry leaves. It was all superb but the Chicken Dansak was the winner of the night. As for desserts I NEVER order one in an Indian restaurant, however after talking with the manager for about 20 minutes I asked about the desserts and they have a dedicated ice cream and pastry chef. After hearing that I couldn’t very well turn one down and so opted for the Kulfi which is now probably one of my favourite desserts. It’s smooth, creamy and reminds me of my mum boiling condensed milk for her banoffee pie and licking the spoon!
The owner Sadique explained everything about his restaurant from the 8 strong chef brigade that deliver food to reckon with the likes of Cinnamon Club and Cafe Spice Namaste with the head chef working with him for 32 years. The rest of the team are dedicated to delivering excellent standards and all food is checked by four chefs before even leaving the pass. There is a chef dedicated to sweets and pastry and one for bread. It was possibly the cleanest kitchen I’ve been in and they were clearly used to customers coming in and saying hello and all seemed proud to be working in such a wonderful place.
The location is the only thing that compromises the masses flocking to this superb and pretty much perfect restaurant. But if you fancy making the effort to escape to an Indian delight then Zari is the place to go for some real authentic Indian food.
They even host cooking classes with their Master Chefs for £50 per person – I’ll be signing up soon if anyone fancies a curry club day out!
www.zarirestaurant.co.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | 01293 525107