A winning dinner from Zilouf's
My first visit to Zilouf’s was around 3 years ago when I was taken there on a date. I fell instantly in love with their eclectic styling, laid back ambience and delicious food. And the fact that they keep goldfish in a TV. A few weeks after that first visit I bought a flat within walking distance just so I could go there whenever I wanted to. Which was a lot.
Zilouf’s is sort of like a lover that always knows exactly what you want. Their Sunday brunch paired with a bloody Mary provides the perfect antidote to a hangover. Their roast dinners all come with parsnips and Yorkshire puddings, regardless of your choice of meat (I highly recommend the roast rib of beef) and their ever-changing, but always amazing cocktail list never fails to turn a mediocre evening into a rambunctious and unforgettable night.
At some point during the last rambunctious, unforgettable night, I entered a competition to name Zilouf’s new cocktail; a Talisker based concoction served with smoky Mexican cheese. My “Storm in a Sombrero” tweet was picked as the winning name and so I’m here tonight enjoying a 3 course meal for two courtesy of Zilouf’s. Win.
To be clear, I’m not enjoying a 3 course meal for two by myself. There are two of us. Unfortunately. Soon after Karen and I arrive, a waitress approaches with a jug filled with tap water and cucumber slices. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve requested a glass of tap water in restaurants and had the waiter look at me as if I have just asked him to chew my toenails, so this alone pretty much makes my night.
Having already tried almost everything edible that Zilouf’s has to offer, we were delighted to discover that they had a brand new menu. This really is the night that keeps on giving. To start I have the Steak tartar with mustard mayo, crispy quail egg and spiced crumbs. The tartar melts in the mouth and the mustard mayo has the perfect level of heat to accompany it. The crumbs add a nice contrast to the texture, although not a lot more. Karen opts for the Seared scallops and crispy chicken wings with cashew beer butter and our initial worries about the potential of a delicate scallop mixed with KFC are instantly quashed. This is the starter of champions.
We then shared the Crispy duck, watermelon and pickled ginger salad with sherry & palm sugar emulsion and the Poached cod, sprouting broccoli, toasted coconut and hot&sour dressing. The duck is beautifully cooked and the ripe, juicy watermelon is the perfect accompaniment. The only downside for me is the lack of sauce; I would have liked to have a bit more of the sherry and sugar emulsion to soak into my salad. We swap plates half way through and Karen has already eaten about three quarters of the cod so I know it’s good before it’s even touched my fork. The toasted coconut slices add a nice crunch to the dish and were definitely worth the effort of whoever’s job it was to pick them out of the Alpen.
My disappointment at the blatant theft of my cod is soon forgotten when the bar tender brings over a couple of complimentary “Storm in a Sombrero’s”. As I drink my self-named cocktail I get a slightly warm feeling inside. I can’t tell whether it’s due to pride or the Talisker.
After eating two courses and a couple of chunks of Mexican cheese we can barely move, but there is absolutely no way that I can turn down a free dessert. Just think of the children in Africa. So, we undo our top buttons and order the Caramelised banana panacotta with chilli basil ice cream and a Sticky date pudding with vanilla bean ice cream and coconut butterscotch sauce. The banana was covered in a sugary layer that had to be smashed open in a similar way to crème brûlée, for some reason I find this really enjoyable. The basil ice cream has an unexpected chilli kick and the coconut butterscotch sauce is so good we want to lick the bowl, but don’t. Or did we? You’ll never know.
All in all this was an epic meal and Zilouf’s is definitely worth the extra few metres walk up Upper Street. The Z team are also working on a new venture, 100 Hoxton. I’m already planning what I’ll order.
(You can get 2 courses for £15 on Sunday to Thursday, daylight robbery!)
|Sticky Date Pudding||£5.50|
|Caramelised Banana Panacotta||£5.50|