Zouk pegs itself as a place where you can relax and kick-back with an after-work drink. Shirley Mistry tells you if it is worth your time
Z ouk, located in Andheri East, is unpretentious, doesn’t attract too much attention and is conveniently located within close proximity to the railway station. The dimly lit wooden interiors reeked of chemical air freshener and weren’t anything impressive, but the few groups of people who seemed to be catching up for an after-work drink seemed unfazed by the strong, overpowering smell.
My dining companion and I settled down and examined the drinks menu which boasted of a range of beer cocktails, classic cocktails and molecular concoctions. We tried the Monaco (Rs 249), a beer-based cocktail and the Watermelon Basitini (Rs 349), which was highly recommended by our sever. Unfortunately, both cocktails were saccharine sweet and tracing the alcohol in the cocktails was next to impossible. Syrupy and packed with artificial flavours, we couldn’t go on after a few sips.
To accompany our drinks, we sampled the Parmesan Chicken (Rs 249), Basket of Fries (Rs 199), Creamy Prawn Roll (Rs 299) and Chilli Basil Paneer (chicken variant Rs 249). The parmesan chicken wasn’t crunchy as expected, but was appetising. Thin, flat strips of chicken coated with cheese and herbs, they were pan fried to a slightly crispy texture, and made for good bar bites. The fries came in three variants — rosemary, garlic and parmesan and Cajun spice. While the rosemary fries and Cajun spice fries were lipsmacking, the parmesan ones were devoid of any cheese and tasted like potatoes that have been batter fried. The prawn rolls were average as well, but laden with too many sauces that meddled with the inherently sweet taste that prawns generally have. The paneer dish was a twist on the classic Chilli Paneer preparation that we all know and love and the addition of basil added a lovely zing to the preparation.
Wary of trying more cocktails, considering our disappointment, we stuck to sipping on our first order and tried a few Indian starters such as the Chicken Nizami (Rs 299) and Paneer Tikka (Rs 279). While the paneer was rather ordinary and nothing to write home about, the chicken kebabs were delicious. Lightly spiced, creamy and melt-in-the-mouth, we were fans of this preparation. We also tried the Dal Tadka (Rs 229) which is a good accompaniment if you are looking to turn bar bites into a meal.
For dessert we tried the Latin American 3 Milk Cake (Rs 199). Known as Tres leches, this cake was the highlight of our meal. A sponge cake soaked in milk, topped with whipped cream and presented in a pool of condensed milk, the dessert is rich, sweet and mouth-watering.
The service at Zouk is slow, so visit them when you have a leisurely outing in mind. Also, instead of ordering their cocktails, stick to their hard drinks and pair them with the bar bites that are well-executed and well-priced, and don’t leave without trying the 3 Milk Cake!
Where Hotel Imperial Palace, 45, Telly Park Road, Andheri (e) Meal for two Rs 2,000
Alcohol Pint of beer Rs 169 onwards