It feels like winter has been here for a year already, and it is safe to say that I am SO ready for spring. I think the best way forward might be to fake it until we make it - let's start by switching to lighter jackets, force-growing daffodils and hope the rest will follow.
Zouk are thinking about warmer months too with the arrival of the spring/summer menu dishes. We had the pleasure to pop down this week and give them a try, and I assure you, when I left it seemed a little warmer outside. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.
First up we tried the starters of which there were three. We delved into the mini corn cakes (£4.95) which were crispy little bite-size patties made with sweetcorn and flavoured with green chillies. The inside was soft and melted in the mouth, while the yoghurt and chutney on top brought a welcome sweetness and coolness to contrast with the heat from the chilli and gave a sort of sweet n’ sour complexity to the dish.
Next up was the Methi Malai Tikka (£4.95) which consisted of tender pieces of chicken thigh cooked in cream, fenugreek and crushed cashew nuts and served with a refreshing mint yoghurt dip. I have had the pleasure of sampling this dish before, and it is always a pleasure.
Finally, we also sampled their gorgeous lentil Dall soup (£3.95) which was warm and well spiced with curry leaves, coriander, black pepper and ginger. Served with their epic freshly baked naan bread, this soup will warm your cockles with every sip.
Moving on to the mains, it is safe to say that we were blown away by all three. The Gobi Mattar (£8.95) Is a vegetarian dish that will not leave you feeling forgotten about. The Cauliflower still had a bite to it which felt substantial and filling, and I just loved how colourful the dish looked on the whole. Top marks there.
One thing I often struggle with when it comes to curries is the meat. There is nothing worse than a bit of dry chicken swimming in sauce that you have to spend 12 minutes chewing before you can bear to swallow it. But, the meat at Zouk couldn’t be further from the case. Black Maharastra Chicken (£9.95) was the first curry we, almost quite literally, dived into. Cooked in marsala with roasted spices, sesame seeds and dried coconut which gave the dish this gorgeous nutty undertone and a background sweetness.
As delicious as that was, the real star of the show had to be the Nadan Beef fry (£10.95). I love a dry curry, as I feel like the flavours have nothing to hide behind and this spicy beef dish from Kerela was a testament to this. It combined fillet steak with shallots, star anise, fennel, cloves and cinnamon which amalgamated into this bowl of absolute heaven. Due to the religious practices of the majority of India, it isn’t often you get to eat beef in a curry and it was so unique. You can consider myself converted from here on in- and if I go off the grid, you can find me in the tiny pocket of South India that eats cow gorging myself until I explode.
Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, M1 5QS
0161 233 1090