Living in Bangalore since 2008, all I used to eat were oily chicken kababs and biryani almost everyday! Once in a while I used to go to some of the Bengali restaurants in the city as the food made me feel like home although the prices were exorbitant! Then one day I saw not one but two new restaurants in my locality serving Naga cuisine!! They were Zingron and NE Diner. I decided to check out and visited Zingron first with my brother.
The moment one enters he can get a slight pungent smell of bamboo shoot! The ambience was cozy and the décor was nice. Half of the menu had pork items and I was delighted and surprised to see that it didn’t have usual stuff like panner butter masala and gobi manchurian!! We ordered smoked chicken breast, a pork curry with bamboo shoot, iromba and plain rice. Then surprise! We were served fork and knife!! Yes a knife! I don’t remember any restaurant except Sunflower in Guwahati (where I used to go as a kid with my parents for their awesome cutlets) that gives a knife! The chicken was really good and so was the pork which was hot and fiery thanks to the raja mirchi added to it! Made my nose runny and eyes filled with tears but I really enjoyed it! The iromba which is a mashed potato salad mixed with boiled vegetables and fermented fish was also good. Service was good, the staff being very attentive and always smiling which is another rarity in most Bangalore restaurants!
Few days later, we tried the other eatery named NE Diner. It’s a small restaurant with basic interiors and you need to climb a rickety stairway to the first floor. It has a TV and also a tiny section where they sell local stuff like pickles and chutneys. The menu here also has Chinese options that include the usual momos and Manchurians but Naga and Manipuri items dominates. This time we opted for Naga dry fried pork, a spicy pork gravy (forgot the name) , green chilly-fermented fish-bamboo shoot chutney and rice. All the items were delicious. We noticed a lot of non-north eastern crowd and I thought that’s great until they ordered veg Manchurian and momos!! Why can’t people try something new?? The prices were again very moderate.
I visited Zingron again, this time with my friends . Two of my friends were eager to try Naga cuisine but the other three were totally against it! Of course I made it clear to those three (not at all experimental with food) that they won’t like it so they decided just to accompany us. We ordered the smoked chicken again, two different pork curries whose names I forgot again, iromba, shingchu and rice. Shingchu is a salad with shredded vegetables including lotus stems seeing which one of my friend was so intrigued “Lotus stem??” he asked with wide eyes and disbelief!! We enjoyed our dinner while the other three were simply staring at us! The place was crowded which is very encouraging.
I would suggest these two restaurants to anyone who would like to try something totally different and unique. Not recommended for vegetarians and non pork eaters!
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