Zaitoon

A wonderful dining experience in Zaitoon Velachery !
Zaitoon has always been one of the best options for Arabian cuisine in Chennai. Recently they opened a branch in Velachery and since then it has been on my to-do list. It is actually a multi-cuisine restaurant, but our primary agenda was to try Arabian food.
We entered around 07:45PM and we were welcomed with a pleasant smile. The restaurant looked impressive with a nice ambience and decor. The tables are slightly close to each other and the space is utilized to the maximum. I haven’t had a chance to explore Arabian cuisine in detail, so I asked the waiter to suggest some nice options.
We started with two chicken dishes and one prawn dish for starters. Rubian Faa was a grilled prawn starter. I do not eat seafood by choice, but heard from my wife and kids that it was juicy and grilled to perfection. They seemed to love it. Effa Dajaj was boneless slices of grilled chicken, absolutely wonderful. This was spicy and kids couldn’t eat much of this. Afghani Dajaj was wonderful, less spicy and nice flavor, just rite for the kids. Overall, the starters were awesome, brilliant presentation and all these were served with generous amounts of salad, pita breads, mayo and hummus. So it was quite filling.
For the main course, we ordered a chicken shawarma plate, Kozi Rice and Chicken Lahori. I asked for a chicken shawarma ‘plate’ and not a ‘roll’. I was assuming that there would be some additional accompaniments in a plate to the roll, but I was mistaken. There was only more shawarma than the normal ‘roll’. 🙂
Already too much overdose of dry/grilled chicken we ordered a rice with no meat. The rice was awesome, nice flavor, more like saffron pulav and not like biriyani. Kids loved it. Unfortunately, we had to move to a different cuisine for a gravy as the Arabian gravies had only mutton options and we did not want to have that. So we settled with Chicken Lahori.
We were too full by now, we asked that to be packed and ended our dinner without a dessert. I have heard that faloodas are good here, but couldn’t try it this time.
Around 09:15PM, the restaurant was packed and more people waiting to get seated. It definitely seemed to have caught the attention of people in Velachery !
However, I would have loved to hear a ‘see you’ or a ‘thank you’ when we left, but understandably, the waiters and the manager were struggling to keep pace with the crowd and did not have the time to smile and say goodbye. That’s not a big complaint, just wishful thinking. 😉 They have a valet parking and that is helpful.
I felt the rates were really nominal, considering the portions and quality of food. It set us back by rupees 1.4K (for 2 Adults and 2 Kids aged 8 and 3).
This will be one of our first choices if we plan to have Arabian food in Chennai !