The list of great restaurants in Manchester, UK is growing by the day and when we dined at Zouk for the first time recently, we found a level of genuine hospitality which made us feel instantly at home. After a warm welcome from manager Ali, we settled in for drinks at the bar overlooking the open kitchen, watching as the chefs whipped up batches of dough for tandoori roti and naan. Feeling suitably relaxed, we took our seats for dinner in a spacious booth – the restaurant space at Zouk has a vibe of contemporary cool and the high ceilings, large windows and neutral colour scheme create an air of sophistication. The sizeable menu includes a vast array of dishes with a good mix of classics like jalfrezi, intriguing options such as the Rajasthan inspired ‘railway curry’, steaks, vegetarian dishes and seafood.
Once we placed our order, the starters were quick to arrive – a cast iron skillet of chooza chaat delivered bold flavours of tender chicken and peppers in a fiery hot sauce and the Pakistani street food classic samosa chaat was another winner, with a whole samosa in a delicate tamarind sauce topped with raita and pomegranate seeds. We moved on to the main course and king prawn biryani cooked in the traditional method from the province of Sindh had a generous amount of succulent prawns in a delicately flavoured basmati rice, while the accompanying curry sauce added a welcome zing.
The Punjabi style chicken handi slow cooked over flames with tomato, onion, garlic and Zouk’s own blend of garam masala had a wealth of flavours and it paired well with tandoori roti, while cheese naan and Peshwari naan completed our feast. A towering cake stand was presented at dessert and we found just enough room for pistachio cake and Mumbai mess – a new take on the traditional Eton mess, this was akin to a deconstructed cheesecake with zesty lemon cream cheese, biscuit and raspberries.
Excellent food and a bustling ambience made the evening fly by and personable service from Flavio, who regaled us with tales of his life, added to the experience. Dining at Zouk is a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an evening and the wide array of classic and fusion dishes on offer makes for a winning formula.
Written by Camille Allcroft for Client Voyage
Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, Unit 5, Chester Street, Manchester, M1 5QS – Tel: 0161 2331 090