Zephyr: Signature Cocktails at the New Gastro Lounge in Town

With the opening of many breweries, bars and pubs over the last couple of years Hyderabad is now a much-improved place for connoisseurs of good drinks. Still, there is a lack of places offering curated drinks and designer cocktails in the city. Zephyr, the new gastro-lounge near Filmnagar should fill that void with their range of exquisite cocktails.

The lounge is located 2nd Floor of the building which houses MOB, another popular watering hole.  The open design of the restaurant and multiple rooms provides the customers adequate comfort. The huge modular bar has a cooktop on one side for doing the syrups. The range of alcohol that the bar stocks is extensive too.

The cocktails in this swank place have been designed by Viju Raj, a passionate mixologist from Delhi with a lot of experience in curating out-of-the-box cocktails.  In this outlet, he has worked with a concept of keeping the drinks organic and preservative free. Homemade syrups have been extensively used in the cocktails. The syrups are all prepared in-house and use natural ingredients. An example is an orange marmalade that they prepare, where the orange peel is processed with cinnamon and saffron added to it. This syrup is used in a whiskey-based cocktail called Bourbon Botanical Breakfast, which specifically uses Jim Beam bourbon.

As the latest trend in the market is gin-based cocktails, Viju has worked to come out with Beefeater gin LIITs (Long Island Iced Tea). They have six versions of LIITS, where, the gin is infused for a couple of weeks before the drink is made. Saffron and fresh ginger, rose petal and cardamom, and orange peel and cloves are some of the infusions used in the cocktail.  For me, the star here was the one infused with star anise and filter coffee.

Their special attraction of the cocktail bar is a set of 12 signature cocktails. Bay Merchant uses kokum syrup made from fresh kokum as well as a dash of ginger in a gin-based drink.  Smooth Talker has cold pressed beetroot juice, basil and vanilla extract. The vanilla extract is prepared by lacing the vanilla with honey over a period of time. All the cocktails are served in delicate and aesthetic glassware, which have been carefully sourced. An effort has been made to make each cocktail look attractive too.

Whisky lovers like me will love Red Velvet, bourbon infused with hibiscus petals along with honey. Two to Tango is another one which appeals with a great combination of vodka and pineapple juice along with basil.  The best part about the cocktails is that they only use cold-pressed juices made in-house rather than some syrupy off-the-shelf juices from the market.

They have quite an interesting food menu with the Mediterranean, oriental and Indian dishes too which would appeal even to non-drinkers. The Mediterranean mezze platter with six dips is served with pita breads is a perfect accompaniment for a friendly conversation. Thai Chilli Sticks with skewered grilled fish in a Thai sweet chilli is an interesting dish too.

But the best from their list of short eats for me were two stunning but different seafood dishes – Wasabi Prawns and Karwari prawns.  In the former, the prawns coated with wasabi mayo was sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds, whereas the latter was a spicy delight from the western coast of India.

The Cumin Infused Sliced Lamb is another of my recommendation with a distinctive flavour of the spices in the stir-fried lamb. For vegetarians, Corn and Feta Sambusek, an assortment of bruschettas and Grilled Vegetables with Hummus present some interesting options.

Among the mains, Chicken Tikka Masala with Malabar Paratha is something which worked for me. Chermoula Cottage Cheese along with pita bread was another of the mains served. As usual, I feasted on the starters and ended up not doing justice to the main courses.  But, quite a few items from the menu looked very interesting.  Phyllo Lamb Cigars, Chermoula Prawns Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Moroccan Lamb Tagine are some of the dishes I plan to try out on my next visit.

The place is very promising and should soon become one of the preferred cocktail havens of Hyderabad.  Add the delicious short eats to the food, and you can really have a rocking time here.

2nd Floor, Aryans,
Near Apollo Hospital
Road No 92, Film Nagar
Telephone: 97012 24127

Disclaimer: The review is based on an invite from the restaurant. Some photographs are courtesy of the restaurant.

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