Bhangra, basmati, bellydancing and bindis cast a spell upon downtown Berkeley's Zaika, transforming this beloved Indian resto into a mini Bollywood bash for a night. The East Bay Elite Squad is still buzzing over the smorgasbord of stimuli at Yelp's Bollywood Bonanza, from platters of bright sizzling red tandoori chicken, and cymbal-clinging dancers weaving through the crowd, to frosty cups of Orange Kush and crisp sips of ZICO coconut water, the evening was nothing less than "a feast for the senses," Diana V confirms. "With everyone dressed up in colorful saris, churidars, kurtas, and beautiful bindis, this YEE became our own little India."
Nearly 300 Elites and their guests swarmed Zaika, clad in their Bollywood best, and were greeted by a massive spread of Indian specialties like korma paneer, chicken tiki masala, fresh naan and all the spicy accoutrements. "I've had a fair share of Indian buffet in my day," Monica S professes, "and I'll say I have never had chicken tandoori that was as moist and tender as what we ate last night at Zaika." Lara W was impressed to discover Zaika "goes deeper into the spice territory than most dare to go," a thrilling change of pace for the average palate.
Tingling tongues were appeased by an array of beverages, as Gnarly Head Wines offered zesty Pinot Grigio and rich Old Vine Zinfandel, a perfect pairing for Zaika's robust flavors. Ale Industries filled cups with their citrus-coriander infused Orange Kush beer, along with a bold hoppy brew named Uncle Jesse's. "The 10 gallons of beer they brought were no match for the YEE crew," notes Egan B. Yelpers cheerfully drained the taps within an hour, which "speaks on how much we enjoyed the product!"
Woodchuck Cider featured a special limited release for Elites, their blueberry-tinged Summer Cider. Venus L "couldn't believe how delicious the hard cider" was, and can't wait to pick stock her own personal supply, while the Bollywood feast brought Hayne P to the realization that "ZICO Coconut Water is excellent with Indian food!"
As if these yelpers could pile anything else on their proverbial plates, Traditional Henna was there to offer inticate henna body-art for Elites to admire for weeks to follow. The scented tattoos reminded Hema K of the fun she "used to have in India during special occasions." And who could miss the stomping, spinning, and spirited Bhangra dancers who emerged unexpectedly to perform a jaw-dropping dance set, showing folks like Best O "how to move to the boom, boom, boom." Looking back, Lara W thinks their performance "would have been a great transitional lead into a dance party/disco had there been room to do so." Next time!
Adding to the mesmerizing entertainment, bellydancers weaved through the crowd, clanging cymbals and moving snake-like, and melting all of Lorrayne L's weekday worries of "drowning in the vast seas of papercuts and late nights chained behind a desk" away. "Just watching her dance…brought smiles to my face."
YEE newcomer Omar J raves, "this was my 2nd Yelp event and if this is what they are like… well then I'm so glad I'm a yelper," while Meuy S summed it up simply, saying "this party kicked some major bootay!" All in all, it was an evening of exotic indulgences that left Akvile H "craving more Zaika in my life." Get it, girl.
Get your fix of more Bollywood Bonanza reviews, and dazzling photos by Basil Glew-Galloway on our Flickr and Facebook page.
Until our next great escape…
East Bay Community Manager & Sari Stylist