Going to uni just down the road from this place, I have been meaning to go to Zouk for absolutely ages! The flower wall itself is just one reason to visit (obviously got to get that Instagram photo!)
The pre-theatre dining menu is available for two courses (£15.95) and three courses (£19.95).
Now, I’ve had many a curry in my life, but I’ve never been to an Indian and Pakistani restaurant before. For those newbies to it too, the flavours in Pakistani curries is a bit tamer than usual, and a lot richer in taste.
The layout inside is very simple, with just lots of tables fitting lots of hungry customers – even though when we dined, it wasn’t too busy.
To start, we were offered popadoms and chutneys to dive into, and what you see is what you got with these. The sauces sadly weren’t too exciting, but still tasty (I mean you can’t go wrong with the classic mango chutney, can you?)
The cocktails were strong but tasty. I went for a fruity and fresh cocktail made with gin and mango! Lovely!
My friend chose the virgin strawberry daiquiri, which was very bland and didn’t have any sweetness to it, sadly.
For starter, I chose the vegetarian Samosa Chaat, which was served in a large metal martini glass, which was quite challenging to eat out of. It was a traditional Pakistani chaat, made of chickpeas, with a crunchy samosa, tamarind sauce and raita. This was the tastiest part of the meal, and I could easily eat one of these as my main too, as it was a generous serving!
My friend tried the humous, made with chickpeas, lemon and Mediterranean herbs and spices. Sadly, the humous just tasted like chickpeas crushed in a blender – we didn’t get any spices or lemon. The homous was served with naan bread and some crudites vegetables.
For the main course, I chose the butter chicken curry. Now, it might be because I’m not used to the flavours of Pakistani curries, but I felt that the curry was quite tame with spice. It was very creamy, and the chicken was cooked perfectly. I had the curry with naan bread, and the serving was more than enough for two people.
My friend has the Chicken Jalfrezi – chicken pieces cooked with peppers and onion in a thick spicy sauce and finished with masala and coriander. She had this with rice. The curry was full of flavour, but sadly a little too oily for her liking.
For dessert, we were very excited about what was on the menu, but sadly we couldn’t have these and weren’t told why until after the meal (they didn’t have a pastry chef at this point.) We were served strawberry gateau and chocolate cake. The chocolate cake was very moist, but very heavy. The strawberry gateau was light and fluffy, and the strawberry sauce was sweet. They were tasty, but not showstoppers.
Despite the slightly underwhelming food, the experience was enjoyable. The venue is gorgeous. I hope that it was just that the kitchen was having a bad day because I’d love to come again and eat here.
It’s an excellent location to eat if you are seeing a show at the Palace Theatre, which is only a couple of minutes walk from the restaurant.
The pre-theatre menu is available every day, between 5pm-7pm.
Zouk, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5QS / zoukteabar.co.uk