i'm a little disappointed.
aloo paratha, soto ayam, murgh korma - dishes that reminded me of my oh-so-short stay in south asia but forever seared my palate with the flavors of exotic spices.
unfortunately, these memories are still relegated to a dusty corner in my mind as i struggle to find any decent place in Cebu that can come close to the experience of eating in a mamak stall in kuala lumpur, or the street food in thanon suan plu in Bangkok or the hole in the wall restaurants in colombo, sri lanka.
dusty roads and car smoke emission probably added more flavor to the food set out on the table, but the flavors definitely made its mark on my palate.
it is understandable then that my anticipation ran high when Zayka opened in juana osmena, downtown cebu with its promise of indian, mediterranean and indonesian dishes.
well, as cliche as it may seem, promises are meant to be broken.
aloo paratha is the indian flatbread made from whole wheat and stuffed with potatoes flavored with herbs and spices. mine got served with a rather "sweetish" mango chutney but had the appropriate flavors from the herbs used. the downside? they used rice flour instead of whole wheat.
sato ayam reminded me of vermicelli noodles infused with the flavors of coconut milk, lemon grass, ginger and lime mixed with a host of other spices and mixed with vegetables, bean sprouts, chicken pieces and chunks of boiled egg. it is also a malaysian dish which is why i was a bit surprised when it was tagged as "indonesian".
i should have trusted my instincts. they used kalamansi instead of lime, i can barely taste the coconut milk, they used flat egg noodles instead of vermicelli glass noodles and more of the chili flavor drowned the flavors instead of the ginger and galangal that should have given it more of a citrus undertone.
the plus side? the serving is huge and could easily fill a bowl for three. i had a small bowl and had the rest for take out.
the last dish i ordered was the murg korma, otherwise known as the ubiquitous chicken curry. if they managed to mess it up then they should close shop. that's probably the most basic of indian recipes, the korma (curry).
thank Gods (well, we are talking about indian/south asian recipes and we have to give praise to a multitude of their dieties), it turned out well. good enough for me to finish the whole portion that could have fed two to three people.
it was good enough to salvage the paratha that i used to wipe off the gravy.
just a friendly reminder that the portions are generous and priced relatively low. information that i should have known as i ended up taking out most of my order. that or call in a two or three friends to share your food.
the moral of the story? nothing really. just another food trip for me :)