I hate being hungry. It transports me back to my angry teenage years, hormones transforming my usually calm self into a furious, dress wearing Incredible Hulk. I’ve been known to throw towels around the house, rip doors from their hinges (I don’t realise the power of my guns) and shout incoherently ‘WHY DOES NOBODY LOVE ME?!’ It’s difficult to take a green beast seriously whilst donning a petticoat, so it’s best that I’m always suitably full. My intolerance to a belly growl makes eating in an Indian restaurant during Ramadan fill me with guilt– tantamount to taunting ‘na na na naaaa naaaa ‘– with my thumb to my nose as I enthusiastically wiggle my fingers. It just feels mean.
A sneaky look at the menu of Zouk however and I quickly thought ‘sod ‘em’. We were going out with friends and as per usual I had to pick our dining destination. Being a blogger brings about great power and responsibility - I’ve considered fashioning a super hero outfit while making these decisions. It will contain heat preserving pockets for snacks.
I chose Zouk after many recommendations from twitter friends and bloggers. Sat just down the road from the morbid mausoleum of the BBC off Oxford Road, it’s a modern Indian restaurant with a bit of added sparkle. With it being near the BBC I had hoped I would run into my favourite newsreader, Bill Turnbull, of whom my obsession is verging on the sinister*.
The menu is massive and I was pleased to see a lot of unfamiliar dishes rather than a ‘spot the difference’ copy of any other curry menu.
I liked the super thin poppadoms but was unimpressed with the dips – the portions were measly and the flavours overly tart.
However, the dips were the only thing about our meal I didn’t enjoy.
Highlights for me were the Punjabi lollipops which looked almost burnt however their charred exterior was incredibly tasty protectively caressing the juicy meat underneath.
Tandoori mixed grill
Joint winners of the main course competition were the Goan fish curry – tender haddock in a gorgeous sauce which managed to be creamy and incredibly spicy all at the same time, and the Lamb Nihan – a casserole type curry, slow cooked for hours until its tastiness peaks.
Goan fish curry
Service was tip top, staff didn’t mind chatting passionately about their own favourite dishes on the menu, despite being in the middle of their fast, a task which would have me gnawing at my own arm, or perhaps my leg, that’s meatier (just think of the damage I could do to a door if I kicked it?!).
Zouk was brilliant, a great atmosphere which doesn’t become too loud despite its popularity, the open kitchen gives you something to look at in case of an uncomfortable silence and it’s fairly reasonably priced. I didn’t run into Bill, but if anybody knows where he likes to hang, please let me know.
*Please note: I would never hurt Bill Turnbull. Just hold him for a very long time.