Last week I was lucky enough to have a week filled with exciting events. One of those events was at Zouk Tea Bar in Manchester. Zouk is an authentic Indian and Pakistan restaurant in the heart of Manchester. Last week Zouk hosted their spring showcase to honour their upcoming spring menu. Their spring menu launches in April and let’s just say, it’ll leave you with a content tummy and heart!
The evening kicked off with appetizers and welcome cocktails (or fresh OJ in my case!) in the downstairs bar area, giving people the chance to mingle before we were shown to our tables.
Once everyone had arrived, we made our way upstairs to be seated. I was lucky enough to be sharing a table with Lily, Emma, Eryn and their plus ones which meant I had an evening filled with laughter. Indian isn’t normally my top choice when it comes to eating out but Zouk may have managed to convert me. It was a lovely, social atmosphere. Zouk had a really relaxing, positive ambiance to it. There was a nonstop flow of conversation and story telling as everyone got stuck in helping themselves to servings of food . I’m being absolutely honest when I say it was the warmest, most friendly meal I’ve had in a long time!
Once upstairs, the cocktails and mocktails were flowing. I can attest to the deliciousness of the Strawberry Black Pepper mocktail. The Pineapple and Ginger mocktail was a little bit overpowering for me but boy, was that generous dollop of ice cream appreciated. Oh and we certainly can’t forget the delicious mango lassi. I could have easily drank that by the gallon. Especially when things got a little bit spicy with the main courses later on!
Food was served with a little bit of history, just how I like it! I loved hearing about the culture surrounding Indian and Pakistan food and knowing all about the reasons they had put together the Spring Menu. When I visited Chaophraya in Liverpool a few months ago, they told us all about the history of the chefs and the menu. I always find it adds a special touch to your meal knowing that deep thought and care has gone into the food that they create.
For our starters, we were brought generous servings of Murgh Tikka Harriyali, Kashmiri Lamb Kebabs, Vegetable Pakoras and Channah Masala. Out of the starters, the Murgh Tikka Harriyali had to be my number one choice. The marinated chicken was tender, whilst the mint perfectly complimented the aromatic spices.
The main courses were Qusuri Methi Murgh, Lamb with Sweet Potato and Almonds, Aloo Gobi and Bindi Dupiaza. Of course, naan bread and rice were served alongside the selection of curries to mop up any flavoursome juices. The naan bread were deceptively light. I wanted nothing more to try everything on the table so this worked out perfectly! In order of preference, the Qusuri Methi Murgh was my favourite, closely followed by the vegetarian option of Aloo Gobi then the Lamb and Sweet Potato dish and finally the Bindi Dupiaza. Just like with the starters, I found the chicken and lamb perfectly tender.
For dessert we were well and truly treated. My absolute favourite from our tasty trio of desserts was the Mumbai Mess. This was basically a deconstructed cheesecake. However, don’t be deceived by it’s simplicity. The cheesecake was light and fluffy – just what you need after gluttonous amounts of curry and the fresh berries adding a subtle yet refreshing sharpness.
Brownies are a foolproof dessert and Zouk’s brownies did not disappoint – thank you to the lovely restaurant manager for whipping up some brownies to fix his (and unbeknownst to him; my) craving! Just as I thought dessert couldn’t get any better, I spied the churros. If you know me, you will know that I adore cinnamon to no end. The churros were served with popping candy infused Belgian chocolate sauce. They were so tasty that I may have reached over to the next table to steal an extra one. I’m not even sorry. I just love dessert.
Whilst filling my face full of food, I found out that Zouk Tea Bar also offer cookery classes. This sounds like the perfect gift for a food-lover and it’s definitely something I’ll be looking into doing in the (hopefully) near future!
With well-fed tummies and aching cheeks from smiling and laughing so much, it was time to head home. I thought it would be a short train journey home. But in fact, it turned into a train journey, a replacement bus service and a taxi ride home but hey-ho, I got there in the end. At half-past midnight, I rolled into bed dreaming of when I could next visit Zouk for a social and tasty spring meal!