While on the way to a different restaurant, I passed by Zaika, the Dreamliner Hotel’s Indian restaurant.
Zaika was already on my list of places to try, so I decided to ditch my original plan and give it a go. This restaurant switch saved me 30 minutes of walking, which was much appreciated by my growling stomach.
When I entered the restaurant, the place was dead. It was still early, though, so this wasn’t necessarily indicative of anything.
Besides me, there were only two other people in the dining room: two ladies at a table toward the back. Football was playing on the television, so I asked the waiter for a table with a view of the game.
Well, in the completely empty dining room, he sat me at the table right next to the ladies, so that I was facing them. When I approached the table, I recognized the ladies from work, and I requested a new table. It was too late, though; the ladies had spotted me. I had been trying to avoid the charity invitation, but now it was inevitable.
My two colleagues graciously invited me to join them, and I accepted.
I gotta say, charity invitation aside, I had a great time.
My colleagues had already ordered when I joined them, so I began to diligently study the menu once I took a seat. I didn’t make much progress, though, because a spirited conversation commenced, and I couldn’t focus on the food.
We talked about life in Ethiopia and life at our former posts, and there were a lot of laughs.
When the waiter returned a second time to see if I was ready, I still hadn’t reached any conclusions. I didn’t want to delay the others, though, so I ordered a few classics: chicken tikka to start, dal for the main, and naan, raita, and a beer to accompany.
We continued talking, and I tried not to dominate the conversation with my often lengthy and involved stories. I like to think that I was somewhat successful. My companions did seem to be enjoying themselves too, so hopefully they weren’t regretting inviting me to join them.
When the food arrived, everything I ordered was delicious. The particular dal that I chose was Dal Bukhara, and it was thick and rich. The chicken and raita were also well executed.
My colleagues had ordered a few dishes to share, and they weren’t dishes that I could readily identify. One was a vegetarian dish with white gravy, and the other was something in red sauce. Although they offered, I didn’t try either. They gave the food high marks, though.
My appetite had been a bit sluggish at the time, but it rediscovered its mojo that night. My plate was licked clean.
When it came time to pay, there was another pleasant surprise. My colleagues requested separate checks, and the waiter produced them without missing a beat.
By the time we left, nearly every seat in the house was full.
The bottom line: